The complexity of drilling a relief well requires a robust workflow, which defines all actions to be undertaken at each phase. This workflow is used for decision making at every organization level from the field level to management.

To ensure successful execution, all risks must be identified, and detailed preventive and mitigation actions put in place. These actions reduce risk to an acceptable and reasonably practical level at all times.

The relief well drilling process needs to be consistent and must contain these key elements:

  • A multidisciplinary team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities at each operations step for optimal communication.

  • A thorough understanding of relief well techniques, methodologies, and processes, including various solutions. These solutions must be confirmed with simulation, communication techniques, well control and fluid dynamic killing modelling, relative positioning with various measurements and their uncertainties, and drilling in presence of magnetic interference.

  • All team members and third parties should use drilling simulations during the planning phase to identify any gaps, and ensure redundancies are in place. Scenario planning will ease the go/no-go decision making during execution.

  • Incorporating existing workflows into the entire relief well process, such as anticollision risk management and hazard and risk control, to reduce the risk of having multiple sidetracks or having to drill an additional relief well.

This paper will present the relief well workflow process and provide insight into the seven phases of the workflow, including planning, approach target, locate target, follow target, intercept target, killing operations, and plug and abandon operations.

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