Abstract

Historically, our industry has placed a biased emphasis on well control standards, associated certifications, and training exercises for drilling operations. While these requirements served the industry well, they were limited in scope and had a critical flaw: they assumed the threat would be recognized, effectively communicated, and eventually trigger the appropriate timely response. These directives were based on the prevailing belief that we only need to focus on testing and examining the appropriate response to well control events. Well intervention adopted this methodology and attempted to assimilate these practices in wellsite activities. The adoption, while it was useful, lacked global scope and emphasis on location-specific threat response drills that were based on well intervention activities. In addition, wellsite training tended to focus exclusively on scenarios for a single operation, and had no emphasis on escalation dealing with coiled tubing, or snubbing, or wireline. The lack of integrated, specific well control threat-response drills was recognized as a gap in our ability to manage critical risks at the wellsite associated with loss of well control or loss of primary containment.

To address this gap, threat-response drills were created following a 4D decision cycle methodology: Detect, Diagnose, Decide and Do. The location personnel were compelled to meet the following objectives: demonstrate the ability to diagnose and assess critical threats, select the appropriate response, follow the correct actions, and demonstrate the required communication protocols. Each threat exercise had numerous opportunities to escalate the exercise with impaired equipment and/or personnel. As necessary, this escalation could lead to passing the well containment execution from one vendor group to another. A comprehensive facilitator guide provided background notes, advice on after-action review, and details of each threat stage and the required actions for the personnel who were expected to respond.

Initial responses were created for three coiled tubing scenarios, with others planned for future updates. The project background and initial scenarios were presented to operations and HS&E personnel from the service provider and operator. Initial roll-out and drills were conducted over the summer. To ensure a close match to each geographic area, the exercises required local customization. Pilot testing results showed a strong support for this approach: Customers and frontline operations personnel valued the specificity of the threat-response drills and customization that can easily translate into local specific services and operating conditions. The commercial value of demonstrating operational readiness and proactive risk management cannot be understated in these difficult markets where industry and clients demand safety assurance.

This paper details the general methodology used to create each threat response and the method of determining threat escalations. Project roll-out and initial field trials and feedback are provided. Examples of various drills are incorporated in the paper. The practices in the paper can provide greater industry exposure for this type of practical drill scenario. These threat-response drills expand and enhance wellsite risk mitigation by improving threat identification and tested responses to contain or mitigate consequences. Repeated use of this type of threat-response drill can drive safety assurance and improve our HS&E results.

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