Crews Are Fighting Natural Gas Blowout On Well In Gulf

Crews Are Fighting Natural Gas Blowout On Well In Gulf

Most of rig's crew evacuated, rescue vessels standing by
by John Pendleton  |   Friday, January 31, 2014
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A jack-up rig in the Gulf Of Mexico (GOM) is spewing natural gas and formation water from a well that was producing oil and gas.

The well is located at Vermilion Block 356, about 108 miles southwest of Lafayette, Louisiana, and was drilling in 262 feet of water. The rig's operator, Energy Ventures LLC, a closely-held producer based in Metairie, Louisiana, hired Rowan Companies Plc to conduct drilling on the well.

Rowan’s rig was positioned atop a platform that is fed by six already-producing wells. When the crew lost control of drilling on a seventh well underneath the platform, production on the other six wells was halted. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported that “all production was shut-in and remains shut-in.” EnVen representatives have stated that there has been no fire, explosion or oil spill resulting from the incident and 42 non-essential workers have been evacuated as a safety precaution, while another 37 are still in place, working to control the well.

All engines on the platform and rig, which represent possible ignition sources, have turned off, the flow of gas, water and drilling fluids were diverted overboard and a steady stream of seawater is being pumped into and over the flow stream to prevent fire.

Outside well-control experts have been called to the site and the Coast Guard has an HU-25 Falcon aircraft to monitor the situation. Three auxiliary vessels are stationed nearby the platform in the event that further evacuations are needed.

Since the incident began on Thursday, the flow of gas has been reduced by 50%, although specifics as to the exact rate of discharge have not yet been determined. The platform's crew may be able to shut down the natural gas release before independent well-control experts arrive, but it is also possible that the well-head may collapse in on itself and be sealed by sediment, as was the case in a similar incident last month, on a well in the Gulf operated by Hercules Offshore Inc.

Natural gas release pose much less of an environmental hazard than those involving crude oil, although if the gas stream finds an ignition source, the results can be disastrous as was the case with a rig, operated by Hercules Offshore Inc., that blew out and later caught fire last July.

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Jimmy Kostin | Friday, January 31, 2014
I think the guys working on that facility seriously must be living right, as the saying goes. Similar past events have almost always yielded multiple serious injuries, including a fatalitie(s)
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