1 GENERAL INFORMATION
The function of Well Control can be conveniently sub-divided into two main categories,namely Primary Well Control and Secondary Well Control. These categories are briefly described in the following paragraphs.
1.1.1 Primary Well Control (H
This is the maintenance of sufficient hydrostatic head of fluid in the wellbore (H
) tobalance the pressure exerted by the fluids in the formation being drilled (P
).However, it should be noted that balancing formation pressure is a theoretical minimumrequirement; good drilling practice dictates that a sufficient excess of hydrostatic head overformation pressure, be maintained at all times to allow for contingencies. This excess head isgenerally referred to as ‘Trip Margin’ or ‘Overbalanced’.
1.1.2 Secondary Well Control (H
If for any reason the effective head in the wellbore should fall below formation pressure, aninflux of formation fluid (kick) into the wellbore would occur. If this situation occurs theBlowout Preventers (BOPs) must be closed as quickly as possible to prevent or reduce theloss of mud from the well. The purpose of Secondary Well Control is to rectify the situation by either:a) allowing the invading fluid to vent harmlessly at the surface, orb) closing the well in. i.e. providing a surface pressure to restore the balance betweenpressures inside and outside the wellbore. This latter procedure prevents any further influx of formation fluid and allows any one of a variety of ‘Kick Removal’ methods to be applied thus restoring a sufficient hydrostatic head of fluid in the wellbore. This re-establishes the preferred situation of Primary Well Control.