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Oil Rig Blowouts

What is a blowout?

The dangers in the everyday life of an offshore oil rig worker are many without the added possibility of a blowout while drilling. If their job is piloted correctly a blowout could occur and the consequences could be catastrophic for all of the crewmembers on board. A blowout is when natural gases or oils are releases from underground and the pressure control systems fail and are unable to control them. In attempts to prevent this from happening, they created pressure control equipment in the 1920s. A Blowout preventer, or BOP, is used to help the gas from rising up to quickly up to the surface, otherwise it could cause an explosion on the oil rig.

What causes a blowout?

There are several different things that could cause a blowout to occur. The first and most common is the reservoir pressure. Crude oils such as petroleum are sometimes uncontrollably released from beneath the Earth's surface, these flammable liquid have higher pressures that those up at the surface. The hydrocarbons first become trapped in reservoirs, or porous rocks, as they make their way through the rock layers and oil drill workers occasionally come across these high-pressure reservoirs as they are drilling into the ocean floor.

Another cause of a blowout is what drillers refer to as "the kick." When drilling for oil in deep surfaces you must have fluid pressure control so that you can balance the hydrostatic pressure. Oil rig drillers do this by using A formation kick drilling mud, but sometimes the pressures are incorrectly balanced and the natural oils and gases begin to make their way into the wellbore and up the annulus or inside the drill pipe. If the blowout preventer is not activated early enough or they do not close the pipe fast enough after a kick has been detected, then a blowout may occur once those natural fluids reach the surface.

Types of Blowouts

Unfortunately, a blowout can transpire during any part of the drilling phase, or even before. There are three main types of blowouts that occur which include surface blowouts, subsea blowouts and underground blowouts. Unfortunately, some blowouts are too powerful that they cannot be subdued from the surface. With cases of this nature, they must input a relief well down a greater depth that can introduce kill fluids and counteract the pressure of the natural fluids.

With surface blowouts, the force of the blowout forces the drill string out of the well and the rising fluids and gases cause damage to the oil rig itself. The escaping fluids might also carry debris such as rocks, mud, sand and other materials. The heat of the friction or even a small spark can act as an ignition source and result in a blowout. Subsea blowouts are quite different because the wellhead is located on the bottom of the seabed, along with the blowout pressure control equipment. The deeper the blowout, the more difficult it is to deal with. The Deepwater Horizon blowout is a perfect example of this. That was a subsea blow out that occurred in a water depth of 5,000 feet, which is the deepest one to date. Lastly, there are underground blowouts which are caused by higher-pressure fluids reaching lower-pressure zones inside the wellbore. This typically occurs when the fluids are coming from deeper to shallower areas and they can be quite problematic to keep under control and they must be carefully monitored.

Injured due to an offshore blowout? Take legal action today!

If your oil rig platform experienced the traumatic effects of a blowout, you owe it yourself to seek full compensation for your injuries. No matter the extent of your injuries, an oil rig explosion attorney from Arnold & Itkin LLP can help you seek justice and go up against even the largest oil drilling companies on your behalf. We serve offshore oil rig workers nationwide in their injury and wrongful death claims and we are driven to produce results. Our legal team has extensive experience and is well-versed in maritime law and the Jones Act. Our lawyers demand justice for injured seamen just like you. We have recovered billions of dollars.

If there is no recovery for your case, there is no fee, so call today for your free case evaluation and learn how we can help you after a blowout accident.

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