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.
HSE Inspection Guides
Wells Personal Competency Management System Inspection Guide
This guide sets out HSE's approach to the inspection of the management of competency of wells personnel engaged in oil or gas well operations either offshore on the UK Continental Shelf or onshore in Great Britain.
This guide is for use by HSE inspectors who are undertaking a basic inspection of arrangements for Well Control during drilling, testing, completion and other well intervention or maintenance/repair (work over) operations. It provides questions to ask key personnel involved with such operations. These questions are designed to sample key components that provide for effective well control.
Well Examination Scheme Inspection Guide
This guide sets out HSE's approach to the inspection of well operators' well examination arrangements for wells offshore on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf and onshore Great Britain.
Well Integrity (Operate Phase)
This guide sets out HSE's approach to the inspection of well operators' well integrity arrangements for the operate phase of a well lifecycle for wells onshore and offshore in Great Britain.
Information and guidance
- Understanding onshore oil and gas wells notifications
This guidance briefs wells inspectors and administrative support staff of the line to take on queries about onshore well notifications and clarify common misunderstandings concerning notifications on the part of industry.
- Understanding offshore oil and gas wells notifications
This guidance briefs wells inspectors and administrative support staff of the line to take on queries about offshore well notifications and clarify common misunderstandings concerning notifications on the part of industry.
- 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.