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Nuiqsut; 2012

The Cleanest Blowout in North Slope History

This is the Nabors CDR-2 AC Rig No. 105 , all rigged up and ready to roll for Respol in 2012. The well, the Qugruk No. 2 was located about 14 miles from the village of Nuiqsut, in the Alpine Sector of northern Alaska, map below.

The well was spud and drilling surface hole when on February 14, 2012, at 2,538 feet, it encountered shallow gas that kicked the hell out of them. I assume when the kick occurred Respol closed a Hydril temporarily set on conductor pipe, drained their mud system trying to kill the damn thing while diverting flow thru the possum gate. All toll it blew 1000 bbls. of water base mud out the diverter line and a hundred yards into the tundra. All the engines were shut down and the rig abandoned. Wild Well Control in Houston was called.

The hand that took this little video was pretty excited about all this...

The well eventually bridged and died; no surface control efforts were required.

One thousand barrels of mud would have otherwise made a mess, but it was 20 degrees below zero and the wind was blowing 30 MPH; as soon as the mud hit the tundra, it froze. On the left we can see the outline of the frozen mud field that has had a fresh snow on it.

There's no vacuuming up frozen drilling mud; you simply scrape it off the tundra. On the right, a pile of mud set aside on location. It will stay like this for the next 4-5 months.

I am thinking this stuff should be loaded up and taken to the yard and left in trailer dumps; when it thaws in the summer they can actually re-use it.

Below, not rocks; that's 10.3 lb. per gallon drilling mud that probably has $35,000 of fluid loss additive in it.

Clearly this event did not harm the environment but I can only imagine the hoops, reports and hearings that Respol had to go thru to be able to re-enter the well and eventually set surface casing.

Villagers in Nuisqut, 15 miles away, all mysteriously got sick from this event and sued Respol, naturally.

When its this cold you can't shut all that array of different engines down before they seize up like two dogs fighting in a parking lot. It took 2 weeks to clean the rig up and thaw engines out. Respol was then turned lose, again, with new, shallower surface casing settings mandated by the AOGCC. I think this well, or a subsequent well in the Alpine area led to a discovery of some significance.

Anyway, no harm, no foul.


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