Risk analysis of deepwater drilling operations using Bayesian network

Jyoti Bhandari, Rouzbeh Abbassi, Vikram Garaniya, Faisal Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Deepwater drilling is one of the high-risk operations in the oil and gas sector due to large uncertainties and extreme operating conditions. In the last few decades Managed Pressure Drilling Operations (MPD) and Underbalanced Drilling (UBD) have become increasingly used as alternatives to conventional drilling operations such as Overbalanced Drilling (OVD) technology. These newer techniques provide several advantages however the blowout risk during these operations is still not fully understood. Blowout is regarded as one of the most catastrophic events in offshore drilling operations; therefore implementation and maintenance of safety measures is essential to maintain risk below the acceptance criteria. This study is aimed at applying the Bayesian Network (BN) to conduct a dynamic safety analysis of deepwater MPD and UBD operations. It investigates different risk factors associated with MPD and UBD technologies, which could lead to a blowout accident. Blowout accident scenarios are investigated and the BNs are developed for MPD and UBD technologies in order to predict the probability of blowout occurrence. The main objective of this paper is to understand MPD and UBD technologies, to identify hazardous events during MPD and UBD operations, to perform failure analysis (modelling) of blowout events and to evaluate plus compare risk. Importance factor analysis in drilling operations is performed to assess contribution of each root cause to the potential accident; the results show that UBD has a higher occurrence probability of kick and blowout compared to MPD technology. The Rotating Control Devices (RCD) failure in MPD technology and increase in flow-through annulus in UBD technology are the most critical situations for kick and blowout.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • managed pressure drilling
  • dynamic risk analysis
  • Bayesian network
  • kick
  • blowout


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