Energy Excursions

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Tertiary Well Control

“When blowout preventers fail, engineers look to well relief. Take an energy excursion to gain an understanding of tertiary well control and what this final mitigation phase entails.” 


This lesson focuses on tertiary well control, the final step in well control procedures, and the methods used to effectively terminate a blowout. Students will learn about the definition of tertiary well control and what failures necessitate this final mitigation step. Students will also gain a thorough understanding of three chief methods/procedures used at this step, including relief wells, static kill, dynamic kill, topkill, and bottomkill. Similar to that of case studies used to further understand primary and secondary well control in earlier lessons, students will have the opportunity to learn about the Aliso Canyon Well and the drilling of a dynamic kill relief well to terminate a blowout on the California natural gas well in 2016. 

Learning Outcomes 

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the definition and principles of tertiary well control 
    1. What is tertiary well control? 
    2. What failures necessitate tertiary well control? 
  • Become familiar with the different methods under tertiary well control 
    1. Relief wells 
    2. Static vs Dynamic kills 
    3. Top vs Bottom kills 
    4. Learn about the Aliso Canyon Relief Well, a case study on an event where tertiary well control took place 
Oklahoma Academic Standards
TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics
Next Generation Science Standards