Abstract

Closing the wellbore at the top with a Rotating Control Device (RCD) for some kind of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) operations raises a number of issues with regards to well control and kick detection. The wellbore is closed and the standard flow check of looking into the well is no longer possible. The use of a rotating control device provides drillers with an additional level of comfort because it is a pressure management device, but it doesn’t eliminate the need to have well control as a primary objective. In recent MPD operations, it was observed that well control procedures were relaxed as a result of managed pressure drilling. The installation of an MPD system provides the sense that well control is now taken care of by the MPD provider. This raises the question "Is Managed Pressure Drilling the same as primary well control?", and how do we deal with kicks in Managed Pressure Drilling operations? At what point in a well control process do we change the well from Managed Pressure Drilling to well control and who is responsible?

This paper will present some of the issues that need to be considered when planning and conducting MPD operations. arly kick detection and annular pressure control are promoted as an essential part of managed pressure drilling operations, but there can be confusion as to where the responsibility for well control lies. Does this remain with the drilling contractor and Operator or is this now shifted to the provider of the MPD services. The paper provides some case stu ies where MPD and well control conflicted, causing a number of issues that in some cases led to the loss of the well.

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