Relief well being drilled to control emissions from erupted Diamond well

Workers preparing to dig the relief well at Soownauth Gorakh’s residence in Diamond Housing Scheme. The drilling rig can be seen at left.

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has to drill a relief well to control the emissions from the well that was illegally dug in Diamond Housing Scheme by a resident, its Senior Petroleum Technologist Mitchell Prince says.

Last Wednesday morning, the capped illegal well erupted once more, sending a mixture of gas, sand, clay and water more than 50 feet into the air.

Prince subsequently explained that the pipe which was being used to control the flow of gas became compromised with clay and other materials, which eventually clogged it. After it was blocked, gas started to issue from various parts of the yard.

He quickly mobilised equipment and started to clear the pipes over the weekend. However, when Stabroek News visited the site yesterday, a drilling rig was present and several workers were busy trying to set it up.

Looking over the works was Prince, who explained that while the pipe from the capped well was cleaned, “what is happening is that the well that the guy drilled is producing water and it is washing the stuff out from underneath, so we are going to try to get a relief well in there.”

He added, “We will try to see if we can start it today, not too far from where the other one is and when it’s drilled it’s supposed to stop the water from coming out.”

He explained that there was such a heavy flow of material through the capped well on Wednesday morning because of the amount of water that was coming into contact with it.

“The water is communicating with this well… that’s why you have the heavy flow because the water is bringing up the material along with the gas and it flowed out. Now while that is going on, we find that the pressure was high and when it dropped, sediments started to fall back [in the pipe and] that created a blockage. When it blocked the pipe, the gas started to go through the bagasse and come up at different areas,” Prince explained, while noting that at the same time the well was producing water.

After the new relief well is drilled, it is expected that the pressure of the gas will drop and they will be able to stop it from emitting from other parts of the yard. “We are going to try now to get the well in to pull the water out and then control the whole thing. When the water is out, the pressure drops and we are also trying to get other things like tanks and so on, so even if there is a flow we can deal with the excess water,” he said, while noting that he is unable to give a specific time when they will be finished with the works.

When questioned whether they could’ve planned for such an occurrence, Prince said no and explained that they left the gas flowing from the capped well because they were unsure of what exactly was below the earth.

“We didn’t expect that and were hoping that this one here that we put would’ve been close as possible to what they were drilling because the guy wasn’t telling us anything or the driller,” he said, while stating that they are unsure of how deep they will have to go. 

When the well erupted for the first time, it ejected natural gas, mud and water up to 100 feet in the air. Homeowner Soownauth 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 damages.

The Gorakhs’ immediate neighbours also suffered damage.  

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