Well Control For The Drilling Team by Rig Train
By Rig Train
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In a shallow well, gas can travel to the surface very rapidly, giving little warning. While drilling shallow hole, the short surface casing string is set in a relatively weak formation. It is normally necessary to divert the flow rather than shut the well in, risking fracture at the casing shoe and the possibility of gas coming up around the outside of the well. As the ‘bottom-hole’ times involved are short, the drill crew should be alert for signs of a kick. The flow sensor may be the only item of equipment able to give an early enough warning of a shallow gas kick in progress which allows the diverter to be put into use.
Plots of shale bulk density versus depth are made and the normal trend of increasing density versus depth established. Changes from the normal trend can then be related to changes in formation fluid content, and hence formation fluid pressure. DTL 2001 – Rev 1 9 KICK INDICATORS Shale sections which are drilled underbalance tend to produce larger than normal cuttings, larger volumes than normal, and shapes that are more angular, sharp and splintery in appearance. These effects are due in part to the fact that fluid trapped within pores of the shale at high pressure expands when exposed to the lower mud hydrostatic pressure.
This means that the pump does not have to provide so much energy and this may be seen as a pump pressure reduction. Depending on the rig installation, a small increase in pump rate may also be noted. The effect is small, and may not be noticeable. The same effects are seen if a washout occurs, so it is necessary to confirm which is taking place, by doing a flow check. The presence of a continuous recording monitor of pump pressure and pump stroke rate on the drill floor means that quite small changes can be seen readily by the Driller.