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Atlantic No, 3 was dogged from the very
beginning. The well was spudded January 21, 1948;
300 ft, of 15 in. hole drilled and 10¾ in. casing
run to 296 ft. This was insufficient surface casing
for the location because at total depth, the hole
was still in unconsolidated sands and glacial
material. There is some question of an adequate
cement job; only 150 sacks were used. Additional
cement (7 sacks) was batched in to fill the annulus
on January 23. There must have been enough cement to
bond otherwise the wild well should have hydraulicked the casing out of the hole later on.
Atlantic's (G.P.'s) boilers were fired with Viking
gas, augmented at times by solution gas from the
Atlantic tank farm, Nevertheless, drilling was
slowed by periodic shortages, When the D-2 was
reached, coring and testing revealed non-porous
dolomite. lt was thirty-four days from move-in to
reaching the D-3 on February 18.
electric log was run at 5,267 ft., just into the
D-3. This was to provide a valuable guide later on.
The SP and Normal curves indicated the presence of
gas in the Viking sand (there were no sonic or
radio-activity logs in those days!). As "Tip" Moroney
was to reflect many years later: "We may not have
had a blow-out if the Viking had not been
gas-bearing".1 The D-2, being non-porous, was not
a factor in later operations.
To give a proper
perspective of the D-3 reservoir at Atlantic No. 3,
it was encountered at -2,909 ft. subsea2 (5,265
ft. drilled depth), some 71 ft. above the known
gas/oil interface of -2,980 ft. (5,336 ft. , drilled
depth). The program called for drilling to 5,354 ft.
and a long string to be hung at 5,349 ft. (-2,995
ft. subsea). This would leave 5 ft. of open hole
"barefoot", which would be In the middle of the
oil zone. Successful completions at Atlantic No. 1
and 2 had used that technique to eliminate
perforating and cut down on acidizing costs. The
oil/water interface was at -3,018 ft. subsea (5,376
ft., below surface) but no hole would normally be
drilled that deep.
Drilling had only just resumed
after logging when the mud level in the hole dropped
out of sight, despite the use of gel-flake, Sawdust
and oats. The D-3 was showing signs this would be no
Ordinary "lost circulation situation" Other D-3
holes in the Leduc field had been trouble makers
(even Atlantic No. 2) but circulation had been
restored in a matter of hours. Home-Leduc No. 1 had
a as blow-out but Ralph Will killed it and ran 7 in.
production casing "right now". This meant he also
had to run a 5 1/2 in. liner and cement it at the
desired completion depth. This procedure would have
been Atlantic No. 3's safe alternative.
path lay in trying to maintain circulation and "make
a run for it", with the hope that the remainder of
the D-3 section would not be so porous and
circulation could be maintained to casing point.
noted in Chapter 5, the contract stated that "lost
circulation was Owner's (Atlantic/McMahon's)
responsibility after 72 hours",3 Bill Warnick,
G.P.'s mud man, recalls Cody Spencer re-assuring
him: "Don't worry about it, we'll be on day work in
the morning." Had Frank McMahon, as Owner, wanted to
be absolutely sure of a satisfactory completion, he
could have ordered Spencer to run the long string
then and run a liner at total depth, in spite of the
extra cost of the liner and the cement job.
Spencer warn McMahon of the danger? Did McMahon
insist on Spencer trying to make a run for it so as
to avoid the cost of the liner? Spencer was
certainly enough of a gambler and he may have lulled
Frank into a false sense of security.
reached was to try to re-establish circulation and
make hole. Partial circulation was restored with
sawdust, oats, gel-flake and several cement plugs
but no hole was made because full circulation could
not be maintained.