White Point

Across Nueces Bay from Corpus Christi a small community was established in the mid 1800's called, White Point. Most of its inhabitants died of yellow fever in the last 1890's, the area was renamed, Rosita, Spanish for "little flower,"  but it was blown away numerous times by hurricanes and no longer exists. This was an area of numerous stinky gas seeps and wells were drilled in the area of a surface high beginning 1903, sort of on the same basis that Spindletop was discovered the previous year. 

On April 28th, 1915, an unknown operator found a shallow, Miocene-age gas at a depth of 2,500  feet and the well blew out of control. At the time this was believed to be the biggest gas discovery along the Texas Gulf Coast. It blew for five to seven months (reports are sketchy), created a giant crater and the screaming could be heard 40 miles away on a strong SE wind. The column of gas from this well could be seen across the bay in Corpus Christi. 

Judging by the diameter of flow coming out of the well in these two photos, this was a big son of a bitch. I've never seen flow coming out of a well like this and I've seen some big wells and photographs of most of the  biggest blowouts the world has ever known.  The flow from this well does not appear to be limited  by casing restrictions and ripping like this to the atmosphere implies maximum pressure differential, something my late P.E friend, Larry Flak once described to me, or tried to describe, anyway, as critical flow.  The flow velocity in this situation is virtually equal to the speed of sound for the density, pressure and temperature of the gas mass. In other words, the well cannot physically make any more gas  and that gas  cannot physically escape its confines  any faster than it is.

 

The flow "rate" of the great Algerian blowout in 1963, still believed to be the biggest blowout in history, was estimated at a half BCF of gas per day and even it had "orifice" restrictions by way of an intermediate casing string  that Red, Boots and Coots had to cap to, seen in this old Oily Stuff post.  I am betting this well is making way more gas than that at the moment. It would have sucked your ear drums plum out of your head. 

 

This South Texas well was drilled back when Mother Nature still had some bottom hole pressure. I've worked in a few Miocene sands in deep South Texas; lots of this stuff has permeability that you could drive your 3/4 ton pickup through, windshield wipers on, of course.

 

In the early 1930's the famous oil finder, Michael Benedum (1869-1959) operating under the Sinton based company, Plymouth Oil, found oil in deeper Oligocene, Frio sands in East White Point Field south of Taft. There is almost 3,000 feet of stacked Frio sands in White and East White Point Fields, lots of them over-pressured and the cause of some awesome blowouts back in the day. Mobil supposedly spit 8,000 feet of 3 inch OD production tubing out of a well in 1946, right outside of Taft, that  did not  find tarmac until it was  almost a mile away from the well head.   

 

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