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Taft, 1928

This blowout occured not far from Taft, Texas, in 1928. It blew dry gas 500 feet into the air and could be seen across the bay, in Corpus Christi, 34 miles away. I can't even guess the volume of gas being evacuated from this well; the diameter of the flow coming thru the rig floor is bigger than anything I have ever seen before and I have looked and studied thousands of blowouts. Several hundred million, I'd guess.

This would have been confined to conductor pipe, or some large diameter protective string most likely set very shallow. Any attempt to cap to the casing, whatever size it was, given the flow rates, would have broached the casing and caused the well to crater. In 1928 there would have been nobody other than Kinley to even come look at this and I am not sure what he would have done. Even the next generation of well control exports, like Adair, B &C and WWC would have struggled with this well. Big time. This sumbitch would have blown your eardrums out 300 yards away.

Whatever they did to try and stop this thing, back then, did not work, clearly, and the City of Taft, who could not hear themselves talk on the street 11 miles away, sent a telegram to Austin asking for help. The Railroad Commission likely sent Mr. Parker, a TRRC field inspector, to go have a look, which he probably did from a quarter mile away.

The well blew like this for nearly three weeks before sucking the earth in on it and bridging off.

These were the good 'ol days along the Texas Gulf Coast, everywhere in the US, where Mother Earth still had some bottom hole pressure to surprise you with.


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