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About the library and the pioneers

Blowout control has always relied on a few experienced individuals. Companies had people who became in-house experts after years in drilling. T. B. O'Brien, Dub Goins and Paul Gassett at Gulf; J. V. Langston and Brudge Elkins at Exxon; Larry Bell at Arco; John Spear and Bill Bingman at Shell USA; Elmo Blount at Mobil; Chuck Allen at Amoco; Jack Combes at Chevron; Mac Laurie at Unocal; Tip Murriell at Conoco; Coon Van Beelen at Royal Dutch Shell; Germain Espagne at Elf Aquitaine; Renzo Cesaroni at Agip and others performed this function worldwide. They were called to manage operations and work with long-time pioneer firefighters from H. L. Patton and Myron Kinley in the 1920s and '50s to present-day well control and blowout experts. Individually, their 40+ years of experience gained during tremendous industry technical revolution may never be equaled. Unfortunately, most have retired, leaving an experience gap.

Only governments spend as much money as quickly and willingly as operators with a well on fire. Over the years, emergency expenditures helped develop some very sophisticated blowout control technology. This and future articles will provide readers with basic knowledge concerning fundamental blowout intervention, including corporate philosophy, strategy, planning, the latest technology, techniques and developments for dealing with catastrophic well failures, and blowout control management.