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Fadhili; 1956

Its 1956 and Myron Kinley is 58 years old. A little fire has come up on a production well in the Fadhili Oil Field in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, north of the Ghawar complex. He is by himself on this job; Red and his new helper, Boots Hansen, are back in the States on another job. Coots Matthews is still working for Halliburton in Liberty and has not been hired yet by Kinley.

Its the desert, Fadhili, and there is no water. It's not a big enough fire, the well is not blowing hard enough, to spend months developing a water system to fight it with. Without water it's fruitless to pop it out with a little shot of explosives; if not cooled with water it would just re-ignite. What's a fella to do?

Myron Kinley and Aramco hands trying to make a plan;1956

Water is everything in oil well firefighting and a few tankers of the stuff, and a few cloth fire hoses, make it very tough. And very, very hot.

There is little to do but try and cap the well while it is still burning. After covering his dozer and building his Athey wagon boom he is actually able to hook the tubing head on the well and jerk it off, more or less get the flow going up, and not out, and miraculously it appears there is now a fairly clean flange to try and cap to.

In the photograph on the right Mr. Kinley has picked up what appears to be a spool with a flange and guide skirt. The spool has outlets and above it is a master valve encased in steel to keep it from burning up. In other photos it is wrapped in asbestos. He has rigged up water spraying 'nozzles' on the end of his Athey boom to keep the capping stack cool the best he can and to keep the stack from bouncing around when he tries to push it over the flow he has stabilized the whole the whole thing with a joint of tubing tacked to the bottom of the spool. I am certain there is water directed at the based of the spool via the pressured up tubing brace.

I have notes on this job, but they are not good, so I am trying to imagine what I might have done if I had been Kinley.

The entire location has numerous bug fans directed toward the fire; I am sure this is to try and blow away smoke and fire and better see what the hell is going on when trying to stab this stack over the fire.

Mr. Kinley was actually able to get this all done, believe it or not, but B-section flange was all buggered up and the flange to flange idea failed. He jerked the entire thing out and went to plan B.

Plan B was to actually sting into the tubing hung in the B section, which he did, and was then able to pump down the stinger with mud. The fire went out and he was able to kill the well, then re-configure the tree and turn it back over to Aramco and go back home.

In 1958 Adair left Kinley to form the Red Adair Company. After 35 years of intense well control work around the world, Kinley worked by himself a few more years and finally retired in, or around, 1962-1963.

Boots Hansen and Pat Campbell capped a big, bad-ass H2S well in Lodgepole, Alberta in 1983 while it was still on fire. A stinger assembly was used quite a bit in Burgan Field in 1991 to pump smaller fires dead during the Kuwait firefighting campaign. History will show that both firefighting methods were first developed by Myron Kinley before the Fadhili blowout in 1956.

Myron Macy Kinley, the "Father" of oil well firefighting and blowout control; 1898-1978


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