OCSNCOE Unit Emblem (silhouettes of a self-elevating MODU, an OSV and an offshore wind turbine over a silhouette of the United States with the U.S. Coast Guard mark (i.e., racing stripe) in the background).Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise (OCSNCOE)

JACK ST. MALO during offshore construction with attending OSV and Floatel VICTORY. C-ENFORCER underway with water cannons flowing. SEVAN LOUISIANA underway when initially entering the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Platform GINA off the California coast. Block Island windfarm with attending CTV. SPARTAN 151 dockside in Seward, AK.



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The Drill Down, Issue #8: Lessons Learned - DP Team Decision Making

Graphic of a drill stringNOTE: This document was previous published on 18 March 2016 by the OCS NCOE as a “Lessons Learned” document.  It is being republished as an issue of the Drill Down for archiving purposes.

Team Decision Making

A drillship had just began cementing a section of casing on a well.  The crew decided to place itself in a DP “blue” advisory condition during the operation.  This was due to the high risk involved if a loss of position were to occur.  This near miss incident is a clear example that a well-crafted plan and good communication can prevent catastrophic events from occurring.


The drillship had finished setting casing earlier in the day and prepared to pump cement in the hole.  The cementing operation was to start in the afternoon and lead into the night.

The Well Specific Operating Guide (WSOG) on board required the vessel crew to put themselves in a “blue” advisory condition because of the risk associated with the operation.  A meeting was held on the bridge with the captain, drilling superintendent, subsea supervisor and the company man to ensure all parties were aware of the setting of “blue” in accordance with the WSOG.

Later in the evening, the weather began to deteriorate and wind started to build to 40-kt. sustained winds with 50-kt. gusts.  The wind continued to build up to 55-kt. sustained and 65-kt. gusts a few minutes later.  The decision was then made to have another meeting on the bridge, and vessel leadership decided to place the vessel in a DP “yellow” status and bring all generators online. 

The cementing operations were halted in order to prepare for a possible disconnect.  The sustained wind speed continued to build with gusts approaching 100-kt.  The vessel stayed in a “yellow” status until the wind subsided several hours later.

Table containing Well Specific Operating Guidelines (WSOG) conditions and actions

Lessons Learned

  • The WSOG was crafted in a way that identified the risk involved with certain critical operations in addition to environmental factors.
  • The WSOG was used as a planning tool to make informed decisions.
  • The crew maintained an astute awareness of the weather conditions on location.
  • The crew maintained effective communications to make informed decisions.
  • The crew was empowered to make a decision to shut down operations without any repercussions.