Despite being capped almost three weeks ago, the Diamond well has erupted again after a pipe likely became clogged with sand and mud, says Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Senior Petroleum Technologist Mitchell Prince.
When Stabroek News visited the site yesterday, gas was spurting from various parts of the yard around the capped well, and Prince was on the scene assessing the situation.
“At this current time the pipe is blocked so the gas has to find its way out. This morning around 1:00 am I was called and was told that it was venting through the pipe,” Prince said.
He explained that gas, clay, sand and water had begun spurting vigorously through the pipe 30 feet into the air. It continued for more than an hour before it stopped and the gas started to escape from other parts of the yard.
“It’s coming out with mud, water and what’s not. So it is a likelihood that sand and mud could’ve clogged the pipe. So when that happened the gas had to find its way out. Because it’s just soil, bagasse and the clay layer that holds the gas. So what you would find is that the gas would pass around the concrete,” Prince explained.
The Senior Technologist further pointed out that to fix the problem they would have to remove the pipe and “clear and flush” it. As of yesterday midday, Prince was making the necessary calls to procure the equipment to carry out the work.
When questioned whether they had planned for something of this nature to happen, Prince replied, “yes and no.”
“The well was compromised and that’s why we kept the valve open, but what happened last night or this morning is because it was producing with sand and clay it got clogged up after sometime,” he noted, while stating that it will not be necessary to add more cement to the well, and that once the pipe is cleaned and cleared then the gas escaping from other parts should stop.
Prince emphasised that even when the well was ejecting the gas along with the clay, sand and water, it was not coming from other parts of the yard and that only started when the pipe became clogged.
He added that they should start the works soon and it should not take long before it is rectified. He said that he is unsure whether a similar situation will recur, and the well would have to be closely monitored from now on.
On July 26, the capping of the exploded well was completed and Acting Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Lt. Col. Kester Craig had explained that it would take about 21 days for the concrete to cure before the finishing touches could be applied.
“When it’s cured they will be able to cap the top, because the gas is still escaping. We used about 80 cubic yards of concrete, and there is still some bubbles and we were told that the bubbles will not stop until the concrete is fully cured, which shows that there’s still pressure underneath,” Craig had explained.
On June 14th, the well erupted, ejecting water, mud and natural gas up to 100 feet in the air. Diamond resident, Soownauth ‘Water Man’ Gorakh, had reportedly dug the well some time ago and was using it for domestic purposes.
Gorakh had claimed, via a statement issued by the Region Four Administration that he and his wife, Tulabhaduree, had attempted to dig the well after experiencing water troubles. The woman has claimed that the family has suffered over $20 million in damage.
The Gorakhs’ immediate neighbours also suffered damage to varying degrees.
While Gorakh may be liable to charges from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Hydrometeorological Office, a source from the latter had explained that they had not decided on what course of action they are going to take against him.