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Aker BP

Enhancing Safety in Drilling Operations

The Synergy of SWIM Measurements, Simulations and Engineering

This case study highlights the collaboration between AkerBP, a leading oil and gas company, and 4Subsea, a provider of advanced digital monitoring solutions and analytics, to address and overcome a critical washout incident during the drilling of a satellite production well. Engineering expertise was instrumental in interpreting the data collected, conducting detailed simulations, and formulating precise mitigating actions. This proactive response included the suspension of drilling operations to allow for the comprehensive assessment and implementation of solutions such as gravel dumping and the installation of Wellhead Load Relief system (WLRs). The combined efforts of engineering innovation and digital monitoring exemplified in this case study not only ensured the safe continuation and completion of drilling operations but also highlighted the strategic value of real-time monitoring and predictive analytics in managing complex drilling challenges.

Client Overview

AkerBP stands as a forefront player in the exploration and development of oil and gas resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Known for its commitment to innovation, safety, and environmental stewardship, AkerBP seeks to leverage cutting-edge technology and strategic partnerships to optimize its operations and production efficiency.


Three days into the drilling of a satellite production well, AkerBP encountered an unexpected washout incident that posed significant risks. The Blowout Preventer (BOP) exhibited alarming movements, and the erosion of soil support in the upper soil layers led to the exposure of critical points on the conductor to intense loads. This resulted in a rapid accumulation of fatigue, threatening the well’s structural integrity and safety.


An elite team from 4Subsea was dedicated to collaborating closely with AkerBP to evaluate the situation and devise effective mitigation strategies. By integrating SWIM™ measurements with detailed local analyses, expert engineers at 4Subsea were able to emulate the well’s in-situ conditions accurately. This approach provided critical insights into the well’s structural integrity and assessed the effectiveness of potential remedial strategies. Utilizing this detailed simulation, we created a ‘window of operations’— a precise framework that guides the execution of drilling activities under current conditions, ensuring both safety and efficiency. These included measures such as gravel dumping and the installation of Wellhead Load Reliefs (WLRs) to stabilize the affected area. The continuous monitoring and simulation efforts facilitated the development of precise operating guidelines and fatigue predictions, crucial for the safe continuation of drilling operations.


The primary goals were to assess the on the well caused by the drilling operations and subsequent washout, verify the effectiveness of initiated actions to mitigate the washout around the conductor, and provide AkerBP with operating guidelines and fatigue predictions to ensure the safe resumption of drilling activities.

Technical Solution

A detailed approach was taken, combining SWIM™ measurements with dynamic simulations to establish operating envelopes that ensured the alleviation of load on critical well components. This strategy utilized key integrity parameters, such as soil support and well stiffness, obtained through the SWIM™ service. Operational recommendations were developed, covering scenarios both with and without the implementation of WLRs.


Thanks to the strategic collaboration between 4Subsea and AkerBP engineers, as well as the innovative use of SWIM™ measurements and simulations, AkerBP successfully navigated the challenges presented by the washout incident. The company was able to safely complete the drilling operations and commence production through the well, demonstrating resilience and the capacity to maintain operational integrity under adverse conditions.