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Nabors Rig Blows Out While Drilling For EOG Resources In Eagle Ford Shale-Photos

Nabors rig blows out catches fire while drilling Eagle Ford shale well for EOG Resources Photo:Yoakum Fire DeptAugust 29th, 2013

A drilling rig owned by Nabors Drilling USA blew out and caught fire Wednesday evening just before 7pm while drilling an Eagle Ford Shale horizontal well for EOG Resources in Lavaca County, Texas.

The well control incident occurred at Farm to Market 966 and State Highway 111 near Petersville, Texas. No injuries were reported. 

Well control specialists from Houston have been called to put out the rig fire and conduct an investigation according to Shiner Volunteer Fire department Chief Mark Panus.

A nearby resident, who asked not to be identified, said her husband was in the front yard with their 4 year-old son at the time of the explosion and saw workers running. When he asked workers what happened the workers kept running so he too grabbed their son and ran, she said.

Flames engulf a Nabors Drilling USA rig near Petersville Texas Wednesday evening Photo:Yoakum Fire Dept

Facebook Speculation:


Facebook posts by workers in the area indicate the drilling rig was Nabors Rig F38 and that Halliburton was on location at the time of blow out possibly indicating they may have been cementing at the time of loss of well control.

We have not been able to confirm the information from Facebook

Comment by Jim D. Bural on August 29, 2013 at 7:15am

I'm glad those men are safe. Nabors can buy another rig, they can't buy a father, husband or son. God Bless those men & their families.



Comment by Dave Sereda on August 29, 2013 at 8:44am

It will all depend on what they were doing at the time of the well control issue? Were they cementing or pumping a high density fluid well after running a linear or was it abandonment? Either way improper drilling procedure was used in this well as in many wells drilled with Nabors rigs, there crews are one of the most inexperienced group of rig hands in North America they feel they now it all and will not listen to anyone. There are a lot of company men in Canada that will just not go out to sit on a well with a Nabors rig on it.  

Comment by Farell Moughon on August 29, 2013 at 8:57am

It would be very interesting indeed to know the contributing factors and direct cause of this event.....a real study waiting to be explored.  The lessons that can be learned from this event can help the industry....especially the horizontal shale drillers.  Questions to be answered, among others, are:  is the flow from shale?; was the well fracked?; what was the rig doing at the time?; and more.   Can't wait.

Comment by Michael Taylor on August 29, 2013 at 9:30am
I remember being in the same situation...I wasn't sceered but I passed a couple guys who were!!
Comment by Michael Taylor on August 29, 2013 at 9:36am

Farell, Im no rocket scientist but seems to me that the rig is still over the well indication there has been no completion work done it....also, form the looks of the jarasic park size bic flame, I would bet my paycheck on what you have here is a good ole' fashion blow-out. Definitely from a formation influx?

Comment by Dave Sereda on August 29, 2013 at 9:51am

Well Michael this rig seems like it took the first part of proper well control - RUN. And as per all of us speculating as to the cause of this incident, none of us were there so we really have no idea as to what happened. If they were horizontal they probably did circulate a sufficient amount of time but missed something when pulling out of he hole or when they ran there linear or casing as with any and all Hz wells gas can accumulate at the landing of the heal or midpoint of the lateral section so by saying it was " Definitely from a formation influx?" is a very premature statement, and we will have to wait to see what the investigation comes up with. We can safely say it was caused from poor drilling practice though. As in any abnormal hydrocarbon pressure surge. 

Comment by Drilling Ahead on August 29, 2013 at 10:05am
The Operator on this well was EOG- I am sure they were responsible for circulating out gas- spotting heavy mud etc and monitoring the well. Like Dave said we do not have specifics but in any normal drilling operation I have been a part of EOG would be msking the calls concerning well control- not Nabors
Again, we only know that Halliburton was on location possibly cementing- could be a number of issues including bad negative test or bad cement job before displacing
We really do not know the specifics to answer and the way the industry keeps secrets these days we may never know
It's obvious the was an influx - cant have a blowout without it
Comment by Michael Taylor on August 29, 2013 at 10:18am

I feel for them, everyone...When you are the Companyman on location and something like this happens, or even just a driller, it just rips you apart. I have come close in my time but lucky enough never full blown. Im glad everyone is safe, but the mental issues will start to set in. It could have been a mechanical failure, or channeling... or anything.. we will have to wait and see. 

Comment by Michael Taylor on August 29, 2013 at 10:21am

I think to say it was caused by poor drilling practices is a pretty irresponsible comment...just sayin...

Comment by Drilling Ahead on August 29, 2013 at 10:31am

I think what's being said here is pretty much "Blowouts don't just happen without warning or cause". No well can blow out until the fluid in the well is displaced with gas-monitoring the well is the key. if this was not done then i would call that bad practice. if this was an underground blowout (which is highly doubtful) then i would also call that bad drilling practice because pressures were allowed to exceed the formation integrity.

I would also consider most mechanical failures as poor drilling practices usually caused by Bad or No BOP testing

I have always felt that almost any loss of well control on in a drilling operation could be contributed to bad drilling practices

Comment by Farell Moughon on August 29, 2013 at 3:21pm

Several years ago I was doing a job in Eagle Ford.  I met a senior company man who said to me:  "Son, let me tell you something.  People think these shale zones can't kick and blow out.  But you can have a sand streak, a fault, or a rig fracking next to yours, and all hell can break loose."   I'm not saying any of this is what happened here, but who knows?   I taught well control for about 10 years and had to listen to all sorts of well control horror stories.  One thing I concluded is this:   if it can happen, it will unless those running the operation are on guard, watching, communicating, monitoring to recognize trends to detect an influx and shut the well in as early as possible to minimize shut-in casing pressure. 

Comment by Anthony L Molina on August 29, 2013 at 9:21pm

Glad everyone is not hurt or killed ......very blessed ....back to simple well control .got drill break ,flow line increase ,gain in returns ... its a group effort driller,derrickhand ,mud loggers etc. Now burn the  rig down ,lucky don't loose their job.

Comment by Joel Thomas Highsmith on August 29, 2013 at 10:53pm

I believe that they had cemented the casing (I do not know what string).  They had waited for cement and then they nippled down and it came on them then during that process.  Any way that is what I heard and who knows what actually happened.  May be some human error not watching the back side for flow (keeping a two-inch open ect..).  One can only speculate,  I have not worked in the area and do not know their procedures, but  EOG and Nabors both good companies.




Comment by Pamela Harry on August 31, 2013 at 12:15am

Wow. I love the comment "When he asked workers what happened the workers kept running so he too grabbed  their son and ran, she said." I'm thinking I would run NOW and ask what happened later. That's like asking the bomb guy why he's running away. Duh.

Comment by Awl Bidnz on August 31, 2013 at 11:18am

I'm curious if the runners were some of the ones responsible for not doing their job that lost control of the kick in the 1st place. As we all know blowouts are not instantaneous. Indications ALWAYS present themselves when controlled conditions are changing. It will be interesting to hear the cause.

Comment by Guy Brown on September 1, 2013 at 10:58am
I agree, it's hard to comment on something without knowing ALL the facts. But most of the time it boils down to human error. I also agree about the companies involved, I have worked for EOG for many years in the past as a well site supervisor using Nabors rigs, both companies at safety first ALWAYS!
Comment by Drilling Ahead on September 4, 2013 at 12:19pm

Local media now reporting the well has been killed

Comment by Bill Belz on September 18, 2013 at 11:19am
Any word on the cause? Rumor I got is not waiting on cement before nippleing down.


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