Well Control Training and Assessment

Well Control Training and Assessment

The drilling industry had earned the reputation as an exceptionally dangerous business, with high-profile blowouts causing loss of equipment, environmental damage, and most importantly, loss of our fellow workers.

With the requirement for well control certification and standardization of courses, the industry safety record has been greatly improved. The well killing companies have had to branch out into other businesses, including well control training, due to the decrease in blowouts. We are here this week to gain knowledge of how to minimize the effect of well control incidents and to gain the trust of operating companies, investors, and the general public by operating safely and efficiently.

This trust will improve the reputation of the energy industry and will help in the recruitment of new personnel. We owe  it to ourselves and our colleagues to be competent in
maintaining control of the wellbore at all times.

A clear channel of communication must be established between the operator and all service providers. Also contained within this there should be specifics regarding onsite roles and responsibilities of both service providers and supervisory personnel. Clearly define who’s in charge.

Additionally, protocol should be in place to provide time for pre-job safety meeting in which the upcoming job(s) can be clearly discussed between all involved parties.
These meetings should be conducted both on a daily basis and as needed during the day. As job conditions change, toolbox talks should be held as necessary to address needed actions.

All onsite personnel should be informed of the “stop work” authority and it must be impressed upon everyone to use it whenever needed.

Prior to any well control related operation a meeting should be conducted with all involved personnel for the purpose of outlining the operation and ensuring that all personnel know their individual responsibilities. Additionally, the “what if’s” of the operation must be discussed and a plan of first action for each item must be established and understood.

The obvious benefits are:
  • The objective of the operation is presented
  • All involved personnel know their jobs and what’s expected
  • All safety aspects are discussed and stop the job procedures are presented and discussed
  • Contingencies are presented and discussed so all parties involved know what to do “if” something happens – taking the correct first action can be critical
Some interventions are conducted as “daylight only” operations. If the same crew will be present for the duration of the job then handing over information is not conducted.

However, at the beginning of each day a briefing should be held so that all personnel are aware of the status of the well and the current integrity of the barriers in place.
If any crew member is replaced by another individual handover information should be supplied to the new member of the crew so he/she is;
  1. Fully informed of the work being performed
  2. The status of the job
  3. The current integrity of the pressure barriers.
If 24 hour a day operations are being conducted there needs to be a handover of information before the new crew comes on tour. During this time all operations should be suspended, if possible, giving the two crews time to discuss the events of the last tour and how they relate to the overall operation.

Hydrostatic Pressure
 Hydrostatic Pressure is not dependent on volume…….just the density of the fluid and its vertical column length.

As an example: at right is shown a partially filled tank of diesel with a sight glass installed on the tank.
The level of the diesel in the sight glass indicates the level of diesel in the tank. Although the volumes of the sight glass and tank are vastly different the hydrostatic pressure existing at the point where the sight glass ties into the tank is the same as the hydrostatic pressure in the tank at the same point.

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