What happened at well in Santa Paula?

On August 4 an event at an oil and gas well led to a person being injured and requiring transport to the hospital. 

HERE is the news story in the Ventura County Star. 

Anneliese Anderle a member of the CFROG Advisory Board is a California Registered Petroleum Engineer and a Retired, Senior Oil & Gas Engineer with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). 

Here are her thoughts about the incident based on examining the well files: 


 

F541D1AB2292457C92CB4698738EED32.jpgI believe that California Resources Corporation (CRC) was conducting an idle well test on their well “S.P.S.” 17 (111-02543) judging from the address of 800 South Mission Rock Road in Saticoy.  The well is in an industrial yard (see Google Earth image) and has been idle over 9 years although there was an effort to produce the well in 2013 without adequate results.

 

This is one of two idle wells that CRC has in the Saticoy Field close to that address.  The other well I  “S.P.S.” 6 (111-02533) which has been idled for a longer period.  All idle wells require their casing be tested, particularly in areas where fresh water zones are present.  One technique is the ADA test that uses Nitrogen gas to pressure up the well and force the fluid column down to the perforations.  The object of the test is to hold a constant pressure with the fluid level slightly above the perforations; any pressure loss would indicate a hole in the casing.

This idle well testing is required by the DOGGR but is not an activity requiring a permit, just notification by the operator to the local District office 24 or so hours in advance to allow their field engineer to witness the test.  Since this incident most likely was due to a valve or flange failure at the wellhead and no spill was involved, there was no report to CAL OES.  The DOGGR will require that CRC conduct a root cause failure analysis to determine the source of the failure.  If more information is desired, information about the incident can be requested by PRA to the DOGGR.


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  • A description of the injury to the worker might suggest if an explosion occurred because CRC will be liable and they could want initial official records to detail a less severe incident. In this way they can avoid costly legal actions and bad public relations in the local press.