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03 Feb 2016
A well in the Aliso Canyon gas storage field has been exhausting gas uncontrolled for over three months and has led to the evacuation of locals in nearby Porter Ranch. The storage facility is the second largest of its kind in the US and can hold up to 86 billion cubic feet of natural gas for distribution to customers in the LA area. Add Energy representative Morten Haug Emilsen was summoned to guide the operator’s efforts in gaining control of the leak and has been assisting at the relief well site about 500 meters from the blowout.
The team intends to take control of the flowing gas after the leaking well has been intersected by a relief well. To effectively kill the blowout, the well intersection point should ideally be as close to the inflow zone (reservoir) as possible to ensure the reservoir pressure can be equalized and exceeded by the mud pumped through the relief well. Drilling a relief well is a complicated and time consuming operation which is expected to take several months with planned completion by the end of February. Initially, the downhole pressure and dynamic flow regime need to be identified through comprehensive simulation work prior to and simultaneous to the drilling operation of the relief well. This is an iterative process, and the optimum intersection point is found based on the dynamic simulation work. After the well is successfully intersected, mud is pumped down the relief well into the blowing well to gain control of the well. The team is also planning on drilling a second relief well as a backup with estimated completion a month later. The current plan is however to kill the blowout with the primary relief well similar to other blowout operations they have supported. Once the team gains control over the leaking well, it will be plugged and taken out of operation.
Disastrous events like this helps to highlight the importance of preventing blowouts. While the potential causes of a blowout are many, prevention is always the safest mitigation. Add Energy prepares contingency plans and evaluates mitigation measures associated with operations and well planning. The experienced well control and blowout support team has put together a list of the 6 reasons blowouts keep occurring.
For more information, contact: Morten Haug Emilsen, SVP Well Control & Blow Out