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Oilfield Blowout Photos, Rig Fires and Wild Well Photos  Texas Oilfield Photos

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Oilfield Blowout Photos, Accidents, Mishaps and Oil Rig Fires

The following are some of the photos of oilfield blowouts and mishaps that I have collected. Most have been sent to me by e-mail by co-workers and friends and have been circulating in the public domain for some time with no attribution to the author. If any of the following photos belongs to you an you want it removed, please e-mail me here: Contact    Note that none of the following photos is available for purchase or use.

Oilfield blowouts are far less common than they were in the early days of the oilfield, thanks to better drilling mud programs, better BOP (blowout protectors) and safety drills to use them when a kick is detected. However an under - balanced situation, (where the mud weight is not sufficient to hold back pressures that may be encountered while drilling,) can still lead to a blowout if the BOP is not employed quickly enough.  An oil rig blowout may happen underground as well, although this rarely has the same dramatic effect as a surface oilfield blowout.

Why Oil Rig Blowout Accidents Happen.

Blowouts happen when a pressurized underground zone is encountered while drilling, and the weight of the drilling mud is insufficient to hold back the pressure. Natural gas and fluid then travels from the highly pressurized zone to an under-pressured zone, whether it is the surface or a less pressurized zone above it that has already been drilled through. In the case of a "kick", the BOP can be shut in and a blowout situation prevented. If the pressure is extreme, or the crew is caught off guard when drilling under-balanced, a kick can result in a blowout.

The threat of oilfield blowouts and wild well fires is very real. Mud engineers have to constantly monitor their mud weight to be ready for pressurized zones. The man on the mud pits must monitor mud weight coming out and going in, and the trip tank needs to be watched for gain. If the level in the trip tank, where displaced fluid goes when drill pipe is put into the hole, is greater than the displacement of the drill pipe, the well may be about to take a kick.  Do Not Copy This Page

Drillers must keep the hole full when removing pipe from the well, since the weight of the whole fluid column, or  hydrostatic pressure, helps hold back gas from pressurized zones entering the well bore. A good mudlogger can help prevent a blowout by interpreting indications of higher pore pressure, such as heaving shale and increases in connection gas, drilling breaks and other clues.


desert oil rig fire photo

Oil rig blowout in Algeria. The drilling rig has been burned to the ground.

turkmenestan oil rig blowout photo piper alpha oil rig fire

 Oil rig blowout in Turkmenistan, No fire thank goodness.                                              Above Right, Piper Alpha oil rig fire in the North Sea.

One of the deadliest oilfield blowouts in history occurred on the Piper Alpha in the North Sea,  which was operated by Occidental Petroleum. One hundred and sixty men perished as a result of the explosions and fire on board the Piper Alpha, including two operators of a Fast Rescue Craft. Sixty two men survived, mostly by jumping into the sea from the high decks of the platform.

inland barge rig fire photo 

Inland barge oil rig blowout.

Canadian oil rig blowout.  nabors rig blowout fire. oil rig burning.rig fire, pulling unit photo, rig burning to ground. offshore rig on fire, blowout in Egypt

Brooks Alberta oil rig  blowout, truck rig.                                                                           Temsah offshore oil rig blowout, Egypt.

oil rig burned due to blowout, rig fire oil rig burning, on fire.

 Celtic drilling rig blowout.                                                                                                                                                      1992 Inland waters oil rig blowout, U.S.

texas oil rig blowout photo  inland barge oil rig fire photo

East Texas drilling rig blowout.                                                                             Offshore drilling rig blowout.

Below,  Offshore rig blowout. An oilfield blowout can cause a semi-submersible oil rig or drilling ship to sink since the gas bubbles cause the rig to loose buoyancy.

offshore blowout photo oil rig on fire crashing oklahoma

dangerous oil rig fire and blow out in the oilfield oil rig in texas on fire and burning

oil drilling, rig fire drilling rig blowing out, oil rig fire

Oil rig blowout and fire.  TRG Rig 131  A tragic situation but a great photo of a drilling rig crashing and burning after an oilfield blowout in Oklahoma. Photographer C. Keevert.

Below, An Interesting Transformation After an Offshore Rig Blowout.

Below is a photo of the Ocean Odyssey blowout in the U.K, in 1988. A blowout of an offshore rig is even more dangerous than a drilling rig on land. The only escape besides the lifeboat is often a freezing sea, as was the case in the Piper Alpha accident where so many lives were lost. Below,  the oil rig Ocean Odyssey was towed in after the fire, and refurbished into a satellite launching station. The first photo is of the oil rig fire, the second is of an offshore satellite launch from an oil rig reborn as a spaceport.

north sea oil rig fire and blowout offshore oil rig satellite launch  Hellfighters DVD

For You tube videos of oil drilling rig blowouts click here.   Oil Rig Blowout Videos

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