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Title: Independent Technical Investigation of the Puna Geothermal Venture Unplanned Steam Release, June 12 and 13, 1991, Puna, Hawaii

Abstract

On June 24, 1991, a third-party investigation team consisting of Richard P. Thomas, Duey E. Milner, James L. Moore, and Dick Whiting began an investigation into the blowout of well KS-8, which occurred at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) site on June 12, 1991, and caused the unabated release of steam for a period of 31 hours before PGV succeeded in closing in the well. The scope of the investigation was to: (a) determine the cause(s) of the incident; (b) evaluate the adequacy of PGVs drilling and blowout prevention equipment and procedures; and (c) make recommendations for any appropriate changes in equipment and/or procedures. This report finds that the blowout occurred because of inadequacies in PGVs drilling plan and procedures and not as a result of unusual or unmanageable subsurface geologic or hydrologic conditions. While the geothermal resource in the area being drilled is relatively hot, the temperatures are not excessive for modem technology and methods to control. Fluid pressures encountered are also manageable if proper procedures are followed and the appropriate equipment is utilized. A previous blowout of short duration occurred on February 21, 1991, at the KS-7 injection well being drilled by PGV at a depth of approximatelymore » 1600'. This unexpected incident alerted PGV to the possibility of encountering a high temperature, fractured zone at a relatively shallow depth. The experience at KS-7 prompted PGV to refine its hydrological model; however, the drilling plan utilized for KS-8 was not changed. Not only did PGV fail to modify its drilling program following the KS-7 blowout, but they also failed to heed numerous ''red flags'' (warning signals) in the five days preceding the KS-8 blowout, which included a continuous 1-inch flow of drilling mud out of the wellbore, gains in mud volume while pulling stands, and gas entries while circulating muds bottoms up, in addition to lost circulation that had occurred earlier below the shoe of the 13-3/8-hch casing.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
882452
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; BLOWOUTS; CLOTHING; DRILLING; DRILLING FLUIDS; GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES; HAWAII; INJECTION WELLS; LOSSES; RECOMMENDATIONS; STEAM; Geothermal Legacy

Citation Formats

Thomas, Richard, Whiting, Dick, Moore, James, and Milner, Duey. Independent Technical Investigation of the Puna Geothermal Venture Unplanned Steam Release, June 12 and 13, 1991, Puna, Hawaii. United States: N. p., 1991. Web. doi:10.2172/882452.
Thomas, Richard, Whiting, Dick, Moore, James, & Milner, Duey. Independent Technical Investigation of the Puna Geothermal Venture Unplanned Steam Release, June 12 and 13, 1991, Puna, Hawaii. United States. doi:10.2172/882452.
Thomas, Richard, Whiting, Dick, Moore, James, and Milner, Duey. Mon . "Independent Technical Investigation of the Puna Geothermal Venture Unplanned Steam Release, June 12 and 13, 1991, Puna, Hawaii". United States. doi:10.2172/882452. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/882452.
@article{osti_882452,
title = {Independent Technical Investigation of the Puna Geothermal Venture Unplanned Steam Release, June 12 and 13, 1991, Puna, Hawaii},
author = {Thomas, Richard and Whiting, Dick and Moore, James and Milner, Duey},
abstractNote = {On June 24, 1991, a third-party investigation team consisting of Richard P. Thomas, Duey E. Milner, James L. Moore, and Dick Whiting began an investigation into the blowout of well KS-8, which occurred at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) site on June 12, 1991, and caused the unabated release of steam for a period of 31 hours before PGV succeeded in closing in the well. The scope of the investigation was to: (a) determine the cause(s) of the incident; (b) evaluate the adequacy of PGVs drilling and blowout prevention equipment and procedures; and (c) make recommendations for any appropriate changes in equipment and/or procedures. This report finds that the blowout occurred because of inadequacies in PGVs drilling plan and procedures and not as a result of unusual or unmanageable subsurface geologic or hydrologic conditions. While the geothermal resource in the area being drilled is relatively hot, the temperatures are not excessive for modem technology and methods to control. Fluid pressures encountered are also manageable if proper procedures are followed and the appropriate equipment is utilized. A previous blowout of short duration occurred on February 21, 1991, at the KS-7 injection well being drilled by PGV at a depth of approximately 1600'. This unexpected incident alerted PGV to the possibility of encountering a high temperature, fractured zone at a relatively shallow depth. The experience at KS-7 prompted PGV to refine its hydrological model; however, the drilling plan utilized for KS-8 was not changed. Not only did PGV fail to modify its drilling program following the KS-7 blowout, but they also failed to heed numerous ''red flags'' (warning signals) in the five days preceding the KS-8 blowout, which included a continuous 1-inch flow of drilling mud out of the wellbore, gains in mud volume while pulling stands, and gas entries while circulating muds bottoms up, in addition to lost circulation that had occurred earlier below the shoe of the 13-3/8-hch casing.},
doi = {10.2172/882452},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1991},
month = {Mon Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1991}
}

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