Managed Pressure Drilling


As current reserves deplete, it is necessary to drill to reservoirs that are deeper and more complex. Some industry professionals would say that 70% of the current hydrocarbon offshore resources are economically undrillable using conventional drilling methods.

Managed pressure drilling (MPD) is a drilling technique that provides precise pressure control of the wellbore by using a closed and pressurized circulating system. MPD is a technology that uses tools similar to those of underbalanced drilling (UBD) to allow for better pressure control variations by providing a dynamic security system while drilling a well. As with any technology, MPD introduces new techniques that require understanding, then becoming confident enough in the technology to use it on a regular basis. Our MPD systems come equipped with industry-leading drilling chokes.

The goal of MPD is to improve the drillability of a well by alleviating pressure control issues that can arise. MPD can improve economics for any well being drilled by reducing a rig’s nonproductive time (NPT).

MPD is an adaptive drilling process to precisely control the annular pressure profile throughout the well. The main concept is to create a pressure profile in the well to stay within close tolerances and close to the boundary of the operation envelope defined by the pore pressure, hole stability envelope, and fracture pressure. During MPD, wellbore pressure is controlled dynamically by regulating the backpressure with a drilling choke, whereas in conventional drilling, the wellbore pressure is managed by the weight of the drilling fluids. At Shield Pressure Control, we offer managed pressure drilling services to areas throughout Texas, the USA, and internationally. Contact us today for more information about our pressure control services.


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.