ISSN 2063-5346
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Mr. Timmy Thomas, Dr. Shailendra J. Naik
» doi: 10.31838/ecb/2023.12.si6.268


In oil and gas drilling and exploration activities, there are instances when an oil/gas well may encounter uncontrolled flow of hydrocarbons to the surface, usually termed as a blowout. A blowout may result in loss of human life, valuable natural resources, financial losses, and it may even damage a country / company’s reputation. Moreover, it may lead to extended periods of environmental air pollution, noise pollution, ground water/surface water pollution and soil contamination. A relief well is usually drilled when all attempts of surface intervention to control the blowout well have either failed or is taking too long. In terms of relief well planning, significant regulatory reforms have taken place in oil industry worldwide, especially after the Deepwater Horizon incident in Gulf of Mexico. However, the regulations for land operations are yet to be enforced by various regulatory bodies. With growing demand for oil and cost optimization initiatives, many land drilling operations are now opting for pad drilling. The risks of a well control incident is much higher when it comes to pad drilling due to the proximity between nearby wells. Thus, handling of a blowout situation for a pad well can get extremely challenging compared to a single well location. Therefore, this paper will focus on importance of proactive approach towards relief well and blowout contingency planning and demonstrate design of a relief well for a hypothetical blowout, using blowout and kill software simulations. It will also bring together various industry standards and environmental regulations to provide concise guidelines for relief well design.

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