snubbing | Energy Glossary

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1. n. []

The act of putting drillpipe into the wellbore when the blowout preventers (BOPs) are closed and pressure is contained in the well. Snubbing is necessary when a kick is taken, since well kill operations should always be conducted with the drillstring on bottom, and not somewhere up the wellbore. If only the annular BOP has been closed, the drillpipe may be slowly and carefully lowered into the wellbore, and the BOP itself will open slightly to permit the larger diameter tool joints to pass through. If the well has been closed with the use of ram BOPs, the tool joints will not pass by the closed ram element. Hence, while keeping the well closed with either another ram BOP or the annular BOP, the ram must be opened manually, then the pipe lowered until the tool joint is just below the ram, and then closing the ram again. This procedure is repeated whenever a tool joint must pass by a ram BOP. In snubbing operations, the pressure in the wellbore acting on the cross-sectional area of the tubular can exert sufficient force to overcome the weight of the drillstring, so the string must be pushed (or "snubbed") back into the wellbore. In ordinary stripping operations, the pipe falls into the wellbore under its own weight, and no additional downward force or pushing is required.

See: annular BOPblowout preventerkickkillram blowout preventerstrippingtool joint

2. n. []

The act of forcing a pipe or tubular into a well against wellbore pressure. Well-intervention techniques in live wells, such as coiled tubing and snubbing, use equipment designed to apply the necessary forces while supporting the tubing and safely containing wellbore pressure and fluids.

See: snub