Friday, August 7, 2009

Drilling Operations: Fishing & Well Control

Article submitted by: Heartland Energy Colorado

For our purposes special drilling operations include directional drilling, fishing, and well control. Directional drilling is intentially drilling the hole off-vertical for various reasons. Fishing is the operation crew members implement to retrieve an object in the wellbore that doesn't belong there and impedes drilling. Well control is the techniques crew members use to regain control of the well should formation fluids inadvertantely enter the well.

Fishing
A fish is a piece of equipment, a tool, or a part of the drill string that the crew of Heartland Energy Colorado loses in a hole. Drilling personnel call small pieces, suh as a bit cone or a wrench "junk." Whenever junk or a fish exists in a hole, the crew has to remove it or fish it out otherwise they cannot continue to drill. Over the years, fishing crews have developed many ingenious tools and techniques to retrieve fish. For example, the crew can run an overshot into the hole to he fish. Crew members of Heartland Energy Colorado, make up the overshot on drill pipe and lower the overshot over the fish. Grapples in the overshot latch onto the fish firmly. Then the crew pulls the overshot and attached fish out of the hole.

Another fishing tool is a spear. Unlike an overshot, which the crew places over the fish, a spear then grips insde the fish and allows the crew to retrieve it. Other fishing tools include powerful magnets and baskets. The crew uses them to fish for junk. Since no two fishing jobs are alike, manufacturer and fishing experts have developed many other fishing tools to meet the unique needs of fishing crews.

Well Control
As mentioned earlier, one vital job drilling fluid should do is keep formation fluids from entering the wellbore. If enough formation fluids enter the wellbore, drilling personnel of Heartland Energy Colorado say that the well "kicks." A kick, if not recognized and properly handled, an lead to a blowout. A blowout can be a catastrophic event. In many cases, fluids in the blowout ignite and reduce the rig to a melted pile of junk.

Blowouts not only waste oil and gast but also threaten the lives of the crews working on the rig. Obviously drilling crews take a great deal of care not to allow blowouts, and in fact not too many occur at Heartland Energy Colorado. Because a blowout is a spectacular show and human lives are sometimes lost, a blowout often becomes a media event. Unfortunately, the impression may linger that blowouts are not the rarity they actually are. In fact, thousands of wells are drilled every year and very few of them blow out.

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