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Competency & compliance the roots of well control incidents

Posted on 04 December 2008

Mr. Gorman also presented an overview of PDO’s extensive operations. Spanning almost the entire length of the Sultanate, located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, these operations comprise more than 120 fields encompassing more than 3,700 production wells. PDO’s well engineering activities require a fleet of forty-one drilling rigs provided by ten drilling contractors.

A history of PDO’s well control incidents, though few in number, illustrates some interesting trends. Mr. Gorman pointed out that all the high-potential incidents could be traced to two factors… competency and compliance.

Risks associated with drilling activities are generally well-defined. They are seen to fall into three categories; geological uncertainty, reservoir section and high staff turnover. These risks can be mitigated by a number of barriers including equipment inspection and certification, identification of safety-critical positions and training.

Risks associated with well intervention are somewhat different, however. These risks require a different set of mitigating measures involving specific well control procedures, enhanced training and strengthened supervision, all aimed at embedding professional standards.

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