No two blowouts are the same and they all require unique fluid solutions to control them.  Dwight Matson, former Safety Boss firefighter working on this blowout, spoke to us about how this particular wellhead was cleared and capped.
Safety Boss: What caused this blowout?

Dwight: These images show a loss of well control in both the annulus (gut line) and the drill string. The wreckage of the drilling rig had to be cleared and the drill table/kelly bushing had to be cut off the top of the BOP stack as the drill string had landed in the slips during the loss of well control.


Safety Boss: What was your response time?

Dwight: All members of our blowout team were always packed and ready to go when the call came for an emergency situation.  The initial team was at the shop, geared up and on the road in less than one hour. An initial assessment was made upon arrival and job-specific equipment and personnel were then dispatched to the well site.

Safety Boss: How long did it take to clear the debris?

Dwight: The entire process of removing everything to expose the wellhead took about six days. Because of the amount of debris surrounding the wellhead we had to move everything in stages.  Each stage is planned and discussed prior to being executed for maximum safety.  Mr. Miller was leading this team and the safety of the team is very important to him. He is a great leader.

In these next pictures, you can see us cutting away the structure.  Much of it was fused by the heat of the fire. We are using thermal lances to cut away the drilling rig substructure which was severely deformed by the intense heat.

After removing most of the debris, the plume from the drill string was impinging directly onto the “A legs” causing a weld to fail and the A leg to eventually collapse. The saltwater flow from the “gut line”(annulus) contained golf ball size chunks of formation rock and debris. This causes some challenges for the crew while removing the catwalk, drill pipe, and pipe racks. Those chunks of rock hurt when they hit you!
Safety Boss: Once everything was clear, how long did it take to cap the wellhead?

Dwight: After removing all of the debris and exposing the wellhead it was discovered that the pipe casing was bent below ground level and we were then required to dig down to expose the undamaged pipe.  It took us an additional 2 – 3 days to cap this well.


Thank you, Dwight, for telling us a bit about your time on this job!

You can view the whole gallery here.