Well control has been an inexhaustible source of research/development/innovation for the past four decades due to its impact in oil and gas exploration and production. Such an importance is based on three pillars: i) human safety, ii) environmental protection, and iii) economic issues.
Macondo incident has proved that continuing development of the subject is an issue to be tackled by oil companies to preserve and also rebuild their image to society. One of the most important aspects of well control is the development of kick simulators capable of handling increasing complexity of well geometry (diameters and trajectory), drilling fluids (synthetic drilling fluid), well location (land and offshore) and wellbore conditions (increasing pressure and temperature severity with depth). Such simulators have the following missions: i) to help the drilling engineer to make decisions during well control procedures and kick situations, ii) to provide personnel training and certification and iii) to guarantee a better understanding and interpretation of field observations.
The main objectives of the present work are three-fold: i) to present an overview of the evolution of kick modeling and simulation over the years, ii) to focus on the R&D efforts of the joint work of academia and industry to build a well control model to handle deep and ultra-deepwater drilling challenges and iii) to present a software based on that model to assist drilling engineers during well control operations.
Experimental data has been based on PVT measurements of gas and synthetic drilling fluid mixtures under HPHT conditions. Phase behavior modeling has proved to be a very important issue to be taken into account in the two-phase flow model that represents the kick circulation process.
The current work presents the results of the interaction of experimental lab work and numerical modeling to develop a kick simulator to handle complex drilling scenarios to assist drilling personnel in well control operations.