Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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drilling break

1. n. [Drilling]
A sudden increase in the rate of penetration during drilling. When this increase is significant (two or more times the normal speed, depending on local conditions), it may indicate a formation change, a change in the pore pressure of the formation fluids, or both. It is commonly interpreted as an indication of the bit drilling sand (high-speed drilling) rather than shale (low-speed drilling). The fast-drilling formation may or may not contain high-pressure fluids. Therefore, the driller commonly stops drilling and performs a flow check to determine if the formation is flowing. If the well is flowing, or if the results are uncertain, the driller may close the blowout preventers or circulate bottoms-up. Depending on the bit being used and the formations being drilled, a formation, even if sand, may sometimes drill slower rather than faster. This slowing of drilling progress, while technically also a drilling break, is usually referred to as a "reverse drilling break", or simply "reverse break."