Energy Excursions

Course Content
Course Home Expand All

Primary Well Control

“Take an energy excursion down the path of primary well control, the first line of defense to prevent the loss of fluid containment in the subsurface.” 


Both mud density and casing offset the pressures that could result in the influx of fluids (a kick) into the wellbore. Understanding pressure and pressure relationships in the well are critical to maintaining well control. This lesson will familiarize students with the purpose and importance of primary well control, the definition of hydrostatic pressure and why engineers work to ensure the fluid pressure in the wellbore falls within the window between formation pore fluid pressure and the formation fracture pressure. Students will also gain an understanding on how to calculate hydrostatic pressure, formation pore fluid pressure, and formation fracture pressure and why it is critical that these calculations are accurate and integrated with pressure test results.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the definition and principles behind primary well control 
  • Gain an understanding of hydrostatic pressure 
    • What is hydrostatic pressure? 
    • Why is it important? 
    • What units are used for hydrostatic pressure?
    • How to make conversions when dealing with Oilfield Units
  • Understand how to decide what is a safe wellbore pressure while drilling 
    • What are the drawbacks of drilling overbalanced? 
    • What is lost circulation and why can it lead to a dangerous drilling situation?
Oklahoma Academic Standards
TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics
Next Generation Science Standards