BSEE Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Lars Herbst has stood up a Panel Investigation into the loss of well control event that took place July 23 at South Timbalier Block 220 Well A-3, approximately 55 miles offshore Louisiana. The investigation led by BSEE will focus on determining the cause(s) of the loss of well control and developing recommendations to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
BSEE will work closely with Coast Guard for the investigation which involves reviewing information provided by witnesses and subject matter experts through interviews, and analyzing evidence from forensic testing. The panel will be led by a BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region engineer and membership includes BSEE investigators and engineers from both the Gulf Region and Headquarters.
The Panel will issue a report with its findings on causes, recommendations for prevention efforts, and identification of any potential violations for consideration by BSEE enforcement staff, once the investigation is completed. Each investigation is specific to the nature of the incident.
Walter Oil & Gas Corporation (Walter) experienced a loss of control of Well A-3 at approximately 8:45 a.m. July 23 on an unmanned platform at South Timbalier Block 220 while doing completion work on the sidetrack well to prepare the well for production. The operator reported the safe evacuation of 44 personnel from the Hercules 265 jack-up rig. Coast Guard confirmed that the leaking natural gas ignited at 10:45 p.m. CDT July 23. BSEE confirmed July 25 that the well flow subsided after a natural bridging process suppressed the fire.