Managed Pressure Drilling


Managed pressure drilling (MPD) is an adaptive process in which the pressure in the wellbore is managed through various drilling operations. MPD is used to improve drilling performance, save costs while drilling wells, and mitigate and manage pressures, gasses, and other safety-critical operations. Due to these significant benefits, MPD in certain basins is the most common drilling practice and is gradually becoming more widely adopted.

Shield Pressure Control has a tiered solution-based approach with MPD. With the most comprehensive selection of solutions available for a management team with international experience of over 100 years. Having integrated into rigs and provided services on all major drilling contractors’ rigs, we can offer standardized quick rig ups that can accommodate multi-well pads. This allows us to advise on the optimal application-specific solution for each well.

MPD is being quickly adopted in the industry but there is a current gap in personnel competency and training. Shield Pressure Control has invested in an interactive training flow loop allowing its personnel to be fully trained on the equipment in real-life pressure and flow conditions. Today, we provide this as training to the industry. We also provide on-the-job training for operators, supervisors, and engineers providing the expertise for the well.

Shield Ultra-lite was developed as a cost-effective, non-intrusive solution for water flows. Applications with low pressure and flow rates can be drilled through and managed with this simplistic control system. The design is such that the drill crew can manage the equipment with minimal training. This patented design has a control orbit valve which is modified to allow for precise pressure control properties while maintaining a positive seal for holding pressure on connections. This is connected directly to any Shield Pressure Control RCD and through the flow line, allowing for a quick rig up and rig moves.

Power Chokes have been used for MPD applications for 30 + years and are designed for severe service applications. With a design that will allow large debris to pass, accurately control pressure at low and high flow rates, and maintain a seal, allowing pressure to be held on connections, this solution has been the most widely used, worldwide on the most challenging wells. The chokes are true 3″ trim and have a very low-pressure drop allowing them to operate at low pressures at 1,300gpm.

Our MPU RCD has dual outlets allowing the outlet to the flowline to remain as a conventional setup and the second outlet to divert to a single or dual choke setup on a Texas deck or on the ground. The chokes can be controlled by manual controls or by our patented Automated back pressure (ABP) system. The ABP system has been widely utilized internationally since 2012 and automates pressure control through various drilling operations.

We have rigged up thousands of wells, accumulating experience on the importance of backpressure created through the rig up, sizing of the chokes, creating line ups to ensure safe and efficient operations and rig ups, and allowing quick rig skids. Our MPD technicians offer their expertise to find the optimal solution for the application.

As a leader in the MPD market, Shield Pressure Control was the first to widely adopt a rig setup entirely around the RCD. We created the design and sized it to mitigate wear. The equipment is designed not to plug the rig up and allows for MPD to be used with minimal rig up / down between rig skids and moves. We set up isolation valves and many built-in safety features plus Power Chokes’ patented gantry system that allows for quick maintenance that competitors oftentimes can’t offer.

We advise on applications that provide cost-effective solutions, allowing the rig crew safely manage with assistance and training from the Shield Pressure Control team. We Offer oversight through remote monitoring from our engineering team that can optimize drilling performance and provide support as needed.

When needed, the rig can divert between conventional drilling, simplistic MPD at low pressure and flow, and fully automated MPD applications with one compact setup.

Shield Pressure Control has experience drilling the most challenging and exciting wells internationally, implementing various MPD techniques. We also have basin-specific expertise and equipment to specialize in your region. We offer a full MPD lineup including kick detection, well modeling, engineering support, HSE, SOPs, kick tolerance matrix, and remote control and monitoring of wells. Shield Pressure Controls modular equipment allows us to sit with engineering and operations teams before a well to tailor each job to meet the client’s needs and expectations. All equipment and solutions can be provided by experts or as a drop-off service. These can be planned and tested prior to a job at our training facility.

We are committed to safety. Our patented Power Chokes are the superior options if safety is a concern. We have years of specialized experience with well control systems. Our systems have built-in safety features such as pressure sensor failure or miscalibration detection, with redundant pressure sensors automatically taking over to ensure operations are not affected and integrated PRV, which will pop open on overpressure and then close to ensure wellbore is protected. The intelligent design of our equipment has led to our outstanding safety record and our operational record having such low NPT time caused by the rig. Don’t just take our word for it as our ISN Networld record speaks for itself.


MPD uses many tools to mitigate the risks and costs associated with drilling wells by managing the annular pressure profile. These pressure control techniques focus on backpressure, fluid density, fluid rheology, annular fluid level, circulating friction, and hole geometry in any combination. Call Shield Pressure Control to learn more about managed pressure drilling; we are equipped to serve your global fleet.

The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) has defined MPD further by creating two categories.

  • Reactive MPD includes drilling programs that are tooled up with at least a rotating control device (RCD), drilling choke, and drill string float to safely and efficiently deal with problems that could occur downhole.
  • Proactive MPD includes designing a casing, fluids, and open hole program that precisely manages the wellbore pressure control profile. This category of MPD can offer the greatest benefit to the drilling industry as it can deal with unforeseen problems before they occur.


Drilling an oil well involves dealing with many different risks, particularly from the unexpected release of formation fluid, which includes crude oil or natural gas. Proper pressure control requires that any formation gas or fluids be prevented from entering the wellbore during drilling or well interventions. If the column of drilling fluid does not exert enough pressure to overcome the pressure that the fluids in the formation are exerting, a site risks experiencing a blowout. Blowouts are explosive, uncontrolled expulsions of formation fluids from the well, potentially resulting in fire, serious equipment damage, and even loss of life. As we drill deeper and use more complex techniques, our strategies need to change to retain pressure control at all times. Pressure control techniques such as MPD allow rigs to continue operating in a changing environment.


Shield Pressure Control has over 50 years of combined experience in innovative pressure control systems. Our managed pressure drilling services are available in the Midland, TX; Odessa, TX; and Houston, TX areas as well as Denver, CO and beyond. We also offer rotating control devicescontrol valves, and more. If you have any questions or require more information about pressure control, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team today.