Walter Oil and Gas Corp. experienced a loss of control of Well A-3 July 23 on an unmanned platform at South Timbalier Block 220 while doing completion work on the sidetrack well to prepare the well for production. The operator reported the safe evacuation of 44 personnel from the Hercules 265 jack-up rig.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that the leaking natural gas ignited at 10:45 p.m. CDT July 23. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) confirmed July 25 that the well flow subsided after a natural bridging process suppressed the fire. The BSEE and the Coast Guard established a command center in their response to the incident 55 miles off Louisiana in 154 feet of water.
After completion of a site assessment, personnel were allowed on board the Hercules 265 to install gas detectors and high-capacity water jet fire monitors for contingency purposes. The Superior Derrick Services’ barge, Performance, arrived on July 27 to assist with well intervention activities.
The Rowan EXL-3 jack-up rig began drilling a relief well on Aug. 4 to intercept the target well. Once intercepted, drilling mud followed by cement will be pumped into the well to secure it.