Bulletin 2015-16

Bulletin 2015-16: Drilling Blowout Prevention Requirements and Procedures

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Drilling Blowout Prevention Requirements and Procedures

May 19, 2015

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has identified the need to update specific requirements related to testing of drilling equipment. Consequently, we have revised the addendum to Directive 036: Drilling Blowout Prevention Requirements and Procedures. This addendum sets out an alternative method for pressure testing blowout prevention equipment for class II, III, and IV wells. It also incorporates requirements related to underbalanced drilling that were introduced in the previous addendum and that remain unchanged.

Directive 036 details the minimum equipment and procedure requirements that a licensee must follow when drilling wells. Section 7 of Directive 036 outlines the requirements to maintain well control by ensuring that blowout prevention equipment is tested and functioning properly. The changes to section 7 are summarized below:

  • Licensees will no longer be required to apply for a pressure testing waiver if they follow the alternative pressure testing requirements.
  • The alternative pressure testing method can be used for class II, III, and IV wells when an intermediate casing string will be set in the well.
  • The alternative pressure testing requirements do not apply to class V and VI wells, critical sour wells, and sour gas wells with an approved site-specific emergency response plan.

This revision will provide regulatory flexibility while continuing to ensure public safety and environmental protection.

Licensees are reminded that failure to follow either the current pressure testing requirements in Directive 036 or the alternative pressure testing method in the addendumwill result in enforcement action. All other Directive 036 pressure testing requirements remain unchanged.

Directive 036 is available on the AER website www.aer.ca.

<original signed by>

Kirk Bailey
Executive Vice President
Operations Division