Skip to content

How Can I Improve Volume Control Whilst Taking into Account Rig Motion?

Are you struggling with maintaining accurate volume control in offshore drilling operations?

Or wondering how you can control environmental factors like waves, wind, and tides from impacting your volume measurements?

In this article, we delve into the challenges posed by rig motion on volume control in offshore drilling.

At the end of the article, we will have looked at methods to improve accuracy and mitigate risks, along with an analysis of their advantages and disadvantages.

Free E-book | 11 factors affecting kick and loss detection accuracy

Enhanced Drilling

What is Volume Control and Rig Motion?


Volume Control involves monitoring and understanding the fluid volume within the wellbore to maintain stability and prevent incidents like kicks (unexpected influx of formation fluids) or losses. Accurate volume control is essential for preserving well integrity and optimize drilling performance.


Rig Motion encompasses the movements of the drilling rig caused by external forces like waves, wind, and tides. These movements include heave (up and down motion), roll (side-to-side motion), and pitch (forward and backward tilt). Rig motion complicates volume measurements, leading to inaccuracies and potential operational hazards.

Check out: How to reduce workload for drilling personnel


Methods for Improving Volume Control While Accounting for Rig Motion


1. Paddles in the Flow Line


Paddles in the flow line are mechanical devices that measure the flow rate of drilling fluid returning from the wellbore. These paddles move with the fluid flow, providing real-time data on the volume of fluid, which helps identify anomalies indicating a kick or fluid loss. While this method is simple and cost-effective, it is less accurate in harsh environments and is susceptible to disturbances caused by rig motion.


2. Volume Sensors in Pits


Volume sensors monitor the level of drilling fluid in the active pits. These sensors continuously measure the fluid level, signaling significant changes that could indicate a gain or loss of drilling fluid. While they provide continuous monitoring and detect significant volume changes, they may not account for minor fluctuations and can be affected by rig motion.


3. Coriolis Flow Meters


Coriolis flow meters measure the mass flow rate of the fluid, providing precise measurements of fluid volumes and densities. These meters are especially effective during circulating conditions, offering high accuracy and comprehensive data. However, they require continuous and steady flow to be effective.


4. Inline Trip-Tank Design


An inline trip-tank is used to monitor fluid volume directly in the well.. Factoring in the movement of the telescopic joint, it absorbs volume fluctuations caused by rig motion, ensuring consistent and accurate measurements. This method is highly effective but requires additional equipment and space, making it a more complex setup.


5. Automated Systems like EC-Monitor™


EC-Monitor™ from Enhanced Drilling is an advanced monitoring system that integrates various technologies like Coriolis flow meters and an inline trip-tank design., This system compensates for rig movements such as heave, roll, and pitch, providing continuous, accurate, and reliable volume control even in harsh environments. It automates alerts and responses, reducing human error and ensuring prompt actions. While it requires a higher initial investment, its comprehensive monitoring capabilities offer significant long-term benefits.

See also: Improving volume control and influx detect for less experienced crews




Accurate volume control is vital for safe and efficient drilling operations, and accounting for rig motion is a significant challenge. As we have seen in this article, you have various methods are available to you, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to consider these options and determine what the best solution is for your volumetric control and operational efficiency.

New call-to-action