Mature Fields

Specific Challenge

After a blowout, source-control and debris removal operations needed

Region - South America

South America


Provide source-control and debris removal operations for a well that experienced a blowout


Mobilized well control team to the location to assess the situation, plan, and implement the response operation


  • Used special turbine equipment to dredge area of lake bed to uncover a sufficient length of competent production casing
  • Lowered a modified surface capping stack onto the well to successfully cap and contain the well
  • Successfully contained the well, incurring no safety incidents during the operation 


A well drilled in South America was planned for workover operations to access and evaluate new hydrocarbon resources. The well was drilled in 1967 in a water depth of 90 feet (27 meters) to a total depth of 5,571 feet (1,698 meters). 


During the workover operation from a single well platform, a blowout occurred with devastating consequences to the barge rig equipment and well platform. Consequently, due to the conflagration, the derrick collapsed and scattered debris across the platform. 

The crew safely abandoned the barge rig while the operator implemented the emergency response plan and contacted Boots & Coots for assistance with the well control incident.


The Boots & Coots well control team was mobilized to the location to assess the situation and assist the operator with the response plan and operation. The team initially inspected and assessed the condition of the barge and well. Gas flowed into the lake bed and then to the water's surface, where it had caught fire. 

The underwater survey showed the well platform, casing, and tubing strings had been bent and collapsed on the well. Additional debris littered the lake bed surrounding the wellhead, which restricted access and the ability to monitor the wellhead. Furthermore, the turbulence from the gas flowing through the debris disturbed the silt and clay on the lake bed and clouded the visibility around the well.



Well drilled


Feet, total depth drilled


Blowout ocured during workover operation


Feet of the lake bed dredged


Debris removal was performed with the help of divers who recovered part of the collapsed casing during the operation. While monitoring the well conditions and gas flow behavior, plans were updated periodically to mitigate risks and ensure overall operational safety. Fortunately, the flow from the well ceased during the early stages of the debris cleanup operation, which reduced risks tremendously. 

Subsequently, all the debris from the vicinity of the well was removed safely. After removing the debris, a longitudinal crack was observed on the production casing at the base of the lake bed. The integrity of the production casing for any source control operation was questioned. 

The source control procedure required installing a capping stack on the well, so a decision was made to dredge sufficient depths of the lake bed to access competent production casing for the capping operation. A total of 18 feet (5.5 meters) of the lake bed was dredged with special turbine equipment to uncover a sufficient length of competent production casing. 

Boots & Coots designed a modified surface capping stack based on the available 11-inch x 10-meter (33-foot) blowout preventer’s (BOP’s) surface equipment. The compromised casing section was cut to expose a sufficient length of the competent casing for the subsea capping operation. Our specialists oversaw the capping operation and conducted a successful landing to secure the well.

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