Boots & Coots team controls fire and manages source control operations after offshore blowout
CHALLENGE – During drilling operations on a platform, a kick occurred after encountering an unexpected abnormal pressure formation. While circulating out the kick, a leak developed on the blowout preventer (BOP) stack, which then ignited. The platform was safely evacuated without any injuries, but the fire eventually degraded the structural integrity of the platform, causing it to partially collapse. Bottomhole pressure was approximately 18,000 psi, and the bottomhole temperature was near 215°F (102°C). The operator called Boots & Coots for its extensive experience on safe and efficient source control practices. Details of this case study are published as part of OTC-26975-MS.
SOLUTION – In order to mitigate heat damage to the structure of the platform and to the equipment, two firefighting boats continuously sprayed water on the platform and equipment. Several firefighting pumps and fire monitors were positioned on the platform to support the source control operation. Had the platform been lost altogether, the only option would have been to drill a relief well. Therefore, it was absolutely crucial to prevent further damage to the structural integrity of the platform while properly removing debris.
Following all safety precautions and protocols, the well control crew boarded the platform to clear debris and gain access to the wellhead. The primary objective of the daily operation was to eliminate or mitigate safety hazards to as low a degree as practically possible. The platform clearing operation was supported by a barge crane to lift and collect debris. The position of firefighting boats and fire monitors on the platform were adjusted based on the ongoing activity to provide support for the operation. The presence of high salt content in the water and winds necessitated special considerations for protecting pumps, electronics, and control panels to ensure reliable and continuous operation.
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