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Does Automatic Kick Detection Exist?

Now I don’t need to explain to you the critical importance of kick detection (KD) in maintaining control of the wellbore. But is there an automatic solution that eliminates human error and provides deterministic results?

You could argue that Automatic detection exists in the sense that the mudloggers have alarms in their software. However, these alarms still require more interpretation because there can be other factors than gain/loss causing them.

In this article, we'll explore the fascinating realm of automatic kick detection, seeking answers to whether it truly exists and if so, how it can help your operations.

Free E-book | 9 criteria to consider before choosing tech for kick & loss  detection.

Understanding Kick Detection

Before we delve into the world of automatic kick detection, let's first establish what kick detection is and how it's traditionally performed. Kick detection involves monitoring the wellbore for any unexpected influx of formation fluids, such as gas, oil, or water.

Conventional methods rely on a combination of pit levels, paddle wheels in the flow line, and coriolis flow meters to gauge the flow in and out of the wellbore.

The standard procedure includes patiently waiting for a cessation of all flow, followed by a meticulous static flow check, which can take precious minutes.

This approach demands a vigilant eye, and even then, may not provide deterministic results. Human judgment and reaction time play a significant role, potentially allowing the kick to escalate before action is taken.

Read more: 8 consequences of late kick detection

The Promise of Automatic Kick Detection

Automatic kick detection promises to revolutionize this process by eliminating human uncertainty factors and removing human interpretation, and delivering deterministic results.

The EC Monitor employs coriolis mass flow meters to measure the flow in and out of the wellbore while drilling is in progress. What sets it apart is its volumetric measurements during non-circulating events providing continuous dynamic flow checks which eliminates the need for prolonged waiting periods. It offers real-time insights into flow rates, ensuring that any anomalies are detected immediately.

Furthermore, the EC Monitor goes beyond traditional kick detection methods by tracking the movement of the telescopic joint and compensating for rig movements, including heave, pitch, and roll. This level of automation reduces cognitive load on drillers, ensuring they don't need to interpret data or make judgment calls.

When the EC Monitor sounds an alarm, there is no room for doubt—it's a clear signal of either a gain or loss, a deterministic response.

How EC-Monitor Works

To understand what you can gain from the EC Monitor, let's delve into how it works:

Elimination of External Effects

The system negates the impact of rig and slip-joint motion, providing highly accurate return volume flow measurements. This feature is crucial for rapid detection of flow anomalies, reducing time spent on flow-checking.

Inline Trip-Tank Design

Positioned above the telescopic joint, the EC-Monitor functions as an inline trip-tank monitoring directly on the well and absorbing volume fluctuations caused by the telescopic joint motion.

Sensor Utilization and Compensation

Simple sensors measure return flow fluctuations due to the telescopic joint, with the EC-Monitor system compensating for these variations.

Centrifugal Pump Integration

A centrifugal pump transfers mud from the inline trip-tank to the flowline, maintaining full lines and eliminating the uncertainty caused by changing fluid volumes in the flowline.

Advanced Algorithms for Data Processing

The system employs sophisticated algorithms to filter out sensor noise and process disturbances.

Flow Spool Placement and Function

Located directly in the riser string above the telescopic joint, the flow spool absorbs volume changes associated with heave, accounted for in the EC-Monitor software.

Continuous Volume Monitoring

This setup allows for uninterrupted and accurate comparison of volume in versus volume out, facilitating dynamic and continuous flow monitoring across all well stages.

Read more: Improving volume control and influx detection for less experienced crews

Additional Operational Advantages you can gain with EC-monitor:

  1. Faster connections without no-flow waiting.
  2. Streamlined flow checks, saving time.
  3. Rapid diverter function testing for enhanced safety.
  4. No need to lower fluid levels when pulling out of the hole.
  5. Precision in detecting minor flow rate changes.
  6. Identification of the U-tube effect for better well insights.
  7. Added safety and precision through volumetric measurement in the well.
  8. Assistance in verifying barite and chemical calculations.
  9. Versatility with compatibility for MPD systems.
  10. Enhanced RCD sealing element monitoring.

Get your copy of the free webinar: EC-Monitor - Enhanced kick and loss detection

Conclusion: A Giant Leap Towards Automated Kick Detection

So, does automatic kick detection exist?

The answer is yes, it is just not that deterministic yet. What does not exist yet is automatic well control, which will have to start with accurate gain/loss detection. This is where the EC Monitor represents a giant leap toward realizing this goal. With its real-time, deterministic kick detection capabilities and continuous monitoring, it offers a level of safety, efficiency, and reliability that traditional methods simply can't match.

You can eliminate uncertainty factors, remove human interpretation, reduce downtime, and enhance the overall safety of your drilling operations. So, while fully automatic kick detection may not be a reality yet, EC Monitor stands not only as a testament to how far we've come, but also offers tried and tested technology that can help your operations today whilst perhaps offering a promising glimpse into the future of drilling technology.

Want to learn more? Get your copy of the e-book 9 Criteria to Consider Before Selecting Technology for Kick/Loss Detection - A Comparison Guide Between Conventional Technology & EC-Monitor» below 👇

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