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SPE/IADC 163550

Deepwater Well Control - An Important Way Forwards


Colin Leach, Jim Mounteer, Argonauta Drilling Services L.L.C.

Copyright 2013, SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 5–7 March 2013.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE/IADC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have
not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers or the International Association of Drilling Contractors and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not
necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers or the International Association of Drilling Contractors, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or
storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers or the International Association of Drilling Contractors is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE/IADC copyright.

Abstract

Following Macondo (and some other well control incidents), great strides have been made with respect to well control and
much discussion and reflection has taken place.

Successful well control can be considered to depend upon:

A. Establishing 2 barriers including the condition of the barriers and understanding what such barriers will see during
the life of a well
B. Establishing what is normal with respect to fluids going into and coming from a well and devising ways and means
to measure and control these flows such that control is maintained
This paper focuses on this second area, i.e. “establishing what is normal”. It is a harder subject in some respects (non-
tangible) than the focus on barriers, but if successful, significantly lowers the risk envelope and reduces the overall chance of
a catastrophic well event. Predicting and understanding what is happening downhole is the best way of ensuring that no harm
comes to the environment crews, or equipment.

This paper looks at the processes that must be conducted and gives examples of these. To be successful, this requires a deep
understanding of the interactions of real reservoir fluids (gas, volatile oil) with typical drilling mud which will be oil based.
Examples of what will be seen for these combinations are given along with the resultant detailed
solutions/approaches/procedures. Of particular interest was “ballooning” and gas in the riser.

In doing this work, it became apparent that existing (typical) rig instrumentation may require modification or upgrade for
some of these tasks. One example is how to identify a (previously unidentified) hydrocarbon influx which is moving through
the subsea BOP in a deepwater drilling operation and into the drilling riser. The paper identifies what is required and
provides suggestions as to how this may be achieved.

Introduction

Typically a potentially catastrophic well control event (from start to finish) moves through four very distinct phases:

1. Normal control of a well within a limited pore pressure/fracture gradient window, during ongoing drilling operations
2. Recognition of an influx and controlled circulation of this influx in order to regain primary control
3. A cascading of unrelated events moving well control beyond the capabilities of rig crew to handle, usually resulting
in a worsening situation where the well gets totally out of control
4. Re-establishing control of the well after a blow-out
2 SPE/IADC 163550

Much of the recent work that has been carried out has focused on the last (fourth) activity. This is merited in that the events
of the last few years have shown that it is possible for a deepwater blowout to occur - the activity can be said to focus on
reducing the consequences of a blowout. In particular, the introduction of a capping stack for deepwater use has the potential
to reduce the days during which a blowout occurs. Of equal note is that this activity does not reduce the risk of a blowout
occurring in the first place and does not in any way reduce the potential for loss of life at the onset of a blow- out.

This paper will focus on the 1st and 2nd phases. Our goal is focused on being able to recognize the influx and control the
event before it gets to the point where it has the potential to cascade out of control. Coupled with well known practiced and
understood risk minimization techniques, this will lower the risk that a blow-out can occur and thus reduce harm to
personnel, the environment and damage to equipment. It will not lesson the consequences of a blow-out should such an event
occur. Two activities are key to this goal:

A. Establishing and verifying at least 2 barriers to flow, and understanding the loads and conditions which those
barriers during the life of a well
B. Establishing what is normal with respect to fluids going into and coming from a well and devising ways and means
to measure and control these flows such that control is maintained

This paper focuses on this second area, i.e. “establishing what is normal”. Fundamental requirements for success in this
activity are to measure the flow of fluids into the well and those coming out, such that any differences are recognized. It is
also most important to understand what would be causing any such differences and also what is likely to be seen if an
untoward event has/is occurring.

The focus on ballooning (flowback following losses) includes a discussion of how operations can be fitted within the
available pore pressure/fracture gradient window so as to avoid ballooning and therefore maintain these operations within
Phase 1 as defined above.

Discussion

In the past, simple assumptions were made, the prime example being that gas will expand (according to Boyle’s law or the
Ideal Gas Law) as it rises in the wellbore as a single bubble with no solubility within a WBM.

These assumptions were not unreasonable, given the calculation tools, and level of sophistication of rigs and wellsite
personnel at the disposal of the industry. Wells tended to be less complex, shallower, and were predominantly drilled using
water based fluids. Today we are drilling much deeper with HPHTand UPHT wells in ultradeep water utilizing designer
synthetic oil based systems. We have sophisticated measuring systems, very powerful computational capabilities, and a
better understanding of the drilling environment. This gives us the capability to run very realistic models of actual drilling
mud/influx combinations, which were difficult if not impossible a generation ago.. These models (Ref; 1, 2, 3) take care of
gas solubility in SOBM, real reservoir fluids (oil with associated gas) and pressure and temperature dependent mud densities,
rheologies and hydraulics. The mis-understanding that using these earlier simple assumptions bring to the operation is
significant; industry must do everything it can to rectify this.

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

Note that successful use of a capping stack requires that the well design be such that it can withstand the forces that will occur when it is shut-in on a fully
evacuated well. It also requires that there is access to the wellhead and that it is possible to maneuver and position the capping stack on to the wellhead.
This is possible in deepwater but likely to be very difficult or impossible in shallow water due to:

a. The potential for the rig to sink on top of the wellhead


b. The velocity of the flow from the well (due to gas expansion) at the low pressure at the seabed for a shallow water well
c. The existence of a gas boil, which would make it difficult for a vessel to work in the vicinity of the well. 
SPE/IADC 163550 3

1st Example – Realistic Model – Impact of SOBM (and reservoir fluids)

It is instructive at this point to use an example. In this case an approximate 30 barrel pit gain (gas) is circulated out (1st
circulation, Driller’s Method) from a deepwater well (about 29,000 ft, 6000 ft water depth). The comparison shown is the
use of SOBM versus the use of WBM.

Figure 1 shows the comparative pit gains. Note the significant difference in time frame. For the WBM case, gas migration is
very important. For the SOBM it is for the most part non-existent.

Pit Gain ‐ SOBM and WBM Cases
70

60

50
Pit Gain (Barrels)

40

30 WBM
SOBM
20

10

0
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Time (minutes)
 
Figure 1: Pit gains – Deep (Deepwater) well – SOBM versus WBM

Figure 2 shows the comparative choke pressures. 

Choke Pressure ‐ WBM and SOBM Cases
3000

2500
Choke Pressure (psi)

2000

1500
WBM

1000 SOBM

500

0
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Time (minutes)
 
Figure 2: Choke pressures (Deepwater) well – SOBM versus WBM

For a gas kick in SOBM, the characteristic is completely different to the “gas expands as a single bubble” assumption. There
is no pit gain (for the case shown) and the only increase in choke pressure occurs when the gas is within the choke line.
4 SPE/IADC 163550

The “suggestion” to ignore the choke pressure gauge and the pit level/flow out readings that has been heard in well control
school must be revisited. The conventional well control methods (Driller’s and Wait & Weight) are still very much
applicable. However, annulus events must be closely monitored and understood, such that a much better (and appropriate)
level of control is achieved.

Figures 3 and 4 (below) show the mud flowrate (out and in) and the delta mud flowrate out for a W&W method (similar well
conditions to earlier).

It can be seen that for all but the immediate time that the influx is very close to the choke, the mud coming from the well is
the same as the mud being pumped into the well – no gains or losses.

If the Driller’s method is being used, the pit level will also be constant during this part of the kill circulation. This will not be
the case for a W&W method where additions are being made to the pits to increase the mud weight. 

220
Mud Flowrate Out (W&W)
215

210

205

200 Mud In
Mud Out
195

190

185

180
0 200 400 600 800
 
Figure 3: Mud flow rate in and out during W&W method

20
Delta Flow ‐ W&W
15

10

0 W & W
0 200 400 600 800
‐5

‐10

‐15

‐20
 
Figure 4: Delta Flow (Mud out- Mud in) during W&W Method (some small fluctuation due to computation)
SPE/IADC 163550 5

The bottom line is that if there is more mud coming out of the well versus that going in during the early part of the kill (in
this case for most of the kill circulation), the well is unloading as opposed to being circulated under control - if that is the
case, immediate action must be taken.

It would be very useful to provide some type of flowmeter upstream of the choke to measure mud flow rate out such that the
condition of the well can be monitored during the kill circulation. 

2nd Example – Undetected Influx

In this case a deepwater well (6000 ft water depth) is being drilled at about 28000 ft. As a connection is made (and as the
result of ECD/annulus friction being removed), a small influx occurs. It would be hoped that this would be seen by the rig
crew, but you never know and of course it is always possible that other activities were going on (mud transfers, ballooning
etc..) that masked the influx.

Questions to be addressed included:

 What would be seen as this influx is circulated to surface?


 What would be seen as this influx came through the BOP?
 What sort of gains and additional flows would be seen as the influx approached the rotary table?

An additional question was:

Following a rapid pit gain and flow increase the upper annular was closed (initial shut-in), but the flow from the riser
continued to increase at the same rate. What should be done next? It should be borne in mind that there is no time for the
driller to consult with the toolpusher or with the company man at the rig, yet alone anyone in town.

For the case noted, the rig was equipped with a riser gas handler (see Refs 4 and 5). This allows the riser to be shut-in at an
annular preventer below the slip joint with returns to be routed to the Mud Gas Separator if indeed that is an appropriate
procedure.

 
Figure 5: Pit gain for an undetected influx circulated to surface
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Figure 5 above shows the pit gain for this situation. No additional pit gain/flow will be seen (following the initial influx)
until the influx is almost at the rotary table! This emphasizes the importance of a tight disciplined approach to making a
connection or any “pump off” event.

What would be seen as a 20 barrel influx (roughly twice the previous sample) comes through BOP (see Figure 6)?

 
Figure 6: Pressure Indications at the BOP as a 20 barrel influx passes through

For this figure, two pressure gauges (at the MPR and at the LMRP) are shown and the pressure drop is about 32 psi as the
influx comes through the BOP. Whereas it would be difficult to see this very small reduction in pressure on a single gauge, it
is now possible to match the two gauges electronically. If they track and follow a trend, it is very likely that an influx is
transitioning through the BOP stack. This trend will include pressure changes, delta pressure changes and the timing
(difference) of such changes. The characteristic of an influx transitioning through the BOP stack will be different to that
associated with other potential events.

Note that the gas is completely dissolved in the SOBM at this stage. As a result, the density at the BOP will not dramatically
swing from the mud weight to a gas gradient but will gradually transition to a light mud weight and then gradually transition
back to the original mud weight. This is the primary reason why there is a lack of gas migration in this sort of situation.

Figure 7 (below) shows a typical mud density profile for an influx that is near to the base of a deepwater riser.

 
Figure 7: Potential Mud/Gas density profile for an influx at the base of a marine riser

Industry should set a goal to install instrumentation at the BOP stack to identify the (small) pressure reduction or the
(slightly) lower mud density that will be seen as an undetected influx passes through.

For the case where a (small) influx occurred but was not detected and was then circulated into the riser the sequence of
events, actions and potential actions (starting with the rapid flow increase/pit gain) are given in the figure (Figure 8) below.
SPE/IADC 163550 7

Pit Gain/Flow

Shut Annular

Pit Gain/Flow 
Continues

Shut Additional BOP

Activate Gas Handler

Closed  Open 
Choke? Choke?

High Gas Rate – High Gas Rate –
Overload MGS? Overload MGS?
 
Figure 8: Potential Events as an undetected influx reaches surface

Routing the potential flow to a mud gas separator through an open choke is ruled out. With zero back-pressure, the resultant
gas rate (particularly when flowing from a large ID riser) could overwhelm even a large MGS. An indication of potential gas
rates as a function of back-pressure held can be seen later in this paper.

If instead the flow is routed to a closed choke (immediately upstream of the MGS), the resultant pressure at the choke is
likely to be as shown below (Figure 9). It should be noted that there is zero formation overpressure in this example, or
alternatively, the seabed BOP is indeed shut, but the influx is right below the rotary table.

SIP at Gas Handler vs Initial Gain 
160
140
SIP at Gas Handler (psi)

120
100
80
60
40
20
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Initial Pit Gain (bbls)
 
Figure 9: Shut In Pressure at Choke (Gas Handler) as a result of Initial Influx Size
8 SPE/IADC 163550

As can be seen, the resultant pressure is not very high at all and is readily handled by the installed equipment. This would be
different if the reason for the continuing flow were failure of both the primary and secondary BOP. This case is not
discussed here.

3rd Example – Handling Gas in the Riser

The gas rate that would result from circulating a 20 barrel gas influx that found its way into the riser and was subsequently
removed through the choke and mud gas separator was estimated.

In this case, Figure 10 shows the gas rate versus the choke backpressure held for a constant circulation rate of 15 BPM (630
gpm). 

45
Gas Rate vs Choke Pressure
40 20 bbl gas influx ‐ 15 BPM circ. rate 
35

30
Gas Rate (mmscf/d)

25

20

15

10

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Choke Pressure (psi)
 
Figure 10: Gas Rate versus Choke Pressure – Gas being circulated from a riser

For this example, the gas rate at a very low (or open choke) is very high and may well overwhelm the typical installed mud
gas separator (even a recent 5th/6th gen. rig will quite possibly have a gas capacity of perhaps 15 mmscf/d). Similar results are
seen in Ref. 5.

Note that it is simply not possible to estimate this gas rate without using a realistic model which takes into account gas going
into and coming out of solution. Simple models based on single gas bubble theory will give an inaccurate number, which can
in some cases (such as this) be very non-conservative. Note also that slowing down the circulating rate has very little (if any)
impact on the resultant gas rate, which is due to gas coming out of solution at the very low pressure upstream of the (mostly)
open choke. 

4th Example - Focus on Ballooning (and fitting drilling operations within the available window)

Ballooning or flowback at connections and other pump off events, has generally been accepted in deepwater as a “normal”
event. This new norm is often incorporated by plan into the drilling design of wells without thought as to how to effectively
manage the associated operational difficulty. Most certainly wherever possible the best mitigation is avoidance. This may be
achieved by a more focused approach to fitting operations within the available pore pressure/fracture gradient window.

Current approaches rely on an understanding of the available window, circulating and other pressures expressed as a mud or
pressure gradient and typically in ppg (lbs per gallon).

Switching to an expression of this window in absolute pressure units (for example, psi) seems to make for a much more
informative “pressure window” or “control window”. Perhaps we should simply term this “The Drilling Window”.

The problems with the “conventional (gradient/ppg)” approach are:


SPE/IADC 163550 9

1. 0.3 ppg at 5000 feet = 78 psi, at 25000 ft = 390 psi….how much overbalance do we have if we just think in ppg?
2. It is difficult to correct for mud compressibility – we still want to maintain the pit measured mud weight as the base.
Do we relate to “pit mud weight” or the average mud weight over the annulus?
3. It is difficult to incorporate circulating friction pressures within the gradient approach, particularly items such as
choke line friction pressure.

An example of how this new approach may be expressed visually is given below in Figure 11. Note that if the mud weight
overbalance is increased, then the window for well control operations is reduced. It is also possible to optimize the well
control operations, to help ensure that such well control operations are fitted within the available window. For example,
varying the kill rate and the use of just the choke line or both choke and kill lines will alter the ability to stay within the
window. At the least the limitations of the window are understood. 

 
Figure 11: Drilling and Well Control Window (the Zero psi line corresponds to the static well condition)

Note that in the planning stage realistic modeling tools (hydraulics and well control) will be used to generate the inputs for
this “window”. Once operations are ongoing, rig measurements (choke and kill line friction pressures, PWD and BOP
pressure gauge readings) must be used instead, with the (now calibrated) modeling results used to provide some further
breakdown of information, not directly available from the gauges (e.g. frictional pressure drop between casing shoe and
wellhead). A detailed description of this process will be left to a future paper.

If it is impossible to stay within the pore pressure/fracture window, then “ballooning” is likely and it is quite possible that an
influx will occur concurrently with a ballooning situation. A key to well control while drilling is to differentiate ballooning
from influx flow.

In the field, it is common to “fingerprint” each connection such that “normal ballooning” can be characterized and then it is
possible to superimpose a potential “influx event” on top of this normal ballooning to establish what sort of characteristic
should be looked at as drilling goes ahead. This relies heavily on the experience of the personnel involved. In many cases
there are no diagnostic or predictive tools to aid them in the decision.

Figures 12a and 12b (below) show the superposition of an influx on top of a severe ballooning event. The key with such an
approach is to establish not only what the “baseline” ballooning looks like, but also to try to understand what the combination
of this ballooning and an influx will look like, such that the rig crew is better prepared to recognize and deal with the event
were it to happen.
10 SPE/IADC 163550

It is a further example of equipping the crew with the knowledge to understand what is normal and what events will look like
if a “not normal” event such as an influx is also occurring. 

Flow Out ‐ GPM vs Time (min) Pit Gain ‐ bbl vs Time (min)

140
350

120
300
Resulting Pit Gain

100
250

Pit  Gain (bbl)
80
Pit Gain Ballooning
Flow Out (GPM)

200

Resulting Flow Out 60

150

40
Pit Gain Due Influx
100
Volatile Oil Influx 20

50
0
Flow Out Ballooning 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Time (minutes)
0
0 5 10 15 20
Time (minutes) 25 30 35 40
 
Figures 12a and 12b A kick (influx) imposed upon a severe ballooning incident.

Focus on What this Means for Operations and Training 

This paper has addressed some advanced well control topics including detailed behavior of gas when it goes into solution in
an oil based (or synthetic) mud or is in solution associated with an oil kick. Is it possible for a rig crew to understand such
complexity?

Perhaps not, or rather it is unlikely that the members of a rig crew would be up to being able to describe how much gas will
dissolve and when it will come out of solution (see left side of Figure 13). However, they can and will understand that this
type of event can happen. Every time someone opens a can of Coke, something like this happens (see right side of Figure
13).   

 
Figure 13: Gas Solubility Phase Diagram and Coke Bottle Experiment

The events on the LHS are difficult for many engineers yet alone the rig crew to understand, the event on the RHS is easy to
demonstrate and can be understood.

Whereas being able to describe how events will occur for all types of wells is nearly impossible, it is relatively simple to
describe events that would occur for a particular well geometry (and mud type).
SPE/IADC 163550 11

For example, events on a deepwater well with a TD approaching 30,000 ft will be somewhat slow. If an influx is recognized
(and even if it is gas) and the well shut-in, the gas will go into solution (unless a truly massive influx has occurred), and the
well can be safely left shut-in while procedures are reviewed and equipment checked.

By contrast if a similar size influx occurs in a fairly slimbore shallow (for example 6000 ft) well, it is quite likely that there
will be significant “free gas” and that this gas will migrate to surface very quickly with rapid gas expansion and other
wellbore impacts. In this case there will be not time to review procedures – in fact there is possibly not the time to summon
the rig supervisor from his/her office at the rig, yet alone call town and ask for advice – it is essential in this case that the
approaches/procedures/precautions are all worked out up front, such that the Driller can take all necessary steps without any
further required authority.

The key is that the individual well can be modeled and a robust approach developed prior to drilling taking place. In
addition, what will be seen during such an event can be described to the rig crew. They will then know “why” events (pit
level increases for example) are happening and will provide much better control compared to the case where they were only
told “what” to look for. Effectively, they will own the drilling process. 

Reflection on Well Control Incidents

Although these authors do not know all of the detail of recent incidents it is a fair assumption, based on public enquiries and
other publicly available information, that a combination of robust barriers, adequate modeling of what could happen and
strict measurement of flows in and out of the well could have altered the course of events.

For all catastrophic events, it should be evident that the personnel involved did not intend the event to occur. A cascade of
seemingly minor risk events occurring on top of a well control event, overwhelmed the ability of the rig site decision makers
to adequately respond to events It is often too easy to blame it on “Pilot Error”. We need to ensure that rig staff have
predictive models of the wells they drill, training in how the well will behave, and a mandate to challenge designs to be sure
that we are drilling within an acceptable risk envelope

We can see from incidents stretching back to the Ocean Odyssey blow-out in the UK in 1988 (Ref 6), that understanding
wellbore events is critical to blowout mitigation. In this case, flows in and out (ballooning) were occurring, but an actual
influx was circulated out during which time the pit gain and choke pressure increased significantly (the crew thought this was
normal), prior to a barrier (the flexible choke line) failing. This incident was the starting point of the extensive work carried
out in the industry to realistically model the behavior of gas solubility in OBM, such that incidents such as this one could be
avoided in the future (Ref 3 in particular).

Other extensive work efforts on the same subject were carried out by Rogalands Research in Norway and LSU (Baton
Rouge), underlining the importance of the subject. Note that the work for this current paper was carried out using the SPT
Groups software “Kick”, which is part of the Drillbench Suite and a direct descendent of the Rogalands Research model.

What is probably certain is that the next major incident will arise from a different set of circumstances, but will be rooted in a
lack of attention to barrier adequacy and exacerbated by a lack of understanding of the condition of the fluid system in the
wellbore. This emphasizes the need to model and allow decision makers to simulate possible events so as to understand what
could happen on the well that is about to be drilled. It is also clear that a “one size fits all” approach to well control is simply
not good enough, and fits nobody well. The variation for different well geometries and the associated rig equipment/layout is
simply too great to expect such an approach to be effective in even a majority of cases.

Following Macondo, a submission was made by one of the authors to BOEMRE (now BSEE) (December 2010). The 1st
parts of the conclusions of this submission are shown below (Figure 14).

In general this sums up the direction which should be taken.

Note that it is not always the case that the next incident is different…Macondo and Montara (8 months prior to Macondo)
were somewhat similar. Both suffered catastrophic casing shoe failures, followed by a failure to monitor flows in and out, or
an inability to do so. It would be very useful for details of incidents to be made public at the earliest opportunity, such that
repeat catastrophes could be avoided.  
12 SPE/IADC 163550

 
Figure 14: Extract from Submission to BOEMRE (Dec 2010)

Conclusions

1. Readily available realistic modeling (carried out during the planning phase of a well program) allows for procedures
to be devised and tested and “normals” to be established.
2. This work can be properly calibrated during the drilling operation, using rig measurements (PWD, choke and kill
line friction pressures etc..).
3. The rigsite team will be able to understand what can happen on a well if it is presented in a well and rig specific
format (…this is what could happen for this hole section……). There is no need to describe what could happen for
any (general) incident, deriving from first principles. This means that the team can be very aware of what should be
happening and can quickly recognize and react to a situation which is not normal.
4. In particular, performing this work allows the rig crews to be in control of some quite complex events and as such
gives them the best chance to avoid an out of control situation and becoming accident statistics.
5. Additional instrumentation at the BOP should provide for a positive warning that hydrocarbon is passing through the
BOP prior to entering the riser. This may take the form of a second pressure gauge, with “smart” analysis capability
(measure of one gauge tracking a second) or of a densitometer to detect a (small) decrease in overall mud density.
The type of requirement for this instrumentation is described in this paper.
6. A different approach to fitting operations within the available pore pressure/fracture pressure window is appropriate.
The type of approach that could be used is noted within this paper. In particular, swapping to an absolute pressure
(psi) presentation compared to a pressure gradient (ppg) presentation is required.
7. Additional close monitoring of the flow out of the well during a kill circulation will allow for a very clear
assessment that there is no additional influx occurring (i.e. that the well is unloading). This could be in the form of
an accurate flow-meter (tied to the pump stroke calculation) or (if the Driller’s method is used) a simple, accurate
monitoring of pit levels.
8. A riser gas handler is a useful addition for deepwater drilling. If the riser is circulated with returns going to the mud
gas separator, a suitable choke back-pressure must be held, so as to limit the gas rate. Typically this will be 300 psi
SPE/IADC 163550 13

or higher, limited by the pressure rating of the riser. If a riser gas handler is not installed, then a conventional
diverter must be activated. There will likely be some very high gas and mud flow rates in this situation.
9. Gas rates that could/will occur during well control situations are difficult to calculate. Simple (supposedly
conservative) single gas bubble models may significantly under-estimate the likely gas rate and should not be used
to determine the capability of a mud gas separator to handle a situation.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the other principals of Argonauta Drilling Services L.L.C. and of Argonauta Energy Services
L.L.C. They have provided a framework within which this work could be accomplished and have consented to the
publication of this work.

It should also be paper has been written given much work by the authors and in addition work with a number of operating
companies. The authors are most grateful for all of the opportunities that they have been given by these operators, but it
should also be recognized that this work remains fiercely independent of the direction of a particular operator and is the
opinion of the authors and not one or more operator.

The hydraulics and well control modeling contained in this work were carried out using Presmod and Kick, which are part of
the “Drillbench Suite” (SPT Group).

Updating of hydraulics during operations phases was accomplished with input from such programs as MI’s “Virtual
Hydraulics”.

References

1. SPE 84316: Ultra-Deepwater Hydraulics and Well Control Tests with extensive Instrumentation: Field Tests and
Data, R. Rommetveit et al (2003)
2. SPE 62728-MS: Analysis of extended reach drilling data using an advanced pressure and temperature model, K.S.
Bjorkevoll et al (2000)
3. SPE 24577-MS: Use of a Kick Simulator as a Well Planning Tool, Wand , P.A. et al (1992)
4. Offshore Magazine: Avoiding explosive unloading of gas in a deepwater riser, Colin Leach et al (1997)
5. SPE 156399-MS: Development of a Marine Riser Gas Management System, John Kozicz (2012)
(many of the topics in this paper are relevant – the authors take exception to the suggestion to use the gas rate calculations suggested by the SPE
Paper 20430-PA Mud/Gas Separator Sizing & Evaluation, MacDougall, G.R. et al (1991) – these calculated gas rates are for single gas bubbles
and can be significantly non-conservative, especially at low choke pressures. Other calculations within the Macdougall paper and specifically
with respect to Mud Gas Separator design are perfectly acceptable).
6. R.D. Ireland Esquire QC – Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Death of Timothy John Williams on Board Ocean
Odyssey (1991)