Well control

Our well safety focus is primarily in the area of prevention, in order to reduce the likelihood of major incidents. As part of this, we aim to eliminate any unplanned release of oil and gas from a well.

Our key work areas include:

Well control incidents

The purpose of the Well Control Incidents Subcommittee is to collect, assess and share global well control incidents and learnings of continuously improving quality from IOGP members and alternate sources, in order to prevent reoccurrence of such events.

Competency and Training

The purpose of the Competency and Training Subcommittee is to minimize the impact of global well control events due to operations-related human error. This involves providing individuals and operations teams in our industry the leadership and guidance to assure development and verification of technical and non-technical competency, including human behaviours.

Well Control Systems

The Well Control Systems subcommittee assists industry in the prevention of high consequence well control events, recognizing that such events pose the highest societal risk on a drilling or work over rig. It develops and implements strategies to address key global well control issues by leveraging its global standing and uniting operators, contractors, industry associations, regulatory bodies, and other key stakeholders accordingly.

  • RAPID S-53 BOP Reliability JIP – Administered by IADC, Co-Sponsored by IOGP
  • Shearing Database JIP – Administered by Stress Engineering

Subsea Well Response & Source Control subcommittee

The purpose of the Subsea Well Response & Source Control Subcommittee is to support the industry in planning and use of subsea well response and source control equipment and associated activities and services, centred around risk based and balanced approaches.

Well Standards

The WEC Standards Liaison monitors the development of critical well control and well integrity standards that supports the WEC purpose and overall mission of prevention.

Macondo: 10 years on. This video shows how IOGP members, working together, helped to rebuild trust in the industry, and continues to do so.

Key work areas

Global Industry Response Group (GIRG)

International recommendations for a global industry

Oil Spill Response


Well control incident lesson sharing

Learning resources

Related content

Related content

RSS Recent Well control publications

The WEC 2020 work plan provides a brief overview of the Committee’s key activities, recent highlights, and work streams for this year.

Global Industry Response Group (GIRG)

Global Industry Response Group (GIRG)

Where were you when the Macondo blowout and oil spill occurred?

It was a day everyone in the oil and gas industry will long remember.

On 20th April 2010, a blowout on the Deepwater Horizon, drilling at the Macondo prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, killed 11 crew and caused a major oil spill.

Given our unique role as the global voice of the upstream oil and gas industry, members looked to IOGP to take an important role in the aftermath of the incident.  The result was the creation of the Global Industry Response Group (GIRG) in July 2010.

GIRG’s remit was to identify, learn from and apply the lessons of Macondo and similar well incidents such as Montara off the coast of Australia.

GIRG drew on the experience and talents of more than 100 technical experts and senior managers – many of them full-time – drawn from some 20 companies.  The project lasted some nine months. The value of that freely-donated expertise came to tens of millions of dollars.

GIRG divided its work into three core areas:

  • Prevention: to improve drilling safety and reduce likelihood of a well incident
  • Intervention: to decrease the time it takes to stop the flow from an uncontrolled well
  • Response: to deliver effective oil spill response preparedness and capability

International recommendations for a global industry

International recommendations for a global industry

In May 2011, OGP published a comprehensive set of GIRG recommendations and proposed that three entities be created to manage and implement them.

  • The Wells Expert Committee (WEC): to analyse well incident report data and share lessons learned, advocate harmonized risk-based standards, communicate good practice, provide a permanent improvement well control teams’ competence and behaviours and promote continued improvement in BOP reliability and efficiency.
    You can learn more about the committee at Wells Expert Committee
  • The Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP): a consortium of operators to investigate, design and deliver improved  capping response with a range of equipment for shutting in wells, to design additional hardware for the subsea injection of dispersant and to further assess the need for and feasibility of global containment solutions.You can visit Subsea Well Response Project to learn more
  • The Oil Spill Response Joint Industry Project: to manage the recommendations on oil spill response – develop new recommended practices, improve understanding of oil spill response tools and methodologies and to enhance coordination between key stakeholders internationally.Visit www.oilspillresponse.com for more information.

Oil Spill Response

Oil Spill Response

The April 2010 Gulf of Mexico (Macondo) oil spill incident, and the Montara incident in Australia which preceded it, have had far-reaching consequences in prompting the re-examination by industry not only of operational aspects of offshore operations, but also of an operator’s ability to respond in the event of an oil spill incident or well blowout.

In response we formed the Global Industry Response Group (GIRG), tasked with identifying learning opportunities both on causation and in respect of the response to the incident.

Nineteen recommendations were identified and these are being addressed via a three-year Joint Industry Project (JIP) funded by sixteen oil industry members. The Oil Spill Response JIP (OSR-JIP) has initiated discrete projects or provides support to projects initiated by other trade associations in the nineteen subject areas resulting from the OGP GIRG-OSR project. The OSR-JIP is managed by IPIECA on behalf of OGP in recognition of its long-standing experience with Oil Spill Response matters.

Visit the Oil Spill Response website to find information on the project.

Learning resources

Learning resources

Identifying and responding to weak operational signals

The Weak Signals video is intended to be used during a rig-based safety meeting for personnel involved in managing Wells Process Safety. It is intended to be used to facilitate discussions, relevant to both the individuals, the team and the rig.
The video has 6 different scenes and includes voices of key individuals involved with controlling process safety. After each scene there are some questions which can be discussed by the audience, so the instructor can stop the video after each scene to facilitate discussion. A facilitators guide is available to download.
It is suggested that drilling contractors, service providers and operator personnel use this resource. Group size is expected to be around 10-12 people, but you may want to break into smaller groups for the discussion.
The video lasts 17 minutes without discussion. The total time of the exercise including the video and discussion is appromimately 1 hour.

This video has been produced by the Wells Competency Training Subcommittee, IOGP.

Well control lesson sharing #16-1

Well control event when using an MPD system

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) Well Control Incident lesson sharing system was established as a means of notifying fellow IOGP members and the wider community of the lessons learned from well control incidents and near misses. The sharing of these lessons will help to promote learning and avoid the repetition of similar errors. The result will move the industry to a higher level of well control safety.

An IOGP member company offered this well control incident to share their experience and to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

The well control incident takes place during when drilling a high pressure exploration gas-condensate bearing reservoir section using automated Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) and Rig Pump Divertor (RPD) equipment. MPD systems enable continuous monitoring of annulus conditions and can provide early kick detection. The video tackles whether you shut in a well different when using MPD equipment and how your crew considers well control when preparing to use a new or unfamiliar technology like MPD.

The video lasts 4 minutes without discussion.

This video has been produced by the Well Control Incidents Subcommittee, IOGP.

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