Possible Wellbore Problems during Well Kill Operation

In the previous article, Common Problems and Complications During Well Kill Operation, it is about commons complications that can be possibly seen while performing well control operation. For this article, it will discuss other wellbore problems which are stuck pipe, surface pressure reaching to MAASP, lost of control and hydrate.

Stuck Pipe

During a well control operation, a stuck pipe can occur and this has the potential to lead to serious issues. Whenever the pipe is off bottom, the chances of the pipe getting stuck increases. Therefore, rotating the pipe should reduce the risk of this problem occurring. However, with the well shut it, it is impossible to rotate to minimize stuck pipe so the stuck pipe should be dealt after the well is properly secured.

Throughout well control operation, wellbore pressures will be high and this means the most common cause of a stuck pipe comes from differential sticking. However, this isn’t to say mechanical sticking can’t occur if the hole sloughs and packs-off after coming into contact with the influx fluids.

Operation can normally continue when the pipe is differentially stuck (with the bit on bottom) because the well can still be killed with circulation. Once the well is killed, then the pipe can be free safely later.

When the bit is off bottom and the pipe becomes differentially stuck, this is a more complicated scenario since it’s more difficult to reduce wellbore pressure; at that depth, it’s normally impossible to achieve a reduction by circulation. Although there may be opportunities to spot a freeing agent and free the pipe, volumetric control is the chosen method if the influx was swabbed in.

When the pipe is mechanically stuck, the pipe can be freed by spotting a freeing agent and working the pipe (by combining the two, the desired result is achievable!).

Stuck Pipe due to Differential Sticking

Figure 1 – Stuck Pipe due to Differential Sticking

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What Cause Lost Circulation in Drilling Leading to a Well Control Situation

Lost circulation whole mud (whether to depleted reservoirs or to natural/induced fractures)is one of biggest causes of well kicks. In the wellbore, fluid levels can decrease and this lowers the hydrostatic pressure. Once hydrotatic pressure is less than formation pressure, it will cause a flow from the formation in permeable zones. Figure 1 illustrates loss of fluid level into a weak zone which will lead a well control incident if a wellbore is not filled up on time with correct mud weight.

Lost Circulation in Drilling Leading to a Well Control Situation

Figure 1 – Lost Circulation in Drilling Leading to a Well Control Situation

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Categories of Well Control

Well control can be categorized into three main categories which are Primary Well Control, Secondary Well Control and Tertiary Well Control. The details are shown below;

Primary Well Control

Primary Well Control is hydrostatic pressureprovided by drilling fluid more than formation pressure but less than fracture gradient while drilling. If hydrostatic pressure is less than reservoir pressure, reservoir fluid may influx into wellbore. This situation is called “Loss Primary Well Control”. Typically, slightly overbalance of hydrostatic pressure over reservoir pressure is normally desired. The basic of maintaining primary well control is to maintain hydrostatic pressure that is heavy enough to overcome formation pressure but not fracture formations.

Figure 1 - Drilling Fluid

Figure 1 – Drilling Fluid

Not only is hydrostatic pressure more than formation pressure, but also hydrostatic pressure must not exceed fracture gradient. If mud in hole is too heavy, it will cause a broken wellbore, that will result in loss circulation problem (partially lost or total lost circulation). When fluid is losing into formation, mud level in well bore will be decreased that will cause reduction in hydrostatic pressure. For the worst case scenario, hydrostatic pressure is less than formation pressure therefore wellbore influx (kick) will enter into wellbore. Continue reading

Kill The Blow Out Well Using Nuclear Bomb

We’ve found this vidoe on Youtube and this is one of the most interesting stories of well control. This is about how to kill the blow out well using a nuclear bomb. We are not sure when it was happened but from what you can see, this was quite long time ago when directional technology was not good enough to successfully drill a relief well. Please see the video below and we already added the footage transcript for further learning.

Transcript for learning – How the Soviets stopped well blowouts Continue reading