Paper presented at SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition 2017

Last week, eDrilling and IANADAV presented a paper titled “Real Time Engineering-based Simulation Training Addresses Risk in Managed Pressure Drilling” at the 2017 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition An abstract of SPE-184700-MS follows below.

Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) enables safer operations and reduces non-productive time and thus provides the opportunity to reduce well costs. Many operators however, are not fully embracing the opportunity offered by the technology, due to strict regulatory requirements, and their perception that MPD is complicated and increases risk. A basis for this perception is that operator engineers in their designs, and contractor drilling crews in day-to-day operations, are insufficiently MPD experienced to fully and safely exploit the benefits of the technology.

Today, the advanced, and field proven, engineering (mathematical) models that are part and parcel of the software used in well design are also available in state of the art simulators. These engineering models and model based simulators are used by engineers during the design phase of MPD projects to replicate the conditions that will be encountered during actual well construction; picking optimal casing setting depths, using different equipment set-ups, selecting optimal drilling parameters and demonstrating the integrity of the design under a wide scenario of well conditions.

Once the well design is finalized, and before drilling operations commence, the same well design is programmed into a real-time drilling simulator. During subsequent simulator exercises,, rig personnel are exposed to the range of scenarios that can unfold during actual operations, taking into account uncertainties and unexpected events. Crews, at the hard end of operations, are able to hone their competence to deal with the unexpected in a team environment under the supervision and guidance of experienced coaches.

During actual MPD operations, the same advanced models can be used for automatic simulation and well monitoring purposes; they can also be integrated into the MPD control system to accurately maintain the required well pressures.

This paper describes the models used and both the classroom simulator-based engineering training and the real-time rig floor simulator training that will respectively provide operator engineers and contractor well site staff the in-depth understanding of MPD that will enable them to develop their respective skills to safely and cost effectively exploit the many benefits offered by MPD.