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NEWS & INSIGHTS | article

Safe Influx achieves a successful field trial of Automated Well Control technology

15 October 2019

Safe Influx, an independent supply company based in Aberdeen, has developed an innovative technology that will dramatically improve the safety, environmental and cost performance of drilling.

With funding support from the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), at 15:10 on Tuesday 8th October 2019, the “Drilling Module” was successfully implemented and proven in the field.  The system was interfaced with a traditional land rig and performed Automated Well Control: i.e. influx detection, spacing out, stopping of the mud pumps, stopping of the top drive and then shutting-in of the blow out preventer. This has never been achieved before.
Safe Influx performed a week’s worth of activities. These included:
• Interfacing the Safe Influx Automated Well Control system with the 40 year old land rig.
• Commissioning the system to ensure correct interfacing.
• Running the system to demonstrate functionality and training the Driller.
• Performing a series of system tests to demonstrate and prove up the functionality under different operational requirements.
• Performing system demonstrations for the benefit of Lloyd’s Register inspectors.  This will enable the existing Lloyds Register Technology Qualification Certificate to be extended to traditional land rigs. 
• Demonstrating the technology to the industry press.
• Demonstrating the technology to a cross section of over 30 industry VIPs, including operators, drilling contractors and well engineering companies.
Having proven this technology using real world equipment, Safe Influx is now engaging with operators and drilling contractors to perform extended field trials on modern cyber rigs and traditional rigs in operations in the North Sea.

Bryan Atchison, Co-founder and Managing Director at Safe Influx, said “Safe Influx is delighted to bring Automated Well Control to the industry. Our successful field trial demonstrated that automation can provide support to the driller, dramatically reducing our exposure to human factors.”
“The technology also provides a significant safety, time and cost advantage on day to day drilling operations, as influxes or kicks can be shut-in more quickly thus resulting in much smaller shut-in volumes and therefore much more manageable well control incidents. This technology is a tool for the driller, providing peace of mind for the drilling contractor, operator and regulator,” he added. 

Malcolm Banks, Well Construction Solution Centre Manager at the OGTC, commented: “A key strategic focus of the Wells Solution Centre technology roadmap is centred on how automation can bring increased efficiency and reduce HSE exposure during the well delivery processes. The Safe Influx Automated Well Control system has the potential for significant improvement on how high potential risk well control events are detected and responded to.
“Support from the Oil & Gas Technology Centre has accelerated development of the technology (in partnership with Safe Influx and Transocean) with the demonstration at the Weatherford test facility giving us the first opportunity to access the capability of the system. This has provided industry with clear evidence of the potential of the system and will hopefully inspire drilling contractors and operators to engage in further deployment on operational rigs, further demonstrating the capabilities and impact of the system.”

Safe Influx has a comprehensive list of development modules covering every aspect of well construction from top hole drilling to completions and well decommissioning. For further information, please go to

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