Hydraulic Workover Rig Catches Fire on Ororo Well - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

Hydraulic Workover Rig Catches Fire on Ororo Well

By Toyin Akinosho

A Hydraulic workover rig Grace-1 HWU, working for the Nigerian independent Guarantee Petroleum, burst into flames over the weekend in the course of re-entry operations on the Ororo-1 well in shallow water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95.

The incident was the culmination of a well control situation that had been shaping up since mid -April.

Field data indicate that, in late April, technicians had put the well under control after it had released fluid to surface through malfunctioned Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on the rig, owned by Joeny Holdings Limited. “Well is stable and gas leak at the same level as at when BOP was closed-in.  No increase in gas flow”, the report indicated as of April 22, 2020.

But by May 15, the wellhead had caught fire.

“All the personnel had been successfully evacuated off the 300 Series SEWOP (Self Elevating Work-Over Platform)”, reported Guarantee Petroleum, operator of the Ororo field. But the Platform itself had not been moved from the site.

The company had written the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulatory agency, since April 23rd, requesting for approval to carry out the needed containment of the flow of gas and fluid droplets from the wellhead. Guarantee claims that the regulator did not dignify it with a response.

DPR spokespersons dd not have any comments on the matter.

Guarantee’s licence to Ororo field had been revoked by the Nigerian government, through the DPR, on April 7, 2020, but the company was deep in the middle of the re-entry operations when the letter came.

DPR’s refusal to respond, in the last month, to Guarantee Petroleum’s correspondences, may have to do with the regulator’s consideration that the company no longer had a right to the field. But that itself throws up a question: How can you revoke a licence right in the middle of operations you have yourself approved? See related story.

On May 15, after the fire incident started, Guarantee Petroleum sought DPR’s approval to use dispersants “and other needed materials “around the well and environs “to avoid loss of lives and further pollution of the communities affected”.

It also said it contacted Chevron Nigeria and Halliburton (the American oil service provider) for help. Chevron, an E&P major, is the operator of OML 95, the acreage from which Ororo field was ringfenced.

Esimaje Brikinn, Chevron’s General Manager, Public Affairs  explained to Africa Oil+Gas Report that  “the affected facility is a third-party facility and it is not operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) or any of its affiliates”. He added that the company was “prepared to provide necessary emergency response assistance in accordance with petroleum industry emergency response protocol, to help address the situation, if required. CNL remains committed to safety of the people and the environment. CNL will continue working with relevant regulatory agencies and other stakeholders on protection of the environment”.

Grace-1 HWU had been on the well since October 2019.


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  1. I am a director on the board of Owena Oil and Gas Limited,the Non-operator in the‘Ororo’ marginal field JV.situated in OML-95. I am impressed by a very detailed & professional coverage of the incident on the‘Ororo marginal field. It is sad that we are recording this avoidable incident if Guarantee had taken the input of JOA partner and that of Chevron as Farmor.It will interest you to note that the operation was solely carried out by Guarantee Petroleum(operator) and its appointed technical Rock Mountain Petroleum Dev. (a dark horse in the Nigerian oil and gas industry)in defiance of our signed JOA and Farmout agreement.It is surprising to note that DPR is now keeping distance when the later has landed itself in a’deep shit’ even though it provided tacit approval for its unprofessional conduct. As non-operator,we have repeatedly drawn the attention of DPR to the unprofessional and anti-JOA practices of Guarantee and total disregard to Farmor and the Farmout agreement of parties. We resorted to Court action in 2014 when all entities failed and DPR ignored all letters,we filed a law suit against Guarantee,DPR and others to check the illegal activities of the Operator with the concurrence of DPR .It must be noted that Chevron has Farmor made efforts to assist lawful production of the field by JV partners in line with the Farmout agreement but Guarantee probably due to their apparent lack of understanding of the business and required capacity to lead an E&P operation(as confirmed by the outcome of their’solo’ and unauthorised operation) failed to comply with the terms of the JOA & FOA.The undersigned is available for further comments. Samuel Kolajo(Executive Vice-Chairman,Owena Oil and Gas Limited-08033030882.

    • Elisha Orogun says:

      While it is unfortunate we have an unfortunate situation which was completely avoidable.

      I know for any work-over to occur licence must be gotten from DPR to proceed.Which I believe Gurantee got.

      What however is strange is the how licences is revoked in middle of an operation.Why were they allowed to mobilise in the first place knowing all of this.
      1.Revoking licence iin middle of operation while work is on going is enough to through confusion into Mgt and staff of Gurantee to extent they are caught off guard, loose concentration and put the well in a dangerous situation as monies spent is about to go down the drain in millions of $$$

      2. When it was written to DPR for approvals to carry out containment there was no response knowing the grave situation at hand this begs for answers from DPR.

      3.After well was brought under control April 22 what was the rig doing all through to May 15 when next fire started.Standing-by or continue with operations?

      3. If well was brough under control april22 meaning the BOP was working so why did BOP fail again or driller was not vigilant to notice gas on surface on time and it was already late to close the BOP and explosion started leading to second fire or well was just left without any activity.

      A panel of enquiry must be set by the oil commitee in HOR or an independent body to quizz both DPR and gurantee on what transpired to prevent such from happening again with learnings shared.

  2. LEVIS MONEHIN says:

    . FIRE ON ORORO WELL, Hydraulic work over Rig.
    All due to unprofessional job carried out without being followed and observed all Marine , oil and gas offshore operational Safety rules and regulations standard.
    It’s a pity this incident happened at modern system of operations when there were highly Technical companies are in and out there to do the neat job professionally.
    My advise is to always seek for a qualified and Technical professional company with vast experience in marine, oil and gas sectors for this type of contract (projects).

  3. This is what you get when you try to unreasonably cut cost of operation.

    Cometence should always be double checked by audits, quite an avoidable incident, let’s hope those responsible are sanctioned accordingly.

  4. This is what you get when you try to unreasonably cut cost of operation.

    Competence should always be double checked by audits, quite an avoidable incident, let’s hope those responsible are sanctioned accordingly.

  5. Eby says:

    For your offshore and onshore Fire protection/prevention services
    Contact us

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