Risks and Equipment Considerations for Surface Diverting (Well Control)

Of all diverts, many studies show a failure rate of between 50% and 70%. According to the same studies, when it comes to well control issues, shallow gas blowouts is the leading cause of offshore rig damage and loss. On the US Outer Continental Shelf, the MMS agrees with these findings and has suggested a 46% failure rate between 1971 and 1991. Even though mandatory well control training was introduced during this period, the MMS has noted that a reduction in blowout frequency wasn’t experienced during this time.

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Introduction to Diverters in Well Control

Considering the danger of shallow steam or gas zones requires unique well control considerations. Whenever the necessary casing shoe integrity cannot be obtained due to the shallowness of the zones (before encountering pressure), a kick will need to be diverted because it cannot be shut-in. For this situation, a diverter shown in Figure 1 is a mandatory equipment to divert the undesirable flow to allow personal to have proceed the next plan; i.e., evacuation and/or dynamically kill a well.

Figure 1 - Diverter Package in Well Control (Courtesy of Cansco Dubai LLC)

Figure 1 – Diverter Package in Well Control (Courtesy of Cansco Dubai LLC)

By directing the flow from an unloading well, diverting allows physical damage to be limited to all equipment and rig personnel. With specialized procedures and equipment, the idea is to impose limited back pressure on the weak downhole formations. Although not strictly a well control procedure, diverting successfully will allow the well to be dynamically killed, to bridge over, or be depleted (without losing equipment or life). Continue reading

Diverter Systems In Well Control

The diverter is an annular preventer with a large piping system underneath. It is utilized to divert the kick from the rig and it can be used when the conductor pipe is set. It is not used if you drill riserless. The large diameter pipe typically has two directions diverting the wellbore fluid out of the rig (see the figure below for more understanding).

The diverter should be used only when the well cannot be shut in because of fear of formation breakdown or lost circulation. Use of the diverter depends on the regulations and operator policies.

The diverter is normally installed on a conductor casing with large diverter pipe pointing to a downwind area. Typically, the selective valves located at each diverter line can be operated separately so the personnel on the rig can divert the flow into the proper direction. It is designed for short periods of high flow rate but it cannot hold a lot of pressure. With high flow rate, the erosion can be happened easily so the bigger of diverter line the better. Additionally, the straight diverter lines are the most preferable.

** more details can be found herehttps://www.drillingformulas.com/introduction-to-diverters-in-well-control/

In the market, there are several models provided by service providers as

Hydril Pressure Control FSP* 28-2000 Diverter


Hydril Pressure Control FS™ 21″ 500-psi Marine Riser Diverter




Cormack, D. (2007). An introduction to well control calculations for drilling operations. 1st ed. Texas: Springer.

Crumpton, H. (2010). Well Control for Completions and Interventions. 1st ed. Texas: Gulf Publishing.

Grace, R. (2003). Blowout and well control handbook [recurso electrónico]. 1st ed. Paises Bajos: Gulf Professional Pub.

Grace, R. and Cudd, B. (1994). Advanced blowout & well control. 1st ed. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company.

Watson, D., Brittenham, T. and Moore, P. (2003). Advanced well control. 1st ed. Richardson, Tex.: Society of Petroleum Engineers.