Home / News / Competency & compliance the roots of well control incidents

All well-control incidents come down to one of two factors – competency and compliance, remarked Eamon Gorman, Well Engineering Director for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), in his keynote address on the second day of the IADC Well Control Middle East 2008 conference & exhibition, held 2-3 December in Muscat, Oman.

Risks associated with drilling activities are generally well-defined, he said. 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, Mr Gorman observed. 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.

Competency & compliance the roots of well control incidents

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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