Burgan Field; July '91

Most wells in Kuwait, thankfully, were blown off at the tubing heads, not the casing heads, and capping those blowing wells was facilitated flange to flange. Here the tubing head flange has been unbolted and the head jerked off remotely, to avoid personal injury, probably with a big C-clamp and a dozer. One flange bolt probably broke off in the process so this hand, a Red Adair hand, is using a pneumatic hacksaw to cut the bolt out of the flange. Once this is accomplished a new capping stack can be lowered over the well, with a rig gasket tack welded in place, the stack spun on and simply bolted up, a valve closed, and the well brought back under control.

This is very up close and personal work. The risks of re-ignition in this situation exist, but are fairly low and fairly reasonable. Folks might be interested to know that in air temperatures often 120 degrees F or more in Kuwait, this hand has found a cool place in the desert to be. The updraft from the blowing wells makes it feel pretty good, sometimes even cold, when one is directly underneath the flow.