kick | Energy Glossary

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1. n. [Drilling]

A flow of formation fluids into the wellbore during drilling operations. The kick is physically caused by the pressure in the wellbore being less than that of the formation fluids, thus causing flow. This condition of lower wellbore pressure than the formation is caused in two ways. First, if the mud weight is too low, then the hydrostatic pressure exerted on the formation by the fluid column may be insufficient to hold the formation fluid in the formation. This can happen if the mud density is suddenly lightened or is not to specification to begin with, or if a drilled formation has a higher pressure than anticipated. This type of kick might be called an underbalanced kick. The second way a kick can occur is if dynamic and transient fluid pressure effects, usually due to motion of the drillstring or casing, effectively lower the pressure in the wellbore below that of the formation. This second kick type could be called an induced kick.

See: choke linedifferential pressurehydrostatic pressurekillmud densitymud weightpressure huntram blowout preventersnubbingswabwildcat

Flow chart for kick control.

2. vb. [Drilling]

To flow formation fluids into the wellbore in an unplanned fashion, as in "the well kicked during the trip."