Effectively planning a relief well is becoming a required skill for drilling engineers involved in the well planning process
Existing rules for relief well planning in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) have been revised. The US government now requires operators to submit relief well trajectories to obtain a deepwater drilling permit, and BP requires that at least two relief well locations be verified and available for use. Based on industry standard well placement procedures, this paper sets forth good practices and key parameters that should not be overlooked during the design process.
While the complexity and challenge of meeting global energy demands continue to increase and more stringent regulatory requirements must be met to acquire a permit to drill, understanding how to effectively plan a relief well is becoming a required skill for drilling engineers involved in the well planning process.
Historically, few operators created formal relief well plans before an actual blowout occurred. In addition, proprietary tools and older techniques made relief well planning appear unnecessarily complex to some operators.
To meet the new regulatory requirements, many oil and gas companies are looking for ways to produce reliable relief well plans without generating intercept plans for every casing section.
In the GoM, BP has been working to make the relief well planning process more transparent, efficient, and consistent through (1) a systematic, repeatable relief well planning methodology that establishes a standard range of boundary conditions and (2) a specialized set of engineering tools that enable teams across the organization to generate similar results.
A relief well provides a means to intercept and kill a blowout well when a surface intervention or capping procedure requires an extended period of time or as a contingency in the event of unsuccessful intervention or capping operations. Drilling a relief well presents many technical challenges to assure that the blowout well is intersected in the correct position and that the fluid pumping operations are effective.
This paper presents five phases of relief well trajectory design: data gathering, drilling, locating, tracking, and intercepting. It also discusses the development and pilot testing of a new software application specifically designed to integrate these five phases into a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment, reducing cycle time and providing a systematic approach to relief well designs.
Click below to view further details and download the technical paper (PDF).
Source: SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, 17-19 March 2015, London, England, UK
Authors: Roger B. Goobie (BP) | William T. Allen (BP) | Barbara M. Lasley (BP) | Kent Corser (BP) | Jose Patino Perez (Halliburton)