The first well on the UK Continental Shelf was spudded 44 years ago and the area has long been considered a mature province. Despite this, kicks are still a frequent occurrence.
Kicks occur across the entire UKCS area from the Atlantic margins, west of the Shetland Islands to the mature gas fields of the southern North Sea, where the first significant discovery was made in December 1965. Kicks occur in high pressure high temperature condensate exploration wells and in production wells in depleted, sub-normally pressured oil reservoirs. They occur during drilling operations and during work-over operations.
Analysis of data on well incidents held by HSE, the UK regulator, has identified where, geographically, kicks occur most frequently. Analysis also identifies the type of operation being carried out at the time and some of the more significant factors behind the influxes.
The purpose of this paper is to share the regulator's observations with industry. While well operators and drilling contractors hold in-depth information on individual incidents, it is the regulator that is often best placed to observe the wider picture.