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Weird Stuff That Comes Out of Oil & Gas Wells

Folks love to see stuff that comes out of oil and gas wells because most of the time that stuff looks cool, makes loud noises and is associated

Drill stem test, offshore,

deep water Angola

Various really loud stuff coming out of cool wells in Malysia, Canada and Russia

Even old oil from old wells going into very old earthen pits is fun to look at.

Not all stuff that comes out of wells is cool, however. Some of it is really weird and weird is generally not good in the oilfield. Weird stuff does not make money, it almost always costs money, lots of money, and gives oil and gas operators gray hair and causes them many sleepless nights trying to sort it all out. We like to think we know how to fix everything but that's not true; its dark down there in the bottom of that well and its hard to see what going on. Sometimes trying to imagine what's going on down hole makes a fella think about starting to day drink.

Lots of times you don't even know what that stuff is coming out of your well much less where exactly it came from.

I have no idea what this stuff is, below, looks like it might be sand. If I broke circulation after dark, used a flashlight to check returns in the rig tank and saw this, I'd run for the pickup and lock all the doors.

And water, hell; nobody ever

made much money from water.

Scale can come OUT of an oil well in buckets; it clogs up everything and can get so bad it will shut your well off like somebody high up, or, more likely, somebody down low, flipped a switch and decided just to start jacking with you.

Paraffin is a nasty wax component to crude oil in some places that cools coming up hole and causes severe hardening of the arteries. A feller has to pull all of THAT stuff out, heat it all up with really hot water and it makes a damn mess.

Bacteria coming out of an oil or gas well will cause you unimaginable


Now and then some really amazing shit gets blown out of oil and gas wells that is hard to get your head wrapped around. Would you believe, fish?

Here is an entire string of tubing full of frac sand, with the rods stuck in it. That was a whole lot of fun.

Then there are times when shit rockets out of a well so fast all you can do is run like hell and hope you don't get hit on the head with it.

And now and then you get this sort of stuff coming OUT of your well, a hundred yards FROM your well, and its time like this you wish you had become a chiropractor.

Often I think folks like the oil and gas industry sort of for the same reasons they might like to watch NASCAR races; they like to see wrecks.

Which means everybody loves large volumes of anything coming out of wells at great pressure.

When we lose stuff in oil and gas wells we have to go fishing for it and try and get it out. Things get stuck, break, pull in two and twist off... like drill pipe, drill collars and bits, rods part, tubing splits and separates; its possible for the bottom of your well to look like a birds nest sometimes. Its always REAL expensive to have to get all that stuff out.

Drill collars string shot off with explosive charge.

Other times we just drop shit in wells, accidently, like dumbasses, and have to go find and grab THAT and get it out, stuff like tubing, tong segments, slip dyes, pipe wrenches, rubber goods, bolts, bit cones, actual bits and other junk.

Whatever you do don't EVER drop rods into open casing because then your fishing for a big long coiled spring that takes forever to get out in many pieces. When that happens its like somebody pulled the drain on your checking account. I have dropped three tally books down hole over the past 50 years; don't ask me how. I ground those up and washed them out of the hole in shreds.

Some operators (myself included) actually save junk we fish out of our wells and put that crap on bookshelves in our offices, like they were trophies.

Rods go up and down inside tubing all day and all night and things are always going to get "rubbed the wrong way," so to speak. Then you have to pull that stuff out of your well and replace it all.

Here is a wad of snaky looking shit (electrical submersible pump (ESP) cable) that just got fished OUT of a well in the Midland Basin a few days ago. What it cost to fish this out of the hole would send three kids to Texas Tech for four years.

Photo by Mike Rasco

Hell, sometimes we even have to fish little girls OUT of oil wells!


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