Blowout off Nigeria?

Given the sustained intensity of the fire on the K.S. Endeavor  drill rig that ignited off the coast of Nigeria yesterday morning, we’re starting to think a total loss of well control occurred.

Yep, that would be a blowout.  Two workers are still missing.

We assume the rig was drilling Chevron’s “Funiwa Deep” natural gas exploration well. Since gas was the target, we hope that means the risk of a major oil spill is low.

What’s next? The rig will probably collapse soon from the intense sustained heat. It’s possible that will extinguish the fire, although the natural gas and/or gas condensate release will continue to pose a serious fire/explosion hazard until Chevron can plug the leaking well. They’ll have to bring in another rig to drill a relief well. 

Depressingly familiar? You bet.  See the Montara blowout off Australia in 2009, and BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, for two of the more spectacular drilling failures in recent years.

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