Oilpatch History

Record Nitro Blast Set Off Monday Afternoon Paper Planning Successful, Blast No Thriller.

There was a dull 'thud', a slight jarring of the earth, and a slug of water shot from the tubing about 15 ft into the derrick. "Casey" Ball and George Scott, expert explosives handlers who were the only humans on the derrick floor ducked for cover. After a moment they waved their arms. "That's all, you've had it.", one yelled. And so we witnessed tbe explosion of 5,000 quarts of pure Nitroglycorino in the West flank No. 2 well in South Turner Valley by far the largest blast ever sot off in an oil well. A group R.C.M.P. guards, press and radio reporters and photographers stood on the road, 300 ft from the "guinea gig" well. Some of us had spent the past five days on that spot and its vicinity. It was a buildup for a let down, so far as sensation seekers were concerned.

The long awaited blast came at 3:10 p.m. Monday, February 4th, on a clear, frosty day. A minute after the blast our group was on the run towards the derrick. There we found more evidence of the tremendous force released and from the engineering viewpoint proof that the 'onpaper planning' over many months had workad out with a remarkable degree of accuracy,

Some 2,000 pounds of glass marbles, about 2,000 pounds of cement and around 1,400 pounds of aluminum and rubber comprised the intricate equipment opposite the limestone at the moment of the blast. On paper, that mass was expected to be blown to particular, and to form a solid bridge or plug opposite and above the blasted formation. On paper, this plug would block the upward passage of the estimated four million cubic foot of gases released at the instant of the explosion, and bring the full force of the blast against its objective formation. On paper, there was no danger of an upward blast shooting the tubing and its load of water out of the hole causing the kind of disaster which on occas ion has marked the 'shooting' of wells with much smaller amounts (up to 1,400 quarts) of nitro. Bulk of earlier oilwell shooting, incidently, has been done with 40 to 60% nitro packing far less of a wallop per quart than the pure product used in the Westflank No. 2 blast. The actual explosion worked out as had been planned. The mass of blasted equipment formed a solid bridge, scaling the explosion within the limestone formation. The Packer set between the casing and the tubing at the top of the lime held, although the force Of the blast heaved the 6,500 ft of stool tubing upward about 18 inches ripping the cable and chain stays supporting the tubing at the surface, kicking out the stool slips mooring the tubing to the casing at the wellhead and snapping off a stool outletpipe at the head of the tubing.

During and after the blast, observers kept a check on guages at neighboring oilwells. There was no immediate reactin in oil or gas volume noted. The shock of the explosion was felt, however, by the observers on those wells shock being particularly noticeable to those standing at the Royal Canadian No. 4 well, throequarters of a mile west and quarter of a mile north of the Westflank No. 2. Shock was slight at the SterlingPacific No. 6 well, within 700 ft northeast of Westflank No. 2.

Immediately after the explosion, a crow under Lloyd Stafford commenced preparations to pull the tubing, drill the bridge, end clean out the formation at Westflank No. 2. This operatin will likely require several days. The Hercules Oilwell Shooting Company operators, rho handled the nitro blast, have started a wellearned holiday.

The P. & N. G. Conservation Board and operators will keep a close chock on producing wells in the vicinity of the blasted well, in the hope that if the explosion broke open undrained sections of the oil and gas bearing limestone neighboring wells may record the effect before cleaning operations are completed at Westflank No. 2.

The nitro blast was financed by OIL WELL 1:97 LOW LTD., to provide initial test of the access of rollshooting developed and patented by Myron Zandmer, the company's president. With cost over $80,000 to date, probably over $100,000 will have been spent before results the 'shot' roll are fully determined. The company owns the Westflank well, but has no stake in neighboring wells which might be benefiteed.

Well Reflow is not greatly concerned whether the blast adds nor, production to their all to neighboring wells, or all provided sufficient benefit is obtained to prove up \the experimental operation. Success would open a now means of Secondary Recovery from Limestone oilfields perhaps add millions of barrels to recoverable reserves of such fields.

The process, is essence, calls for exploding of a huge shot of nitro (if successful at the experiment, later charges might be as large as 20,000 quarts) within the oilbearing formation, in contrast with the usual method of setting off a comparatively small charge of nitro in the borehole. (The method of inserting the charge and exploding it was dotailed in the "Daily Oil Bulletin", Saturday, February