Subsea Well Control Events

Ensure Proper Handling of a Shallow Water Source Control Event

shallow water source control

When it comes to discussions around subsea source control events, there are so many variables that it precludes one scenario being cut and pasted onto another.

Case in point is the current industry dialog circulating about exploration campaigns in “shallow water.” The assumption or perception is that capping a subsea source control event in shallow water is going to be challenging.

This is true. Shallow water presents many challenging conditions and scenarios that preclude applying some common solutions to the problem or at a minimum require a different thought process on approach and control.

However, it’s not just the water depth that should drive the conversation, it’s the environment. A more apt term to use would be “shallow environment” wells.

One initial challenge is the depth of a water column vs. the outflow from a source control event/blowout as it relates to vertical or proximity access to the source.

The oil and gas industry categorizes/defines water depth as it relates to marine exploration into distinct brackets. Shallow water, deep water, and ultra-deep water, wherein 0-999 ft is shallow, 1,000 to 4,999 ft is deep water, and 5,000+ is ultra-deep water.

When you start to place a definition on a source control event as it relates to the industry definition of water depth, the discussion becomes complex. With a subsea source release/blowout, the physical depth of the event relative to the water surface is only one component of the discussion. The mechanisms for addressing the event will be markedly different depending on multiple factors, such as source type, well flow rate, weather, ocean current, tide, etc.

Therefore, a source control event being deemed as “in shallow water” can’t simply be addressed or categorized from a response perspective. Moreover, the impacts to a response can be significant in an area that industry considers not to be shallow water due to the aforementioned factors.

Luckily, today there is expertise available to aid with the planning, understanding, training, and execution of plans should the need arise. As with all things in our business, knowledge and information are key. And the more transparency we allow ourselves to have, the better we can make the response plans, training and drill activities, and, ultimately, the state of preparedness necessary to address any and all eventualities.

Wild Well provides many tools at your disposal to accurately and effectively model all aspects of a subsea source control event.

From worst-case discharge calculations, exclusion-zone assessments plume analysis, deployment methods, etc., engineering models are vital to your whole well planning process for any operation, especially in a shallow environment exploration campaign.

From a deployment perspective, it is crucial to perform modeling analysis at the front end to ensure a clear understanding of the local environment and the mobilization to the location of the correct assets to effectively and safely deploy the response equipment.

Wild Well and WellCONTAINED have the necessary experience and expertise to effectively support your drilling teams in all aspects of the planning and execution process to ensure you have the best possible plan and training to address any event that may occur during the execution of your shallow environment wells.

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