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Known for its natural gas production, hoodles of it, Qatar has a really nice oilfield in it in four separate reservoirs of the Upper Jurassic, including the Arab C & D zones, the same juicy stuff that produces across the pond in the KSA at Ghawar.

Dukhan Field was discovered on the Dukhan Anticline in 1938 by Anglo-Iranian Oil Co, (BP) and the Qatar Petroleum Company (QPC) jointly and the No. 1 well potentialed for 5,000 BOPD.

As development occurred the field kept getting bigger and bigger, longer and longer, 85 km long total.

Dukhan is 80 years old now and still makes about 300K BOPD under water flood. Qatar Petroleum took over its oil and gas production entirely in 1953.

The No. 1 discovery well, right, was turned in a monument, and painted gold, but still has 650 PSI of SITP and would likely still flow oil.

The field actually ends up being rather complex, geologically, and has several dry and wet gas caps overlying thick intervals of undersaturated oil column that is hard to get out of the ground. To date only about 30% of OOIP was been recovered in the thick Arab C zone, for instance. [1]

These gas caps kicked Qatar's ass in the early to late 1950's and there were some awesome blowouts and fires in the country, just about all of which were tended to by the MM Kinley Co.

Myron Kinley, far left, Iran; 1953

In 1953 the Qatar Petroleum Co. was full hole coring the Arab D zone in its DK-35 well and having problems with gas kicks. The BOP's failed, the well blew out and caught fire. Kinley was making regular trips to the Middle East during this time frame and might have actually been in Bahrain on some R&R when this job came in. He was there in a matter of hours with a man named Manzell Rake. Red Adair joined them later in the capping process.

The film below is actually quite good; I apologize for the watermark; it would have taken 30 barrels of oil to license it. The film runs the entire methodology of oil well firefighting, from sourcing water, removing rig debris, shooting the well out (it took two shots on this well by Kinley), removing the old WH, using a Venturi tube to replace a flange and snubbing the capping stack down over the flow with snub lines. There is a reason that Myron M. Kinley is always referred to as the father of oil well firefighting and just about everything you see in this film was perfected by Kinley, passed on to Red, Boots and Coots and copied by many others.

The DK-35 well was actually brought back on line and produced for many decades.

As the Suez Canal crisis escalated in the fall of 1956 civil unrest broke out in Qatar between its citizens and Egyptians used as labor in the Dukhan oilfield. Several pipelines were blown up and on December 20, 1956 the DK 20 well was mysteriously set on fire by opening valves on the production tree and lighting it all up. A reported 7,500 BOPD was going up in smoke. QPC immediately called its old friends in Houston, the MM Kinley Company. Myron sent Red.

Adair arrived three days later and immediately took to soliciting all the water he would need to fight the fire, no easy matter in the desert. The same Athey wagon tracks and boom used by Kinley just three years prior was brought out of mothballs.

Production related debris was moved away from the burning well, a small shot was backed to remove the upper tubing heads on the tree assembly.

DK20; Christmas, 1956

First shot being backed in; DK20 well, Dukhan Field, Qatar.

Red, DK20 well, Qatar, 1956. High rate blowouts under a lot of pressure often cannot be capped very easily; one must think of trying to screw a spray nozzle on a garden hose running wide open, then multiply that x 1000. Most capping stacks need to be snubbed, or pulled down, down over high flow rates. This well, however, is not blowing that hard and the capping valve could be "spun" on. The valve is picked up with a crane and is anchored to the well head flange with a bolt, off to the side, out of the flow. That prevents the valve from being blown off. In this photo a joint of tubing is laid across the base of the capping valve as leverage and Red's helpers will then rotate the valve, or spin the valve over the flow using the tubing to pull on. The flow is not going straight thru the capping valve and hands are starting to install bolts in the flange to flange connection where they will be tightened, the valve shut, and the well brought under control.

Red was back home for New Years Eve.

Kinley's Athey wagon tacks, boom and rake were left at the DK2o well, below. It is kept painted, is fenced off, well lit at night and there is a monument there regarding its use on both the DK35 abd DK 20, the history of the Dukhan Field and to two legendary American oil well firefighters that came to Qatar to do what they did best.


The Arabian Oryx is the National Animal of Qatar. Once near extinct, Qatar set about preserving the species and have been so successful they have been introduced to the KSA and the UAE.

Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup Finals, in the summer, no less, and to accommodate hundreds of thousands

of visitors to the country it is building Oryx Island, right, with five large hotels, restaurants, etc. The island is a marvel in itself and designed, of course, to look like an Oryx from the air.


On the second half of this story I relied on Michael Quentin Morton and his great article in the AAPG Bulletin in 2018. Photographs of the DK20 well were contributed by Peter Walmsley and Peter Morton.



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