As our industry starts to plan and drill ultra-deep wells, we are beginning to find that the established methods for calculating maximum anticipated surface pressure (MCP) produce loads that exceed the strength of many conventional API weights and grades. Addressing this situation, regulators have entertained modifications to the methods by which we calculate MCP. Although this is becoming a common practice, the approach is flawed in that it is arbitrary in nature and only partially considers the real-world limits placed on our drilling system. Furthermore, no method used to date addresses the fluid miscibility issues that we encounter with the oil-based muds used to drill these wells.

A stochastic kick load model specifically developed to consider the entire physical system in which a kick is initiated and dealt with, offers a higher level of confidence than any arbitrary method can. After a review of two commonly used MCP calculation methods, this paper will describe, in detail, one such model, the inputs required, the assumptions used and the outputs generated. This paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges facing those who wish to implement such an approach.

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