Dynamic Well-Control Response to Gas Influx in Managed-Pressure Drilling
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 111 - 114
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 174 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 151392, "An Improved Dynamic-Well-Control Response to a Gas Influx in Managed-Pressure-Drilling Operations," by William Bacon, SPE, Blade Energy Partners; Albert Tong, University of Texas at Arlington; and Oscar Gabaldon, SPE, Catherine Sugden, SPE, and P.V. Suryanarayana, SPE, Blade Energy Partners, prepared for the 2012 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference and Exhibition, San Diego, California, 6-8 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Managed-pressure drilling (MPD) offers the capability to control an influx dynamically, without shutting the well in conventionally. Some current methods use applied backpressure (ABP) to restrict the flow exiting the annulus to equal the flow entering the drillpipe, which is interpreted as influx cessation. However, ensuring only flow continuity does not imply influx cessation, unless the annular fluids are incompressible. This work investigated the effect of compressibility on dynamic well control. The transient response of compressible multiphase flow in the annulus was examined by use of mass conservation over a control volume. Introduction
MPD is a class of techniques that enables management of the annular-pressure profile through a combination of controlling the wellhead pressure (WHP), or backpressure, and the drilling-fluid density and flow rate. With the ability to manipulate backpressure, MPD can be used to control an influx without shutting in the well. Performing well control without conventionally shutting the well in is referred to here as dynamic well control. Well control in MPD operations, dynamic or otherwise, must be performed with several objectives in mind. The most important objectives include minimizing peak WHP and surface flow rates, managing wellbore pressures tightly within the pore-/fracture-pressure window, maximizing the chance of successful well control, and reducing nonproductive time.
When an influx is detected during MPD, one of the most important decisions is whether dynamic well control should be used to control the well rather than conventional well control. Dynamic well control is applicable up to only a certain size and rate of influx, such that the influx can be controlled and circulated out of the system safely and effectively while achieving all of the objectives stated previously. Particularly important is quantifying peak surface flow rates and the point at which it would no longer be safe to shut in conventionally. However, when used appropriately, dynamic well control allows more-rapid control of an influx.
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