Although industry regulatory risk management practices relating to well control are generally adhered to, unrealistically optimistic assumptions about the ability to control and contain a catastrophic event are still held by some. This is not necessarily a fault of the risk processes per se, but exposes an industry deficiency when expectations of any given risk assessment lead to a false sense of security, especially when history has shown that when stress-tested some contingency plans have failed to deliver.

Historically, in the aftermath of a disaster, lobbying for tighter legislation and regulation has been the reaction; more enlightened operators, in reviewing their overall health safety and environment (HSE) culture realize and understand the need to incorporate a well-constructed Emergency Response Plan (ERP) including a Well Control Contingency Plan (WCCP) in to the pre-execution phase of their well planning and to keep these plans updated throughout the execution of the well.

As insurance premiums to underwrite an endeavour become increasingly cost prohibitive the approach towards prevention rather than cure becomes paramount, and more emphasis and energy is placed on constructing a robust and comprehensive risk assessment as part of the overall risk management of a well, regulatory requirements notwithstanding.

To this end operators would benefit from leveraging from both within and without the operator's organization the years of practical expertise at hand, to assist in assembling a comprehensive and vigorous risk prevention and mitigation approach. This might include auditing an existing plan or building one from scratch using a qualified body that specializes in the complexities that constitute an emergency response, mitigating insurance underwriting costs and ensuring that contingency planning is established at the earliest opportunity.

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