Rapid kick detection is an essential part of rig safety. The smaller the influx when detected, the easier it is to control the well. The introduction of an extensive computerised monitoring system on a drilling contractor's offshore fleet has led to the development of displays and intelligent alarms designed to help drilling personnel detect kicks and losses before they would normally be apparent, thus increasing rig safety.

In this paper we describe an automated system with three independent monitors checking once a second for an influx into the well. Field tests and examples demonstrate the effectiveness of the intelligent alarm system.

The Active System Volume and differential flow (Row-out minus Flow-in) are continually monitored both during circulation and pipe connections. Whilst tripping the volume of drillpipe is measured accurately and is automatically compared with changes in the trip tank volume. A graphical representation of the difference between the two is given to the Driller, Rig Superintendent and operator representative, together with alarms when a consistent deviation is identified.

TOTAL’S concern for safety, especially on difficult wells, has led to the installation of the contractor's system on an offshore rig in Indonesia. The results of field tests on this rig are presented together with field examples of real kicks from other systems.

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