Rotating control devices (RCD's) are used to provide a closed circulating system. Conventional wisdom suggests that drilling with RCD's improves kick detection and thus fewer blowouts should occur when this equipment and related practices are deployed. Some insurers require RCD's based in part on this perception. However, there is no published analysis that demonstrates a definitive link between the use of RCD's and the incidence of blowouts. In this paper, the authors use regression analysis to test for such a link. The authors find consistent statistical evidence, across a variety of regression models and variable specifications, that the use of RCD's decreases the incidence of blowouts. Future investigations could incorporate additional RCD usage data and perform a definitive benefit/cost analysis, test hypotheses about other potential benefits of RCD's (e.g. preventing drilling problems, increasing general drilling efficiency), and examine performance in other regions (US, international).

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