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SECTION THREE

Principles & Procedures

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3. Well Control General (P&P)
The minute by minute well control during intervention operations is achieved by means of surface equipment. The various pressure containment devices are either mechanical barriers or hydrostatic barriers. (Fluid barriers) There can be times during or before an intervention operation when it is required to kill the well using a column of kill fluid. In this case, it is called a fluid barrier or a hydrostatic barrier. A fluid barrier may be used together with one or more mechanical barriers i.e. a full column of kill fluid, deep set positive plug and tubing hanger plug may be considered necessary prior to removing a Xmas tree. From time to time well servicing personnel may become involved in well control operations and may have to perform simple downhole pressure and volume calculations.

3.1HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE
The hydrostatic pressure of a fluid is a direct function of DEPTH & DENSITY. The basic principles of well control are to be found in the science of hydrostatics which deals with the forces generated by a column of static fluid. Such forces are due to the effect of gravity. The unit of depth throughout this manual will be in FEET (ft.) The unit of density will be in US POUNDS PER GALLON (ppg) The unit of pressure will be POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH (psi) When a fluid of a given density is measured over a given unit depth, the pressure exerted is known as the PRESSURE GRADIENT. The pressure gradient is expressed in POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH PER FOOT (psi/ ft). Fresh water has a pressure gradient of 0.433 psi/ft. If this fluid was used in a vertical 10,000 ft. well, it would exert a pressure of: 0.433 psi/ft x 10,000 ft = 4330 psi. From studies of the US gulf coast, it has been shown that the normal formation pressure gradient of the salt water found in the pore spaces of the rocks is 0.465 psi/ft. To calculate the hydrostatic pressure of any column of fluid, we must know the depth (ft.) and the pressure gradient of the fluid (psi/ft.) The depth used to calculate pressure is the True Vertical Depth (TVD). Measured Depth (MD) is used to calculate volume.

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Measured Depth is also called:• • • • • Along Hole below Drill Floor (AHBDF) Below Drill Floor (BDF) Below Rotary Table (BRT) Below Kelly Bushing (BKB) Below Rotary Table Kelly Bushing (BRTKB)

3.1.1DERIVATION OF THE CONSTANT 0.433 If a cubic foot is filled with fresh water then it will weigh 62.4 lbs since the density of fresh water is 62.4 pounds/cubic foot. In order to find out the pressure exerted by one foot of this fluid on one square inch of area, divide 62.4 by the number of square inches on the base of a cubic foot. 12” × 12” = 144 square inches. 62.4 ÷ 144 = 0.433 psi/foot = Gradient

To find the pressure at the bottom of a well 10000 ft deep, filled with fresh water, multiply gradient by true vertical depth = 0.433 psi/ft by 10000 ft to find 4330 psi . If a new fluid had a specific gravity of 2, it would be twice as heavy as fresh water = (0.433 × 2) = 0.866 psi/foot.

052 x 10000 = 5200 psi.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. we must divide 7.ERTIKA.52 psi/ft.com. The hydrostatic pressure exerted by a column of 10 ppg fluid at 10. This constant is used to find the pressure gradient of fluids that have a density in ppg.48 US gallons.0519 psi / ft From this calculation you can see that the fluid has a pressure gradient of 0. This figure is rounded up to 0.000 ft. EXAMPLE A 10 ppg fluid has a pressure gradient of 10 × 0. Fluid density (weight/gal) x 0. In order to find out what is the pressure exerted by one foot of depth of this fluid on one square inch of area.052 x TVD = Hydrostatic Pressure Hydrostatic Pressure (psi) x. TVD (ft) = Pressure Gradient (psi/ft) Pressure Gradient (psi/ft) = Fluid Density (ppg) x 0.www.052 = 0.1.052 If a cubic foot is filled with a fluid weighing 1lb/gallon. 12 x 12 = 144 square inches 7.48 by the number of square inches on the base of a cubic foot.2DERIVATION OF THE CONSTANT 0. = 10 x 0.0519 psi/ft. The weight of this fluid is therefore 7.052 psi/ft.48 ÷ 144 = 0. the amount it will hold is 7.48 pounds per cubic foot.052 Hydrostatic Pressure (psi) = TVD (ft) x Pressure Gradient (psi/ft) .

This is often called by different names. 3.Shut In Tubing Head Pressure SIWHP .1.3FORMATION GRADIENT Formation pressure or Formation Gradient is the pressure of the fluids contained in the pores of a formation rock.com. The hydrostatic pressure in a column of liquid depends only on the vertical distance from the surface and the density of the liquid.ERTIKA. the gas (and any liquid present) will always exert a hydrostatic pressure on the formation.www.2GASSES All gases and liquids exert a hydrostatic pressure.Shut In Well Head Pressure In such a well.Closed in Well Head Pressure SITHP . there will be an associated wellhead shut in pressure.Closed In Tubing Head Pressure CIWHP .ly Drilling Courses in Libya REMEMBER To calculate Hydrostatic Pressure we need to know the true vertical depth and the fluid gradient. The total pressure in a live gas well has both a hydrostatic element and a shut in element as shown. In any well where there is gas present. • • • • CITHP . P (Shut in) + P (Hydrostatic) = P (total) . Formation Pressure= Formation Gradient × TVD 3.

P (total) = P (hydrostatic) + P (Shut in) P (hydrostatic) = (Cf-1) x P (Shut in) . at atmospheric pressure.357 psi/ft) and the gas gravity is 0. there is zero psi. The reference density is that of air. From the depth in the left-hand column and the specific gravity at the top.2.www. the correction factor is 1.1HYDROSTATIC HEAD OF A COLUMN OF GAS. find the correction factor Cf. There is oil at 6825 ft. and a gas cap of 3500 ft.0. The specific gravity (SG) of a gas is measured at standard reference conditions taken to be 600 F.499psi/ft.825 SG (0.8 SG gas.214 = 1821 psi. SITHP = 1500 psi.214 Total pressure at 7000 ft. The annulus is full of completion brine with a density of 1. To use this table. the Specific Gravity (SG) of the gas must be known. Therefore the hydrostatic pressure of the column of gas = (Cf-1) x 1500 = 321 psi. = 1500 x 1.) The SITHP is 1200 psi.ly Drilling Courses in Libya Unlike a liquid. From above Therefore EXAMPLE Find the pressure at 7000 feet in a gas well with 0. From the table. P (total) = Cf × P (Shut in) Where P (tot) is the total pressure at the given depth and P (SI) is the SITHP.15 SG (0. the density of a gas and its hydrostatic pressure is a function of pressure.com.ERTIKA. The table at the end of this section gives correction factors that can be used to calculate the hydrostatic head of a long column of gas.325 ft. The density of the oil is 0. 3. in the annulus. EXAMPLE A vertical production well is shut in with a plug set in the tailpipe (below the packer) at 10.6 SG. which is given as 1.

is to be opened to allow circulation of kill brine before starting a workover operation. Therefore the total of the pressures on the tubing side is: P (Shut in) + P (oil) + P (gas) = 1200 + 1133 + 90 = 2423 psi. Calculate the Hydrostatic pressure of the oil: P (oil) = 3175 × 0. The above calculations are all based on the principle that the fluid in the well is stationary. Where 1.075 is the gas correction factor.com.499 = 4990 psi. P (sleeve) = P (oil) + P (gas) = P (brine) Calculate the Hydrostatic pressure of the brine: P (brine) = 10000 × 0.1) × 1200 = 90 psi.ERTIKA. Calculate the Hydrostatic pressure of the gas: P (gas) = (1. so the SITHP must be increased by (4990 . .357 = 1133 psi.ly Drilling Courses in Libya The sliding sleeve at 10. What should be done to the SITHP before opening the sleeve? SOLUTION In order to have the pressure differential across the sleeve equal to zero. The hydrostatic pressure from the brine is 4990 psi.2423) = 2567 psi. NOTE: the calculations were made at the depth of the sliding sleeve.www.000 ft. the pressure in the tubing at the sleeve must be equal to the pressure in the annulus at the sleeve.075 . This can be shown graphically with the well in balance across the sliding sleeve. The manufacturer of the sliding sleeve recommends that the pressure across the sleeve be equalised before attempting to open it.

a slight overbalance). Some kill fluids may require lost circulation materials (e.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. To become an effective barrier. the well is said to be in balance when the hydrostatic pressure of the column of fluid is equal to the formation pressure. a column of kill fluid must exert a slightly greater hydrostatic pressure than the formation pressure (i.ERTIKA. the sum of the pressures in the wellbore (surface shut in pressure plus the hydrostatic pressures of the gas and fluid) will be equal to the formation pressure. circulating pressure = hydrostatic pressure + annular pressure loss. P (formation) = Formation Gradient x TVD SIWHP = P (formation) . In a producing well that has been shut in. the surface line pressure losses are not a significant amount.total wellbore P (hydrostatic) In a well that has been killed by a column of fluid. Should the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid be less than the formation pressure. Circulating Pressures In any situation where fluid is being circulated around a well. For most intervention operation.e. If the annular capacity between the intervention pipe and the completion is small. nozzles in the BHA and in the annulus. the well is under balanced and cannot be considered killed.www. for example during a Coiled Tubing clean-out operation. If the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid is greater than the formation pressure. This can then lead to an under balanced condition in many wells.com. there are additional pressures caused by the circulating fluid.g.3FORMATION PRESSURE The formation pressure is that pressure which exists at the “bottom” of a well due to the naturally occurring pressure of the formation. these losses can be many hundreds of psi. the well is overbalanced and there is a probability of fluid invading the formation. the pipe. Losses through the nozzles of any jetting sub or mill may be significant and there will be losses due to the friction of the fluid in the annulus around the intervention pipe. sized salt particles or Calcium Carbonate) so that a full column of fluid can be maintained. This annular pressure loss acts on the formation and can easily cause the well to be overbalanced During circulation operations. This is usually called the Bottom Hole Circulating Pressure (BHCP). . Pressure losses occur in the surface lines. The losses in small strings of pipe such as are used in Coiled Tubing and Snubbing operations can be very significant and are often the limiting factor in pumping operations.

= 1600 .ERTIKA.com. . The pressure loss in the annulus is the only one that acts on the formation.1600 = 2900 psi.300 = 1300 psi.0 = 300 psi.ly Drilling Courses in Libya In the example. if pressure gauges could be located around the circulating system.www. Pressure loss in surface line = 4525 .4500 = 25 psi. = 300 . Pressure loss in pipe Pressure loss across jet sub pressure loss in annulus = 4500 . they might well read as shown.

Calculate the Formation Pressure Calculate maximum surface pressure. If tables are not available. the total fluid volume can be easily calculated by Fluid volume = capacity x length. is C = D2 ÷ 1029. Some pump rates are given in strokes/min.4 Where D = diameter in inches. well services personnel may have to calculate hole volumes for pumping operations or for well kill.3.117 = 4. It is important to remember that all volume calculations must be done using the measured depth (MD) of the hole. The capacity of a section of pipe in bbl/ft.2HYDROSTATIC/VOLUME EXAMPLE The following information has been gathered from a gas well: TVD 6500 ft MD 10000 ft Formation Gradient 0.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3.68 bpm 3. In nearly all cases. Having obtained the capacity of a length of pipe from tables or from calculation. MD. these figures can be obtained from industry standard tables of pipe capacities. Capacity is in bbl/ft.573 psi/foot Gas gradient 0.07 psi/ft.117 bbls/stroke. Time to pump = volume ÷ pump rate/min. annular volumes. depending on the liner size.www.1VOLUMES Occasionally.ID2 Where OD & ID are diameters in inches. It may be necessary to calculate the time it will take to pump a given volume of fluid. etc. Length is in ft. The capacity of an annular space in bbl/ft. This is usually in the region 0. the pump output (bbls/stroke) will be known.3. the following formulae may be used to calculate capacity.ERTIKA. With such a pump. is C = OD2 .com. . A pump operating at 40 strokes/min will deliver 40 x 0.

0899 bbls/stroke Strokes required to displace the tubing = 82.573 x 6500 =3724.5 psi What would be the weight of fluid required to balance formation pressure Gradient = Pressure ÷ Depth = 3724.01190 bbls/ft 0./ft 0.0899 = 921 strokes Casing capacity = 0.00829 bbls/ft 0.04049 bbls/ft 10000 ft 10.ly Drilling Courses in Libya Solution Formation Pressure=Formation Gradient x TVD (In our example the Gradient is expressed as a Formation Gradient) Formation Pressure= 0.00829 x 10000 = 82.5 ÷ 6500 = 0. Kill Weight fluid = 11 ppg.2 lbs.5 psi – 455 psi = 3270.8 bbls Pump displacement = 0.8 ÷ 0.0899 bbls/stroke How many strokes are required to displace the tubing string? How many strokes are required to displace the entire wellbore? Solution (There are several methods available of performing this type of calculation) Tubing capacity = 0.5 psi Hydrostatic pressure exerted by the gas column=Gas Gradient × TVD = 0. Additional information is provided as follows: Casing capacity Tubing depth Tubing wt Tubing capacity Tubing closed end displacement Pump displacement 0.573 psi/ft Calculate wt/gallon PPG = Wt/ft ÷ Constant = 0.07 x 6500 = 455 psi Surface pressure = Formation Pressure-Hydrostatic pressure due to the gas column =3724.04049 bbls/ft x 10000 = 405 bbls in the casing .www.573 ÷ 0 052 = 11 ppg.com.ERTIKA.

0025 bbls/ft 0.) The strokes required to displace the entire wellbore will be equal to the strokes required to displace the volume contained in the casing less the volume displaced from the casing by the tubing weight (and contents.3.www.75 = 30. calculate how long it takes to circulate bottoms up? TVD MD Tubing capacity Annular capacity Pump rate Solution 3.com.0025 x 9250)/ 0.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3.) + Strokes used to displace the tubing (Casing capacity-Tubing closed end displacement) ÷ Pump rate = (405 bbls in casing – tubing closed end displacement) ÷ 0.4BOTTOMS UP Since Bottoms Up is an expression meaning the circulation from the drill bit to the shale shakers then bottoms up will equal an annular capacity.18 bbls Time required = 48.0052 x 9250 = 48.ERTIKA.8 = 94.0899 = 3181 strokes to displace casing contents.0899 = (405 – 119) ÷ 0.3.75 bpm 8600 9250 0. = 0.8 strokes Total time required = 64 + 30.8 mins 0. Strokes to displace the entire wellbore = 3181 + strokes to displace the tubing = 3181 + 921 Strokes to displace the entire wellbore = 4102 This is a new well.0899 = (405 – (0.0052 bbls/ft Calculate the time required for one circulation .01190 x10000) ÷ 0.0025 bbls/ft Time required to displace the tubing = (0.3TUBING CLOSED END DISPLACEMENT Tubing closed end displacement is the volume of fluid displaced by the tubing volume (volume of the steel plus the volume of the tubing contents.75 = 64 mins Tubing capacity = 0.18/0.

It is very often necessary to temporarily block off the thief zone with sized salt particles or carbonate particles so that returns can be brought to surface without plugging the thief zone with the solids. there are check valves specifically to stop fluids entering the pipe in use. there are two reliable and independent barriers between the reservoir and the environment at all times. the work should be suspended until the barriers have been repaired. It is good practice to ensure that at least two tested barriers are available at all times and it should be borne in mind that a well which cannot sustain flow should have the same amount of barriers as a well that can. Although these solids would block the zone. losses can occur in one zone of the formation (a thief zone) whilst another zone is still producing. The well should be designed to ensure that. fluid or substance that prevents the flow of well bore fluids and it does this by blocking off the flow path. as such. the completion is one of the key elements in the safety of the well. these check valves must be overcome to permit reverse circulation and then reinstated again to allow the pipe to be pulled out with a live well. varying from a small SSD in a snubbing string to devices which can be opened and closed by pumping balls in a coiled tubing BHA. Devices are occasionally used which permit this. replaced or reinstated.5BARRIER PHILOSOPHY The purpose of developing a well is to safely and economically produce oil or gas and. in general.ERTIKA. fill. scale. special procedures and/or equipment are required to reverse circulate. etc. 3.4THIEF ZONES In some wells. There are two types of barrier: • Mechanical • Hydrostatic ( fluid ) .com. If reverse circulation is to be done. With both Coiled Tubing and Snubbing. The thief zone can be above. below or between producing zones.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. There are check valves that can be pumped out and then have a replacement pumped in afterwards. Under normal conditions. they are not likely to be permanent and a cement squeeze after washing out will achieve better results. A barrier is any device. In the event that a barrier fails.www. Thief zones can make working on live wells very difficult if it is required to wash out sand.

(the barrier that performs well pressure control function during normal operating conditions. SubSurface Safety Valves may however be classified as barriers if they are leak tight.6.7TYPES OF MECHANICAL BARRIER 3. Stripper rubber or Stripper rams.1CLOSED BARRIERS • • • • • • • • • • Stuffing boxes Strippers Grease Heads BHA Check valves Plugs BOP’s Shear Seal/BOP valves Annular Preventers Xmas Tree Gate Valves Sub-Surface Safety Valves 3.www. for Coiled Tubing the tubing rams (pipe rams) and for Snubbing the Safety rams (pipe rams) The Tertiary barrier for all three services is a cutter valve.7. the grease head. 3. 3.6BARRIER CLASSIFICATION Barriers are classified as follows: • Primary. usually a shear seal (safety head) which is normally mounted immediately above the Xmas tree. Sub-Surface Safety Valves are not classified as barriers since API specifications allow an acceptable leak rate for safety valves.3HYDROSTATIC BARRIERS .com.2CLOSABLE BARRIERS In some areas. Usually a closed barrier) Secondary. This type of barrier would be used only in a real emergency situation. 3. ( the barrier that performs well pressure control function in the event that the primary and secondary barriers fail ) • • The Primary barrier for slickline is the stuffing box or for braided line. Usually a closeable barrier ) Tertiary.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. (the barrier that performs well pressure control function in the event that the primary barrier fails.7.1CONTAINMENT DEVICES A containment device becomes a barrier when it is energised.7. The Secondary barrier for Wireline is the wireline BOP. The equivalent device for Coiled Tubing and Snubbing operations is the Stripper packer.ERTIKA.

Hydrostatic barriers exert a hydrostatic pressure sufficient to overbalance the formation pressure. the stuffing box (the primary barrier) will not contain the wellbore fluids and pressure without the lubricator when it is attached to and all the other components connected to the tree.) or they may be surface barriers.www.com. The wireline stuffing box is only a component of the stuffing box-lubricatorBOP envelope which contains well fluids.ly Drilling Courses in Libya Hydrostatic barriers are primary barriers if they are being monitored i. the overbalanced completion fluid will initially stop the wellbore fluids from reaching the production casing. The envelope is made up of the barrier elements containing the pressure or fluids. 3. In this way we can consider a barrier envelope. In the following drawing the envelope of barrier elements that prevents flow out of the well via the tubing string when the tree is closed is as follows:• Casing below the packer • • • • Packer Production Tubing Tubing Hanger/Hanger Spool Xmas tree If any one of the elements in this envelope fails. Barriers are divided into primary. etc. The back up safety devices are the secondary barriers (the BOP’s in slickline work) and the tertiary barriers are those which are only used in the event of an emergency (the cutter valves. After a while. In the example of the . this may change as the completion fluid escapes from the annulus and the wellbore fluids will then be prevented from leaving the well by the production casing. When the wire is out of the hole. if there is a leak at the packer into the annulus. the stuffing box is only the primary barrier when the wire is in the hole.ERTIKA. This primary barrier may not be the same for the whole job. In the example of the slickline rig up. or barrier elements.e. there are various secondary elements which will prevent the escape of wellbore fluids from the well. we rely on barriers. There may be multiple barriers such as when two or more plugs are placed in a well or when two valves in the same line are closed. For all live well work. they are part of a group of components which form a barrier envelope i. they form part of a barrier system. For example.8BARRIER ENVELOPES Barriers are not ‘stand alone’ items. In the slickline example. During intervention work. These may be downhole barriers (mechanical plugs. Barriers alone will not contain well pressure.). the Xmas tree (swab valve) is the primary barrier. secondary and tertiary barriers. double barriers should always be used.e. it is important to know the physical properties of the fluid to ensure an overbalance at the top of the perforations. columns of fluid. etc. there will be one primary barrier such as the stuffing box on a slickline job. For a truly safe operation. side outlet valves and the tubing hanger seals.

annulus valves and the tubing hanger seals. if the packer leaks into the annulus.ERTIKA.www.ly Drilling Courses in Libya slickline rig up. the envelope is the tree X-over. the BOP. the lubricator sections and the stuffing box. Circulation may be required to the production facility. this may change as the completion fluid escapes from the annulus and the wellbore fluids will then be prevented from leaving the well by the production casing. When bleeding off intervention surface equipment and when circulating a well.com. Whenever a live well is being worked on. The DHSV forms part of the pressure containing tubing string in the same way as any other non-well control completion component. test separator and the flare on a platform or just to a flare pit in a desert location. consideration must be given to the surface handling of produced wellbore fluids. there will be gas and/or oil produced. The venting of surface equipment may require a line to a closed drain on a platform but can be safely allowed to escape to atmosphere in a desert location. If any one of the elements in this envelope fails. After a while. an overbalanced completion fluid will initially stop the wellbore fluids from reaching the production casing. There is no one correct method of handling wellbore fluids since the circumstances of each job will be different. The following questions must all be considered. there are various secondary elements to prevent the escape of wellbore fluids from the well. • • • • • • • How much fluid will be produced? Will it be gas or oil? Is there any H2S present? Is venting from the equipment safe without additional precautions? Can the fluids be flared or is there too much water? What facilities already exist for handling the fluids? What extra equipment is required? . For example. These fluids must be disposed of in a safe manner.

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the method of killing the well is to circulate (forward or reverse) a kill weight fluid around the wellbore whilst maintaining a constant BHP at all times sufficient to give a slight overbalance against the formation pressure. This requires the tubing pressure above the plug to be reduced then monitored. In this case.www. Obviously well pressure below the plug must be available before an inflow test can be performed. or pulling a dummy from a SPM) in a completion or by using a string of pipe that has been run to a suitable (deep) depth using Coiled Tubing or Snubbing. quickest. most certain method is by circulation.com.9. scale deposition and other problems that can permanently block the perforations or greatly reduce productivity. Any subsequent increase in the tubing pressure above the plug will indicate that the plug is leaking. This requires that there is some means of establishing communication as close to the producing zone as possible.9PRODUCTION WELL KILL PROCEDURES The choice of well kill procedure will depend on a number of factors including tubing and casing integrity.1FORWARD CIRCULATION In a forward circulation. 3. oil or gas? Seawater Completion fluid Drilling mud (oil or water based). The principles for working out the kill sheet are the same whether it is forward or reverse circulation. Various factors must be taken into account when calculating a kill sheet (or graph). • Is the tubing used the same ID/OD for the whole length? • • • • • • Weight of fluid currently in tubing and annulus and weight of kill fluid? Current shut in WHP and annulus pressure? Contents of wellbore. This might be by opening a SSD just above the packer (or punching a hole in the tubing. care must be taken to ensure that the work is done very . through a circulating device (or out the end of a work string/coiled tubing) and up the annulus. kill fluid is pumped down the tubing.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. 3. Typical kill fluids might include: It is very important that the kill fluid is compatible with the formation and the formation fluids. When it is required to kill a well during or because of an intervention operation. formation pressure and the method of well completion. This is achieved by opening or closing a surface choke. If well pressure is not available the plug should be tested from above. and by following a pre-calculated kill sheet which gives the required tubing surface pressure at all times during the kill.1BARRIER TESTING AND INFLOW TESTING Barriers must be tested from the direction of flow to prove pressure integrity.ERTIKA. the easiest. ability to circulate the annulus fluid.8. Incompatible fluids can cause swelling of clays and chalks. If forward circulating to wash out fill or debris in the bottom of the well (rat hole).

. there is a strong chance of the solids settling out around toolstrings or BHA’s causing them to become stuck. The fluid in the wellbore will probably mix with fluid in the annulus making choke operation more difficult. a large quantity of solids in the annulus can add a very significant weight to the fluid in use that can cause lost circulation.www. by careful calculation. When the sleeve is closed and the completion sealed off. After running a completion. This is followed down with the completion brine which. stopping the fluids in the well from U-tubing. Forward circulation has several disadvantages over reverse circulation • • • • • It involves higher circulation pressures Disposal of formation fluids through the side outlet valves is difficult. corrosion inhibitors and biocide. This is usually brine or seawater with oxygen scavenger. the annulus pressure can be bled off to check there is no communication.ERTIKA. • If the well is not plugged and circulation is taking place through a SSD or SPM. In this case. It is more difficult to pump the oil/gas ahead of the kill fluid. a light fluid (often diesel) is usually pumped down the annulus to provide a lighter column of fluid in the wellbore for under balanced perforating or for bringing the well in. The empty pipe will have to be filled when running in the hole in order to stop it from collapsing. This assumes that the well has been killed and the packer has been pulled. This assumes that the well has been killed and the packer has been pulled. is left in place filling the annulus. it is usually preferred to reverse circulate the fluid into the completion. there is a risk of hydrocarbons entering the annulus where it is required to have only specially prepared completion brine. If there is a large quantity of solids in the annulus and the pump has to be shut down or fails.ly Drilling Courses in Libya slowly because:• Along with the existing BHCP.com. The SSD or SPM is then closed.

so that the pumping pressure follows the predicted graph. Under normal circumstances. the tubing pressure will rise and the well is killed with the kill fluid coming out of the bottom of the pipe and up the completion. These graphs are rather simplistic and assume various things. The control of the operation is undertaken by adjusting the choke. a forward circulation kill would probably only be undertaken with a Coiled Tubing or Snubbing string in the hole The following graphs represent the typical pressure at the top of the Coiled Tubing or Snubbing string (tubing pressure) and at the top of the pipe/completion annulus (annulus pressure). which must be in the flow path from the completion or tree. • • • • The work string is already full of the kill weight fluid. • The sizes of the work string and completion do not vary from top to bottom.com. The well contains oil and gas. The well is not approaching horizontal.www.ERTIKA. There is no gas invasion of the kill fluid as it comes up the annulus.ly Drilling Courses in Libya As the pumps are run up to speed. .

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ERTIKA. it must be remembered that the completion annulus already has a full column of fluid.9. Greater lifting capacities and transport velocities can be achieved when flowing from a large annulus to a small pipe. workstring annulus or pipe annulus and taking returns up the tubing. This procedure is even more effective if a plug can be set to isolate completion fluids and kill fluids from the formation. This can be minimised by adding viscosifiers to the kill fluid to inhibit the entrapment of gas. the surface pressure can be slowly reduced in proportion to the amount of fluid rise in the tubing. In a reverse circulation kill. The only pumping required is during equalisation across the circulation device before it is opened and when the kill fluid is in near balance with the other fluids in the tubing.com. workstring or pipe. . with a work string. There is less chance of lost circulation and less chance of sticking The reverse circulation is probably the simplest and safest kill method. This fluid may or may not be at a higher density than the kill fluid. This means that the solids are lifted from the well quicker or in some cases require lower pump rates to achieve the same lifting capacity. When calculating the kill graph for a reverse circulation method. the well is circulated holding a back pressure on the formation so that a constant bottom hole pressure can be maintained to eliminate any further flow of reservoir fluid. As kill fluid enters the completion. It uses the natural ’U´ tube effect of the different gravities of fluids in the tubing and annulus to flow the well fluids up through the tubing and out through the Xmas tree choke. It has the great advantage of filling the tubing and annulus with kill fluid in one operation and all wells can be killed using this method. As the kill fluid is pumped to the tubing. The operator at the tubing head operates a choke to reduce tubing pressure in accordance with the kill graph which is based on tubing capacity and pump rate. This is normally the preferred method of killing a well when communication can be established at a suitable depth between the tubing and annulus. it is common practice to maintain a tubing pressure that is some 200 psi higher than formation pressure.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3.www. This is a good method of lifting solids from the well when washing out fill or debris etc. there is a probability that gas will be encouraged to enter the kill fluid as it is pumped up the completion.2REVERSE CIRCULATION This is achieved by circulating down the completion annulus. The internal capacity of the pipe and faster flow rates can be achieved for as given pump output. To prevent any further inflow of formation fluids.

kill weight. The graphs have been drawn with the zero psi lines above the axis to allow them to be seen. This might happen in an old well where the original.ly Drilling Courses in Libya The following graphs represent typical annulus and completion surface pressures during a reverse circulation kill. completion fluid is now too heavy for the depleted reservoir.www.com. The following graphs also assume that the annular volume is greater than the tubing volume and that the new kill fluid is lighter than the existing completion fluid. no gas invasion deviation is not approaching the horizontal. They assume: • • • constant completion geometry. Some companies like to combine the two reverse circulation graphs into one .ERTIKA.

the graphs will look very different. In many parts of the world. reverse circulation kills will be performed when the new kill fluid is heavier than the existing completion fluid.ly Drilling Courses in Libya kill graph.ERTIKA.com. In this case. .www.

ly Drilling Courses in Libya In the following typical reverse circulation kill graphs the kill fluid is heavier than completion fluid. In both graphs.www. The graphs represent typical annulus and tubing surface pressures during this kill and have been drawn with the zero lines above the axis to allow them to be seen.ERTIKA. it is assumed that the annulus volume is greater than the tubing volume. particularly a reverse circulation vary greatly depending on the weights of the completion fluid. no gas invasion and the deviation is not approaching horizontal.com. . there is constant completion geometry. The pressures involved in any well kill. kill fluid and wellbore fluids and whether there is any gas in the well at the start of the kill.

this method is very slow.ly Drilling Courses in Libya These graphs are sometimes drawn together.ERTIKA. as shown below. The lubricate and bleed method can also be used if bullheading is not possible however. The most suitable methods of well killing in this case is bullheading.www. In the majority of cases during (or because of) an intervention operation. it will not be possible to circulate to kill. as a single reverse circulation kill graph.com. .

Most producing wells have reduced formation pressures and a full column of kill fluid (seawater is the normal minimum) may give rise to excessive bottom hole pressures which may cause the fluids to be lost into the formation. The pump rate (and pressure) must not exceed formation fracture pressure. there is no gas migration and the wellbore fluids can be easily pumped back into the formation. A typical graph of the pumping pressure is illustrated.www. Fracturing the formation can cause severe losses that are very difficult to stop even with coarse LCM (lost circulation material). solids such as sized salt particles or Calcium Carbonate etc. .3BULLHEADING Bullheading (or squeeze killing) involves pumping kill weight fluid down the tubing and forcing the wellbore fluids back into the formation through the perforations. Pressure ratings of surface equipment must also be considered. etc. This method is only possible if the well conditions are such that pumping back into the formation is possible. including scale. pushing everything in front of it.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. In this case. The main disadvantage of bullheading is that everything that is in the wellbore. This can result in very high surface pressures for low pump rates. again assuming that the completion geometry does not alter.9. Ideally a wall of fluid should be forced down the tubing. It is also used when the tubing has been landed in a packer and it is not possible to establish a circulation path around the tubing shoe (other than perforating) The pumping rate during bullheading must be high enough to stop any gas migrating back up through the kill fluid and to keep the fluid from free falling down the tubing and mixing with the wellbore fluids. Surface and downhole pressures will be the highest with bullheading. Small tubing strings may also cause pressure problems because of high friction losses in the tubing. may be required to temporarily block off the perforations to enable them to support the full column of kill fluid. In low permeability wells it might be difficult to pump fluids into the formation. debris.com. is likely to be forced back into the formation.ERTIKA. pressure will probably not be a problem although it may be difficult to maintain the clear interface between the kill fluids and the wellbore fluids. If the tubing is very large. sand. the well is not approaching horizontal. If the tubing or perforations are blocked then this method cannot be used. This can cause the kill to take much longer with much more fluid lost to the formation. There is even the risk of plugging the perforations before the kill is achieved.

when it is not possible to circulate or bullhead or where bullheading would cause surface pressure limits to be exceeded. scale and fill. the additional pressure caused by the increased hydrostatic. When the wellhead pressure is constant the next step is taken. .com.www.ERTIKA. there is a very good chance of pumping large quantities of kill fluid into the formation. • Bleed off gas from the tubing at a high rate immediately after pumping the batch of kill fluid. an alternative well kill method is to use the lubricate and bleed method. • Observing the well for 30-60 mins. It is sometimes used as an initial method of reducing surface pressure so that bullheading can be done without exceeding surface pressure limits. or gas filled tubing. It involves least risk of pumping fluids into the formation and does not run the risk of filling the perforations with wellbore debris.9. may cause losses. The tubing head pressure should drop an amount equal to the hydrostatic head of the mud pumped. Pump around 10 barrels of kill fluid and ensure that the wellhead pressure does not exceed 200 psi above the observed tubing head pressure. The tubing head pressure will drop due to the hydrostatic head of the initial kill mud pumped. it may well be chosen instead of bullheading for that reason. In that case.ly Drilling Courses in Libya For a gas well. 3. If the gas pressure is not bled off quickly enough.4LUBRICATE AND BLEED Lubricate and bleed (sometimes called a lubricated kill) is performed by: • Calculating the capacity of the tubing and pumping half that volume of kill fluid into the well.

it might take 40 bbls to fill the tubing. The lubricate and bleed method can take a long time to perform.com.ly Drilling Courses in Libya The gas migrates to surface through a non-viscous fluid in a straight well at up to perhaps 2000 ft/hr. This is to avoid bleeding off the kill fluid that has already been pumped. The graph shows typical pumping pressure during a kill operation. some time must be allowed for the fluid to fall through the gas before bleeding off.www. well. With 27/8” tubing in the well and 9 ppg kill fluid (brine). When the well is dead. Assuming that it is stationary and overbalanced. it will contain a full column of fluid. In a 6500 ft. this fluid is the primary barrier. .ERTIKA. a typical pressure reduction might be in the order of 80-85 psi/barrel pumped.

10WORKOVER FLUIDS Fluids used in completing or well services operations have many applications e. clean outs and fluid loss prevention. Generally. During perforating.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. if possible.g. milling fluids. drilling mud’s. brines (including seawater). many types of fluids are used e. well killing.com.damaging.ERTIKA. One important function of all the completion fluids and packer fluid is to provide an overbalance at packer depth to control the well in case of a leak. They may also have long term functions as packer or completion fluids.www. To provide the properties required for these services. cementing. re-completing. acidising. However. drilling. the most economic fluid which meets all of the criteria should be used. Completion or packer fluids are usually solids free to prevent drop out and sticking but they are dosed with biocide. diesel and dead oil. fracturing. it should be solids free and non.g. and. They differ from drilling fluids since they are designed with a combination of the following properties in mind: • • • • • • • • minimize formation damage maintain circulation capability well control capability stable temperature and time tolerance to fluid additive minimal formation damage capability minimal corrosion effects to casing and completion components cost effective maximize removal of particulate matter Completion fluids are usually designed with the following parameters: By careful selection of completion fluids it may be possible to avoid formation damage. This criterion would tend towards the use of clear brines since they are cheap. milling. corrosion inhibitor/scale inhibitor for long term protection of the formation and tubulars exposed to formation fluids.(unless the well is plugged) A completion fluid is any fluid used in the well during downhole operations after the well has been drilled and cased. easily transported and easily filtered in normal weight ranges. . salt saturated brines. the points which make brines desirable are their worst features in that they have no bridging capability and they are easily lost into the formation. readily obtainable.

Brines are naturally weighted and are solids free up to a given saturation. they have several disadvantages. foam emulsions and chalk emulsions fall into this classification of completion fluids.com. solids free brines minimize formation damage and are available over a wide density range. The oil containing fluids are used to protect water sensitive formation clays against chemical damage. Further control can be achieved by adding acid soluble sized particles. the introduction of Formate based completion fluids.ERTIKA. Although it is good practice to use clear brines. These brines also discourage clay swelling and invasion by foreign particles. • • • • Crystallisation out of some solid salts High cost of additives High cost to remove solids Handling hazards .11SOLIDS BEARING FLUIDS Modified water based drilling mud containing additives to improve completion results may be readily available on location. Most polymers are cellulose based. but their use should be avoided during completion operations unless the well is to be perforated under balanced.www. Cesium etc. invert emulsion fluids. Brine density is a function of temperature and the density of brines decrease with an increase in temperature. Fluid loss can be controlled by increasing the viscosity using polymers or by adding controlled particle sizes (acid soluble) to seal off at the formation.12SPECIALITY COMPLETION FLUIDS Oil based mud. More recently. allow solids free well pressure control with fluid weights in excess of 18 ppg.1SOLIDS FREE COMPLETION FLUIDS Clear.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3. • No fluid loss control. 3. Increasing brine viscosity by adding polymers has proven to be an acceptable method of controlling fluid loss. This involves spotting a pill of thickened completion fluid across the perforations.12. 3.

Brines must be the correct weight so that the well is controlled without significant overpressure but heavy enough to prevent flow. For any particular gas at a given pressure there is a temperature below which hydrates will form. Hydrates are complex crystalline gas/water structures in a frozen water matrix filled with gas. hydrates cannot form. but can rapidly block flow lines and process equipment.3-9. If there is no free water. There are two types of glycol. They must also be compatible with the formation and formation fluids so that permeability is not reduced by clay swelling etc. Hydrates normally form when a gas stream is cooled below its hydrate temperature. commonly methane. At high pressure. Wt/ppg 8. Hydrate formation is promoted by turbulence.14HYDRATES Hydrates can be expected to be a problem during intervention operations whenever gas and free water are present. As the pressure increases.www.7 8.3-10 8. In simple terms.com. Under normal circumstances brines will not form hydrates in oilfield situations and injecting hot brine has been used to solve hydrate problems.ly Drilling Courses in Libya 3.2 13.3-11.2 14.13.8-15. Steps can be taken to minimise the risk of hydrates by always using a mix of Glycol and water for pressure testing if hydrates are suspected. The two major conditions affecting hydrate formation are the gas being at the appropriate temperature and pressure.2 14.ERTIKA. these solids may form at temperatures well above 320F. hydrates can form spontaneously and do not always require a temperature drop. .5-21. they could be classified as frozen gas. which may be used with a mix ratio of perhaps 50/50 or 40/60 water/ glycol.5-19.13COMPOSITION OF BRINES The following list shows the various types of brines and weight ranges: Classification Potassium Chloride Sodium Chloride Calcium Chloride Calcium Chloride/Calcium Bromide Calcium Chloride/Calcium Bromide/Zinc Bromide Calcium Bromide/Zinc Bromide Zinc Bromide 3.1BRINE SELECTION Selection of brine is not simply picking the brine that best fits the weight requirement or budget price.0 3. and the gas being at or below its water dew point with free water present.8 11. Under certain conditions. the hydrate formation temperature also increases. Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) and Tri-Ethylene Glycol (TEG). The hydrocarbons are surrounded in an ice-like solid which does not flow. Incompatible fluids may cause scale and other potential problems. pulsation and high velocities.4-19. Hydrates will form when free water and light end natural gasses come into contact at certain pressure and temperature conditions.

Glycol may be injected whilst running in or pulling out as a means of hydrate prevention. Warning. • • Decrease in pressure.ly Drilling Courses in Libya Although hydrates do not require a pressure drop for them to form. it should be mixed with 10% water so that it can be pumped. It is hazardous to bleed down pressure above a hydrate plug in the tubing Hydrates are wet snow like components formed by methane. thus damaging other components of the rig-up. Hydrates resemble snow. Once hydrates have formed. This will only happen if there is water in the atmosphere. The subsequent condensation of water vapour can lead to the onset of hydrate formation. hydrates would be formed at temperatures below 200C if free water was present Hydrates can plug pipelines. H2S or CO2. both sides of the hydrate plug must have the pressure reduced. a pressure drop results in a temperature reduction across a choke. They can sometimes show themselves by the formation of ice on the outside of the affected equipment. there are three ways of removing them:• Increase in temperature. Care must be taken with braided line as the Methanol can cause the grease seal to fail. If only one side of a hydrate plug is bled down. C or less. valves and other equipment . and propane. For a decrease in pressure to be effective. Graphs are available which give hydrate formation characteristics for various gasses at differing temperatures and pressures. can occur at temperatures significantly above the freezing point of water.www. ethane. or pressure reducing valve or a small leak from a stuffing box or joint and it is common for hydrates to form in these areas. although at temperatures of 0 deg.ERTIKA.com. For example. Dissolving. Injecting Methanol at the location of the plug is particularly effective at removing hydrate plugs. Methanol injected in the tree can dissolve the valve lubrication and can also be detrimental to some BOP’s in the surface stack. at a pressure of 1000 psia. are lighter than water. this will not only be ineffective at removing the plug but could also cause the plug to move at high speed.

Often used in wells to prevent hydrate formation where hydrates would form without inhibition. When heating up. Tests have shown that a water hydrocarbon mixture was exposed to a given pressure. The pressure was lowered gradually and hydrate formation was shown by a considerable pressure drop.ly Drilling Courses in Libya Methanol injected into the gas stream lowers the hydrate formation temperature of the free water formed.www. the hydrate disappeared at a temperature much higher than the temperature at which they were formed. A most effective inhibitor because part of it is carried in the gas phase.com. Glycol injected into the gas stream lowers the hydrate formation temperature of the free water formed. . Glycol is easy to recover for re-cycling Gas can be kept above hydrate formation temperature by heating.ERTIKA. Used mainly where continuous inhibition is required.

www.com.ly Drilling Courses in Libya .ERTIKA.