• Accident News For Roughnecks

    Pertamina Evacuates Offshore Gas Platform After 'Well Kick'

    State-owned energy holding company Pertamina recently halted operations and removed workers from a gas drilling platform in the Offshore North West Java (ONWJ) block because of a dangerous "well kick".

    Pertamina evacuates offshore gas platform after well kick.jpgONWJ block operator Pertamina Hulu Energi (PHE) spokesman Ifki Sukarya said the kick, an unplanned and often violent release of gas caused by low pressure in a wellbore, started on July 12 and it became bigger two days after.

    “We had activated the incident management team [IMT] to mitigate the impact. The main priority is to ensure the safety of workers and the local people, as well as to minimize the impact to the environment,” he said in a press statement on Wednesday.

    The well kick occurred in the re-activated YYA-1, located beneath the PHE ONWJ’s offshore platform two kilometers north of Karawang, West Java.

    Separately, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's acting oil and gas director-general Djoko Siswanto said the ministry had sent a team to help deal with the accident.


    West Texas' Permian Leads Rig Count Drop

    Another sign that activity in the booming Permian Basin has at least plateaued for now, the prolific basin in West Texas lost six active drilling rigs last week.

    West Texas Permian leads rig count drop.jpgThe Texas Permian alone triggered the nationwide rig count dip because the overall tally only fell by five rigs, according to weekly data compiled by Baker Hughes, a GE company.  South Texas didn't fare much better with the Eagle Ford shale losing five rigs for the week.

    Small gains in Colorado, Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico - prior to the formation of Tropical Storm Barry - helped avoid a larger nationwide loss in the rig count.

    Texas lost seven rigs overall while no other state lost more than one net rig for the week.

    Of the total tally of 958 rigs, 784 are primarily drilling for oil with the rest seeking natural gas.

    The total rig count remains near its lowest point since the beginning of 2018 as drilling activity has been hit by oil prices that plunged more than 40 percent late last year, tightening corporate budgets reacting Wall Street-preached conservatism, and some industry consolidation.


    A Former Camp For Oilfield Workers Now Holds Hundreds Of Migrant Children

    Three vans with 20 migrant children pulled up to a welcome center at the Carrizo Springs emergency shelter on Friday, as dozens of shelter employees, wearing shirts with Emergency Management emblazoned on the back, stood eagerly to greet them. 

    A Former Camp For Oilfield Workers Now Holds Hundreds Of Migrant Children.jpg“Y’all ready?” one shelter manager asked the group. 

    As the children descended from the bus, employees clapped and shouted words of welcome in both English and Spanish. Some kids smirked, quietly greeting the employees in return. Others cried, walking while looking down at the ground and covering their faces with their hands. 

    After they went inside, the children, who crossed the border alone or with relatives who weren’t their parents, would be greeted and escorted into the welcome center, where medics would take their temperature and give them hand sanitizer and snacks before they watched an orientation video that explained the ground rules for their stay at what was once a housing complex for oilfield workers. 

    The 1,300-bed facility opened on June 30 to alleviate the dangerous overcrowding, prolonged detention, and filthy conditions at some Border Patrol facilities. Around 200 children, all teenagers, are currently housed there. 


    Man Killed In Explosion In El Reno, Oklahoma

    Authorities are investigating after a man was killed in an explosion in El Reno.

    Canyon Oilfield Services.JPGIt happened Sunday just before 7 a.m. at Canyon Oil Field Services near SE 27th and Choctaw.

    Fire officials tell News 4 a man was going to weld on an empty tanker truck in the back of the shop when it’s believed there were flammables in the air, causing a flash explosion.

    The man was killed in the incident and no one else was injured.

    Officials are working to notify next of kin and have not released any other information. 



    Weatherford Files For Bankruptcy Protection

    The oilfield services company Weatherford International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, after struggling to assimilate the companies it bought during a quest for growth, taking on too much debt and fighting to recover from falling oil prices in 2014 that hammered the energy industry.

    Weatherford files for bankruptcy protection.jpgWeatherford, which got its start in 1941 and had grown to become the nation's fourth-largest oil field services provider, reported to the bankruptcy court in Houston that it had as much as $10 billion in liabilities, including $7.5 billion in unsecured bond debt. Weatherford said in its bankruptcy filing that it could not determine the value of the debt from its other largest creditors.

    The other debts involve litigation expenses, according to the bankruptcy filing.

    Weatherford said Friday that nearly 80 percent of its creditors are backing Weatherford's reorganization plan. The company has not made a profit since the third quarter of 2014.

    Weatherford's reorganization plan allows the Swiss company with its principal place of operations in Houston to shed $5.8 billion of its $7.6 billion in long-term debt — in exchange for 99 percent of the stock in the reorganized company. The agreement also provides the company with $1.75 billion in fresh credit and loans.


    Death Highway: A Massive Oil Boom In Permian Basin Made Rural Roads Dangerous

    At one end of Pauline and Joe Ponce’s spacious dining room in Roswell lies a cabinet crowded with photographs and mementos of their son, Michael. An old wrestling match program rests amid snapshots of Michael with his daughter, his parents, his wife.

    Descanso for Michael Ponce on U.S. 285 Pecos Highway south of Loving..jpgPauline lingers beside an image of Michael holding his then one-and-a-half-year-old son, captured in December 2017. “That was taken only two months before Michael died," she said.

    On the morning of Feb. 18, 2018, Michael Ponce, 39, was heading south on 285 near Malaga, a village 15 miles south of Carlsbad, in his white Dodge work truck. It was a Sunday, but like many oil field workers in the booming Permian Basin, to Ponce, who managed a truck fleet for Standard Energy Services, it was just another work day. It would be his last. At 7:22 a.m., a blue semi truck hauling fracking sand — used to help pry oil from fissures deep below ground — crossed the centerline, shearing off the rear wheels of another sand truck and then crashing head-on into Michael’s vehicle.

    Ponce and his passenger, co-worker Fernando Garcia Martinez, 60, died at the scene, according to the accident report.

    Photos of Michael Ponce who died in an accident on US 285 on February 18 2018 crowd a cabinet in his parents dining room..jpgLocals have a new name for the section of U.S. 285 where Ponce and Martinez perished: Death Highway. In 2018, there were 49 crashes (20 involving a heavy truck), up from 31 crashes (15 truck-related) the year before. The deaths of Ponce and Martinez in 2018 followed four fatalities on 285 in 2017, tragic consequences of the biggest oil boom the Permian Basin has ever seen. 

    While this “black gold” rush has turbocharged southeastern New Mexico’s economy and poured more than $2 billion into state coffers in 2018 — much of that going to New Mexico schools — it has also brought new dangers to the area’s small towns and rural farming communities.

    Few people understand the boom’s dark side better than Pauline and Joe Ponce. A year and four months after the accident, they feel his absence every day. 

    “He was the kind of son who’d call 12 times a day,” his father said. How was breakfast, he’d ask. A little while later: How is your day going? Then: Come over for tacos tonight.


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