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e-CFR data is current as of August 6, 2020

Title 30Chapter IISubchapter BPart 250Subpart D → §250.456


Title 30: Mineral Resources
PART 250—OIL AND GAS AND SULPHUR OPERATIONS IN THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF
Subpart D—Oil and Gas Drilling Operations


§250.456   What safe practices must the drilling fluid program follow?

Your drilling fluid program must include the following safe practices:

(a) Before starting out of the hole with drill pipe, you must properly condition the drilling fluid. You must circulate a volume of drilling fluid equal to the annular volume with the drill pipe just off-bottom. You may omit this practice if documentation in the driller's report shows:

(1) No indication of formation fluid influx before starting to pull the drill pipe from the hole;

(2) The weight of returning drilling fluid is within 0.2 pounds per gallon (1.5 pounds per cubic foot) of the drilling fluid entering the hole; and

(3) Other drilling fluid properties are within the limits established by the program approved in the APD.

(b) Record each time you circulate drilling fluid in the hole in the driller's report;

(c) When coming out of the hole with drill pipe, you must fill the annulus with drilling fluid before the hydrostatic pressure decreases by 75 psi, or every five stands of drill pipe, whichever gives a lower decrease in hydrostatic pressure. You must calculate the number of stands of drill pipe and drill collars that you may pull before you must fill the hole. You must also calculate the equivalent drilling fluid volume needed to fill the hole. Both sets of numbers must be posted near the driller's station. You must use a mechanical, volumetric, or electronic device to measure the drilling fluid required to fill the hole;

(d) You must run and pull drill pipe and downhole tools at controlled rates so you do not swab or surge the well;

(e) When there is an indication of swabbing or influx of formation fluids, you must take appropriate measures to control the well. You must circulate and condition the well, on or near-bottom, unless well or drilling-fluid conditions prevent running the drill pipe back to the bottom;

(f) You must calculate and post near the driller's console the maximum pressures that you may safely contain under a shut-in BOP for each casing string. The pressures posted must consider the surface pressure at which the formation at the shoe would break down, the rated working pressure of the BOP stack, and 70 percent of casing burst (or casing test as approved by the District Manager). As a minimum, you must post the following two pressures:

(1) The surface pressure at which the shoe would break down. This calculation must consider the current drilling fluid weight in the hole; and

(2) The lesser of the BOP's rated working pressure or 70 percent of casing-burst pressure (or casing test otherwise approved by the District Manager);

(g) You must install an operable drilling fluid-gas separator and degasser before you begin drilling operations. You must maintain this equipment throughout the drilling of the well;

(h) Before pulling drill-stem test tools from the hole, you must circulate or reverse-circulate the test fluids in the hole. If circulating out test fluids is not feasible, you may bullhead test fluids out of the drill-stem test string and tools with an appropriate kill weight fluid;

(i) When circulating, you must test the drilling fluid at least once each tour, or more frequently if conditions warrant. Your tests must conform to industry-accepted practices and include density, viscosity, and gel strength; hydrogenion concentration; filtration; and any other tests the District Manager requires for monitoring and maintaining drilling fluid quality, prevention of downhole equipment problems and for kick detection. You must record the results of these tests in the drilling fluid report; and

(j) In areas where permafrost and/or hydrate zones are present or may be present, you must control drilling fluid temperatures to drill safely through those zones.

[76 FR 64462, Oct. 18, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 50894, Aug. 22, 2012; 81 FR 26020, Apr. 29, 2016]

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