I saw the strain on many company men's faces and those of the mudmen who were responsible for keeping that fine balance between mudweight and not blowing out the formation when I logged in high pressure zones.
THEY WOULD ASK TO BE NOTIFIED IMMEDIATELY THE BACKGROUND GAS UNITS WENT ABOVE 50 UNITS OF GAS OR 1% GAS WHILE DRILLING. Geologists were responsible for logging the geology but more important was watching the background gas, so they could weight up the mud and prevent a blowout. When mud began to flow back out the well under pressure from deep underground, you knew you were losing that well and you would probably have to shut that well down with the blowout preventer and spend weeks getting cement into the well and basically write off the well. The investors who put up the money for the drilling would then be asked to pay more money in for a non functional well
Let us say whoever worked on that well from the geologist to the mudmen to the drilling contractors to the company man to geophysicists who sited the well, their reputation was mud.Personal history on one blowout well near Sacramento California in 2006.
I was responsible for preventing a blowout just south of Sacramento at 11500 feet when the well began to flow. The company man was an arrogant man and would not believe our instruments for measuring the gas pressures during drilling and therefore would not weight up the mud. I called the offsite petro-engineer to get him to take control away from the company man. I was kicked off the site. The well began to flow and the blowout preventers were actuated to shut down the well. They lost the most productive zone of the well because of the great pressure and only saved the top 8000 feet because it was already cased with steel. It took many weeks to get the well under control. The investors had to pay in more money. I do not know if they ever made a profit, but I think they did, probably after 6 months to a year. Normally you will pay off a land well's cost within two months from the oil and gas flows. That means you have paid off at least $5 million dollars in 2 months and then it is all profit as long as the well keeps producing. It is not surprising that the world is greedy, mad and blind. How can you get the oil companies to convert to solar? Where's the profit?
High PRESSURE wells are not the norm, like this Gulf of Mexico BP one. It is very dangerous and although the rewards are higher, nobody likes working on them. The investors do not care as long as they make a profit.
Chris Landau (geologist)
June 6 2010
530 751 9829