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Seven Sisters; 1994

This was an Amoco blowout in Duval County, 1994, in deep Lopeno Wilcox sands. The drill pipe was cut with a sand line and the rig skidded away from the well. The old, damaged BOP stack was then unbolted and lifted off the casing head with a crane. At lift off, the ring gasket blew out from below the spool, never to be seen again. This photo. above, was published in World Oil. A number of internet experts have suggested the photo is fake over the years; its not.

The damaged BOP stack and drlg. spool have been removed, remaining flange bolts are being pulled out of the B-Section and the top of the flange and ring gasket key is being inspected for damage before snub lines are run and the capping stack picked up with a crane. The new ring gasket will actually be tacked into the capping stack flange so as to not get blown off during the capping off the well.

Its loud and all ears are packed with Vaseline, cotton balls, more Vaseline and an ear plug shoved in behind all that. These blowouts are always blowing shit out of the formation, like sand, even rocks, shale, pyrite, etc.; best always to protect your eyes. This well is not blowing hard enough to suck the hard hat off your head and David Thompson has taken his off so as to not loose it down in the cellar.

I have notes from Myron Kinley in 1938 where he was on a clastic sandstone well in Louisiana that was blowing big rocks and chunks of primary cement launched high in the sky. On re-entry they would have have killed somebody or at least hurt like hell to get hit with. Myron, in close like this well in Duval County, solved that problem by wearing a football helmet, complete with a nose guard, and his tin hard screwed into the top of the helmet, the entire assembly sucked down on his head with a chin strap. When his partner, John Jobe, got smacked with a big chunk of cement they build a sort of portable sumbrero to further ward off falling debris and capped the well. The football helmet was reported to be stored in Oklahoma as late as 2001, but I never found it.


Photographs by Mike Shellman, Boots and Coots, Inc.; Amoco, Seven Sisters Field, Duval County, 1993


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