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2nd Edition, May 2006

Complete Document

Recommended Practice for Well Control Operations

Includes all amendments and changes through Reaffirmation Notice , December 2018

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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2nd Edition, May 2006
  • Published Date: December 2018
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: American Petroleum Institute (API)
  • Page Count: 104
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


The purpose of these recommended practices is to provide information that can serve as a voluntary industry guide for safe well control operations. This publication is designed to serve as a direct field aid in well control and as a technical source for teaching well control principles. This publication establishes recommended operations to retain pressure control of the well under pre-kick conditions and recommended practices to be utilized during a kick. It serves as a companion to API RP 53, Recommended Practice for Blowout Preven- tion Equipment Systems for Drilling Wells and API RP 64 Recommended Practice for Diverter Systems Equipment and Operations (reader should check for the latest edition). RP 53 establishes recommended practices for the installation and testing of equipment for the anticipated well conditions and service and RP 64 establishes recommended practices for installation, testing, and operation of diverters systems and discusses the special circumstances of uncontrolled flow from shallow gas formations.


The recommended practices are separated into two main systems:

Blowout preventers (BOPs) at the surface within reach and sight of the driller or well service unit operator, and

BOPs installed on the seafloor with relatively long choke and kill lines. In this publication, sections have been prepared to establish practices and procedures pertaining to both surface BOP installations and subsea BOP installations. The delineation between surface BOP installations and subsea BOP installations is mainly on an exception basis, and the recommendations made for surface installations apply to subsea installations unless exceptions are stated. The recommended practices can apply to drilling, well service unit, and coiled tubing unit operations. The fundamentals of well flow and well control are the same.


This publication was developed to enhance well control by proper planning and execution and thus avoid a kick. The publication also deals with the eventuality that a well kick may occur and presents details for handling such a kick using basic control methods. Details of these basic control methods are presented for both surface and subsea BOP stack installations. Suggested considerations and modifications to the basic control methods, which may be dictated by special problems or well conditions, are also covered. Recommended well control worksheets for surface and subsea BOP installations are included in Appendix B. Instructions are included for completing and use of the well control worksheets. Recommended practices set forth in this publication are considered adequate to meet specified well conditions. It is recognized that there are alternate procedures that can be utilized in well control that may be equally as effective in meeting the well requirements and promoting safety and efficiency.


Details of well control technology and reasons for the recommended procedures are included in Section 4, “Principles of Well Control.” Section 4 was prepared so it can be used as a technical base for instructing personnel in well control operations. Appendix A contains several special pressure and pressure gradient calculations and examples to further emphasize the techniques and calculations that can aid a well control supervisor in understanding well control operations.


The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) has published guidelines for planning and drilling deepwater wells, IADC Deepwater Well Control Guidelines, 1998 Edition. The reader is referred to that document for more complete coverage of deepwater well control.