Fire is still raging on the Ororo-1 well, in shallow water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95, eight full months after a blowout occurred on the Hydraulic Work over rig Grace-1 HWU.
The rig was involved in re-entry operations on the well, located in shallow water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95.
Although the company that engaged the services of the owners of Grace-1 HWU was Guarantee Petroleum, a Nigerian E&P independent, the Nigerian government, having revoked the rights of the company to the field, took ownership of controlling the well fire.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), last May, told Africa Oil+Gas Report it would do all it could to extinguish the fire, including possibly drilling a relief well and engaging Boots & Coots Services, a Halliburton owned firm of well control specialists, to put out the fire.
Grace-1 HWU, a Hydraulic workover rig reportedly owned by Joeny Holdings, was contracted by Guarantee Petroleum, for the job of re-entry and completion.
The operations experienced a sudden rush of hydrocarbon fluids speeding up from over pressured reservoirs at depths deeper than 8,500 feet to the surface and forcing a blowout. The Blow Out Preventer (BOP) for the main well bore and the BOP for the annulus (the space between the pipe and the skin of the well), both failed. The reservoir pressure was 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and above, surface pressure was about 4,600psi as of the time of incident, according to field data.
It’s a widely held view, by a range of technical specialists in the industry, that such a highly pressured well should not have been re-entered with a workover rig which has less than adequate BOP. Competency. Some argue that there should have been a sidetrack and not a re-entry, but if there had to be a re-entry, it should have been done with a rig with at least 2,000 horsepower BOP. Indeed, Chevron had plugged the well with a steel plug during abandonment in 1982, because of the pressure challenges.
What is uncertain is why the fire has been left for so long, with clear environmental consequences.