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Report Recounts the Missed Signals Leading to a Blowout that Killed Five

The aftermath of the Pryor Trust gas well blowout and fire in Pittsburg County, Okla. Source: US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

The missed signals leading up to a blowout with the most fatalities since Macondo resembles that offshore disaster.

The investigations by the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) of the blowout on the Pryor Trust 1-H 9 well and Macondo concluded that both were the result of a failure to maintain the barriers needed to prevent an influx of gas into a well.

In both cases, the board found a series of missed signals, misleading tests, and miscalculations that allowed gas to build up in a well unnoticed, leading to a blowout that could not be stopped by a blowout preventer (BOP). Workers died in both cases—11 at Macondo and 5 at Pryor Trust.

An obvious difference is in the level of notoriety. Macondo is still remembered for the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon and an offshore oil spill that lasted for months.

The Pryor Trust well was an onshore gas well in rural Oklahoma where a blowout destroyed a rig in the morning and the fire was put out that afternoon. There was little media coverage. The environmental impact was minimal, and the companies involved, Patterson-UTI Drilling and Red Mountain Energy, are not well known.

Still, it provided a stark warning of the risks associated with some widely use drilling practices.

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Report Recounts the Missed Signals Leading to a Blowout that Killed Five

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

25 June 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 8

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