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Suncor Nabors Rig #9 Blowout & Rig Fire Video

 Late Friday night on March 9th Nabors Drilling Rig #9 caught fire and burned to the ground in a huge fireball while drilling for Suncor near Hudson's Hope in Northeastern British Columbia, Canada.

A spokesperson for Suncor, Sneh Seetal said "a handful" of employees were on location at the time of the explosion and rig fire but none were injured. "We've brought in well control specialists. We're conducting daily aerial fly-overs by helicopter. The fire has been contained to the site and the site is secure," she said



Suncor Nabors Rig 9 Blowout

Suncor Nabors Rig 9 UPDATE March 21, 2011

Quoted from a Post on Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum

  • Rig was not drilling underbalanced. They were running a circulating head though
  • Rig was running a 1500 mud weight. Too light. Talisman is drilling those exact same wells with 2200 mud weight
  • Rig took on a kick and caught it, flared like a bugger but it bled off
  • Derrickhand, motorman, and roughneck were in the manifold shack. Company man, pusher, and driller went to the doghouse to run some numbers
  • Company man say all of a sudden they heard a boom and the entire substructure lifted off the ground (said a foot but I find that hard to believe), and crashed down
  • The three gents in the doghouse ran for the door to get out, by the time they hit the stairs the inside of the door on the other side of the doghouse was on fire
  • Rig started burning around 22:00, derrick was toppled by around midnight
  • Derrick fell towards the shacks (unusual, they typically topple to the deadmans side)
  • NOBODY was injured. They lost four wellsite trailers, two pickups, a trackhoe, and a vac truck
  • Suspected cause was a washed out flange on the HCR line. This would explain the explosion in the substructure as well as the the rig toppling to the drillers side
  • This kick information comes from first hand, on-sight sources, third party sources, and neighboring rigs. The mud data comes from the mud data place

Find more photos like this on Drilling Ahead

Comment by Floyd Arthur Smith Jr on March 17, 2012 at 7:08pm

Another one bites the dust. Seems like I hear of blowouts ever couple weeks whats going on? From what I see now days inexperience from the Companyman

down. Not detecting the warning signs and when detected not knowing how to handle the situation.

Comment by Dave Sereda on March 17, 2012 at 7:59pm

That's a pretty big statement. There are many reasons for a situation like this and yes human error could be one of them but it could also be equipment failure or a well control problem. So my suggestion is find out the facts prior to any statement’s.

Unless you were there and know. Suncor (Petro Canada) is and was a big company and have company policies in place to handle these form's of incidents.

Comment by chris tompkins on March 17, 2012 at 8:04pm

was shut in due to a kick and the buildup was too much. blew up the manifold shack.

Comment by John on March 17, 2012 at 8:26pm

I guess they found what they were looking for....

Comment by Muhammad Mudassar Malik on March 17, 2012 at 8:38pm

big disaster, horrible

Comment by Michael Taylor on March 17, 2012 at 9:28pm

Almost landed on the headache rack...Oh sooo close :)



Comment by Steve Walker on March 17, 2012 at 10:00pm

 This is getting to be to big of a occurence.  Inexperience of young crewman who are not getting the proper training or just letting a select few shut in a well when all personal should be able to when they see a problem. Equipment failure, that better have a good  explanation due to weekly drills and monthly test. Well control problems, if it is a wild cat well possible, Drilling in producing fields the drilling program will have abnormal and under pressure zones tagged. If the company puts it in the procedure to drill under balance for some reason, yes, but the well will tell you it is fixing to come and see you. I have read a couple of these reports where the wrong pressure equipment was in place for a none pressure that was gone to be seen. That is up to the rig pusher and the company man to make sure that does not happen. I know they can't look at every thing, well tell every person who is working on that rig what pressure may be seen not just the so call big people. Never put your life and all lives in the hands of a select few. You will be surprised what you can learn from the newest person. company policies tend to get over looked some times, that is human error. It also comes out of the company office wrong and that is the company mans job to catch and question. The folks in the office are young an inexperienced to. It is a hard lesson to learn, but that is how policy is made,by our mistakes. Some one will figure this one out. Continue to be safe out there. God Bless all the workers.

Comment by Lerret on March 17, 2012 at 10:42pm

Seems like too many instances I see where undersized rigs were drilling long laterals and I agree that on the basis of frequency v. # of rigs running, we are rivaling the worst of Boom 73-81... I am convinced that there is a mindset out there that "this cannot happen to us"... sure equipment failure is common but equipment is and should be better than ever. But engineers used to have something called CAC...computer aided catastrophy. It relates to over-reliance on drilling monitors, alarms, and elegant well design to use the minimum amount of materials while pushing for maximum penetration.  Often when one should just stop, think about it, let the much heal the hole, it is still full steam ahead, gotta make footage...over budget.

Comment by Jimmy Durden on March 18, 2012 at 9:45am


I have been in the oil & gas industry for 21 years. I have been in well control situations. When a rig has "out of control" issue and/or burns to the ground, it is HUMAN error. First line of well control is the fluid in the hole, that is maintained by humans. There are backups for backups in well control, when one fails, bad luck, when backups fail, it's human neglect. There have been to many wells drilled without accidents or incidents to say this was mother nature or Murphy's Law. Men, you need to stay on toes. Monitor the hole, BOPE, and fluids. It is easier to maintain control of the well, than it is to regain control. The well will always tell you what it's doing, learn the language and signs, they are there and it will help you. It might save your life some day!

Comment by Dave Sereda on March 18, 2012 at 11:14am

Well everything which is said about well control is true  the fluid in the hole, that is maintained by humans. There are backups for  backups in well control. But this fire is in North Eastern British Columbia, Canada and like the foothill of Alberta and in the Northwest Territories the vast majority of well's drilling in these area's are all wildcat ( unknown) area's. So they could possibly be over pressured formations, others are injected (yes human controlled) both of which are of no control by the drilling rig crew and by the company man on site. The company doing the injecting can control the outcome but a lot of the time will not shut it off just lower the rate. So in 35 years the only way to prevent any well control issue is ether don't drill in unproven area's or stay in depleted area's.

Comment by Muhammad Mudassar Malik on March 18, 2012 at 12:05pm

sir dave sereda,

i liked and with your comments...............

Comment by Kris Steele on March 18, 2012 at 12:30pm

Taproot investigation will bring the truth out in this situation, i agree with daves comment as well and as a safety professional i understand that there is more too these situations than what appears on the surface. I would be intreaged to see what suncors safety staff uncover after there investigation is complete.


Comment by Alan Fortune on March 18, 2012 at 5:20pm

I agree with many of the comments above.

The MOST important lesson to learn, is DO NOT rely on 2nd hand information.

The WELL talks to you each and every moment, you CAN feel what is happening through the equipment you are using. YOU must LEARN to interpret the signals that are being transmitted.

Unless you are in a 'cyber' world where ALL trust is left to graphic displays that are unable to 'feel' what is happening.

I continue to leave the 'controlled atmosphere' of a cyber operation, to actually 'touch' the 'pipe' to 'feel' what is happening under my feet. I can ALWAYS feel what is happening before the gauges tell others.

Comment by Dustin Frazier on March 18, 2012 at 6:06pm

Lets just be glad no one was hurt. We've had far to many hurt for life or killed in our line of business. Some from inexperience, some from equipment failure, and some from just a freak accident, either way at least there aren't any families grieving today from this incident......

Comment by Patrick Maracle on March 18, 2012 at 10:10pm

Well said Justin! Sadly we are seeing posts here from some which are very quick to judge without the facts. Oil campanies have ERP's & contingencies in place for these types of incidents & there's a good reason for that. Equipment fails, human error & acts of nature. Accidents, by definition, can not be predicted. "If anybody says that they've never made mistake then they are liars or have never tried something new..."


Comment by Dave Sereda on March 18, 2012 at 11:24pm

Patrick you are so right, we are only human and have a tendency to make mistake every once in a while when trying something new. As far as all of the inexperience out in the field we all have to take a long look in the mirror, because we all started at one time and new very little as well. The only way to learn something is to do it - just watching or listening doesn't do it.


Comment by Alan Fortune on March 19, 2012 at 1:26am

Mistakes are how we learn. YES, we learn from (or should) our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Comment by Dustin Frazier on March 19, 2012 at 4:55am

That's right, no matter how it happened, it needs to be learned from. I've been on wells with all the experience in the world and stuff still happens and I've been on some where the company man couldn't even figure out what size well head he had or that he needed a 13 3/8 3m to 11 5m cross over to our BOP and things never went wrong. Others are right that the well does talk to you and from what Chris said they did catch it, maybe a little late and let to much of an influx in that the equipment couldn't handle or something in the epuipment just fail because it was it's time to fail and no one knew. Probably not the best way to put it but it's just the luck of the draw somethimes, everything works fine until that one time that is doesn't, sometimes it happens when it doesn't cause any harm and sometimes your seeing pictures like this.

Comment by Dustin Frazier on March 19, 2012 at 4:57am

All we can do is just try to be as safe as possible, we work in a dangerous field.

Comment by George Connon on March 19, 2012 at 8:02am

We as the older ones need to help out the younger ones and explain to them again about pressures and well control Equipment.The importance of drilling fluid and watching the shale shakers as well How to take the mud wt. etc.We can always points fingers when things go wrong but everyone needs to step up to the plate and learn the job 100%.



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