Oil and gas wells connect offshore installations to the reservoirs below them. Blowout of hydrocarbons from wells is a major accident hazard for an installation or land borehole site, with the potential to result in major fire and explosion. For HSE's well engineering and operations teams, the main focus is for dutyholders to ensure the safe design and construction of oil and gas wells as well as the safe performance of drilling and well servicing operations.
Current issues include:
- monitoring and maintaining of well lifecycle integrity.
- arrangements for examination of well design and construction by independent and competent third parties.
- arrangements for verification of well control safety critical equipment by independent and competent third parties.
- arrangements for ensuring competence for safe working, in particular for complex well operations such as 'managed-pressure drilling'; or in high pressure high temperature wells.
Information and guidance
- Wells group strategy
- Failures of manually operated side-door elevators (Safety Notice OSD 4-2010)
There have been several serious dropped object incidents in offshore Northern Europe, including a near fatality, involving the use of manually operated side-door elevators to lift large diameter well casing. This notice draws the attention of duty holders to the issue, the recommended actions, and the relevant UK regulations.
- Gas release hazards from gas-lifted oil wells (SPC/Tech/OSD/46)
This SPC advises Inspectors of the hazards of hydrocarbon gas releases from gas-lifted oil wells and to identifies approaches to their control and mitigation.
- Well construction standards (SPC/TECH/GEN/42)
This SPC informs inspectors of the standards expected for the design and construction of offshore and onshore oil and gas wells.
- Understanding oil and gas wells notifications(SPC/Tech/OSD/45)
This SPC briefs wells inspectors and administrative support staff of the line to take on queries about well notifications and about common misunderstandings about notifications on the part of industry.
- Well examination schemes - commonly observed weaknesses (SPC/TECH/OSD/43)
To brief wells inspectors and other inspectors involved in inspection of offshore installations and oil and gas borehole sites of common weaknesses found when inspecting well operators’ well examination schemes.'
- Well engineering and operations group organogram
How HSE organises its well engineering and operations group
- Tubular handling on the drill-floor
Guidance on the assessment of risks from tubular handling on the drill-floor of drilling rigs.
- Guidance on regulations and testing applicable to drawworks equipment (Offshore Information Sheet 14/2007)
Guidance on the application of UK regulations to drawworks assemblies that incorporate either disc or band brakes as part of a drilling equipment package. Also covers details relating to the nomination and basic role of the competent person together with some advice on thorough examinations and testing of drawworks. Also featured in this sheet are some aspects of the knowledge and understanding with which all operators of drawworks equipment should be thoroughly familiar. The training section includes the response of personnel to emergency situations that might occur such as that associated with an uncontrolled load descent condition.
- Interlocks for drill floor machinery
(Safety Notice 2/2006) There have been several serious incidents related to deficient interlocking on drilling machinery and pipe-handling equipment. This notice outlines the actions that should be taken to prevent such incidents.