Junked Up


Above is a wellhead flange bolt with both nuts still screwed on it that some dumb son a bitch dropped down a well while it was being plugged. You can still see the cement in the threads. I buggered the end of the bolt up drilling on it with a milled tooth bit.


I re-entered this well and drilled up three cement plugs above what the Railroad Commission plugging report said was a cast iron bridge plug (can easily be drilled up with the same milled bit). I rotated on the plug for four hours and got nowhere. I got all kinds of weird stuff up in the returns including red aluminum from a Coke can, pieces of paper that I swear looked like the label on a can of Beenie Weenies, pieces of poka-dot work gloves and iron shavings from this bolt.


I came out of the hole with the bit and drill collars, went back in the hole with a big ass magnet and in three runs snagged this bolt, a tong die, three links of 5/8ths chain, a four foot piece of barb wire and a bunch of damn roofing nails. To be sure the top of the plug was clean I ran a wireline conveyed junk basket and swallowed the broken end of a hammer handle. Man, I was pissed. After all that I was able to drill the CIBP up nicely and I went about perforating a sand that I thought the previous operator had overlooked.


It made water. So, I had to re-plug the well again, with a new bridge plug and cement plugs, just like it had been before I undertook this brain fart, but without the junk.


I don't know why hands throw shit down wells getting plugged. I guess they're just cleaning up and trying to get rid of stuff. Whoever did this might have been cleaning out the back of his pickup.


Sometimes throwing junk down wells can be quite intentional. Here is a cool story...


Humble Oil and Refining (Exxon) took a big lease from the Tom O'Connor family in Refugio County, Texas in the 1950s with a, get this....50% royalty burden. Exxon produced 15MM barrels of oil and 65 BCF of gas from that lease but when they went back to the O'Connors in 1984 to get the royalty reduced, the O'Connors told them to take a hike. The wealthy Texas ranching family then told Exxon they wanted to assume operations of the wells... and Exxon told THEM to take a hike. Out of spite Exxon plugged some 85 wells or so on the lease, still making commercial production.


The O' Connors then leased the same land to an outfit called Emerald and when Emerald starting re-entering all these plugged wells to put them back on line they found them to be so full of junk they could not even get into half of them...Exxon has intentionally sabotaged them.


In the mid 1990's Emerald and the O'Connors filed suit against Exxon because of all this, won, but the Texas Supreme Court ultimately overturned the ruling and the $18MM judgement and Exxon, once again, skated the whole chicken fight. This was back in the day when nobody, I repeat nobody, messed with Exxon in Texas, not even one of, if not THE wealthiest ranching family in S. Texas.


Click on the old well image above to read the full story on Texas Monthly Magazine. It's pretty neat.