When hydrates are mentioned, the vision that most often comes into most engineer’s mind is the formation of a frozen type of solid methane gas which is frequently found in deepwater drilling and production operations. Hydrates are not normally associated with onshore drilling operation and few people would consider hydrates to be a real risk to the safety of an onshore drilling operations. After listening to this presentation, perhaps they should.
This presentation will discuss the onsite drilling experience which resulted from a well control incident that took place on a dual lateral Austin Chalk well in Tyler County, TX. The formation of hydrates in a shut in well actually prevented the functioning of the BOP rams. When dealing with a well control situation, you don’t ever want your veteran well control specialist to utter the words, “You’d better figure out real quick how you want to light this blowout.” Only after the worst of the danger had passed, this same veteran well control expert said “In all my 37 years of well control operations, that’s the closest I’ve ever seen one get that didn’t end up burning down the drilling rig.”