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Chain Gang

Pat Patton had a way of capping and killing wells back in the 1940's and 50's that would pretty much scare the shit out of a normal fella. Or me, anyway. He didn't cut casing and jack up new casing heads with flanges to bolt a capping stack to, no sir. Apparently he didn't have the time for that sort of stuff.

Above is a new photo I recently discovered that exemplifies Patton's commitment to chains, boomers, casing clamps, turnbuckles, wire rope. cable clamps, etc. to hold capping stacks on... that desperately wanted come off in a very violent way.

Go turn your 3/4 inch garden hose on wide open, then try scewing a spary nozzele on it. Be sure and take a towel and a change of clothes. Remember, at best the pressure of that water coming out the garden hose is 45 PSI. Imagine having to stab something over 8 5/8 inch OD casing with fluids ripping out of that at 5,000 PSI.

Mr. Patton lived north of Houston and had an enormous family of sons, brothers, nephews and cousins. He would often taken a dozen family memebers with him on blowouts all over the US.

Patton's MO on those wells with no production tubing in them, or drill pipe, was back his trusty, converted winch truck up to a well with his stinger assembly on the back, gin poles that could be raised and lowered, complete with counterbalance assembly on the front, with the stinger assemble wide open, back all that into the flow and down into the casing, to get the blowout going straight up the venturi tube on top. Left, Louisiana, 1951, the Patton family standing by.

With the well stung he and his family would go to chaining that stinger assembly down. When he was pretty sure he had the stinger, stung, and secure, so as to not get blown back off, he start bullheading down the casing to try and kill the well, pumping and bleeding.

It worked, often, but not always.

Above is 1954-1956 photograph of the Patton family standing on the end of their converted winch truck, stinger stung and chained down, the well killed.

That is Pat standing on the very end of the boom. His right arm is gone, pulled off his shoulder in 1951 in Vermillion Bay in Louisiana, when the same stinger assembly came unchained blowing off the well killing his brother and taking his right arm with it.


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