Only in Texas... Houston area men drill well in backyard! And, yes, beer was involved!!
HOUSTON, Texas – A Sugarland, TX man and his neighbor are in police custody after the duo drilled an unauthorized gas well in the backyard of one of the men in search of a fuel source for their extraordinarily large backyard barbecues.
Delvin Finn, 57, and Tracey O’Shillelagh, 53, both of Sugar Walls Crescent have been charged with unlawful oil and gas exploration, damage to public property, and a number of charges laid by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Securities Exchange Commission also dropped the hammer on the men for concealing proven reserves.
At the time of their arrest, the 2 men were too intoxicated to understand the charges laid against them, and they are each currently being held on $250,000 bail. Although their wives could bail them out, they choose not to in an effort to teach them a lesson for their backyard hi-jinx. Sargent Milfson of the SPD explains:
According to eye witness accounts, Mr. Finn and Mr. O’Shillelagh were seen building a make-shift drilling rig in Mr. Finn’s backyard. They were somehow able to drill into the ground and before they knew it, they hit an oil pool, caused a mess and we descended on the scene shortly thereafter. – Officer Derrick Milfson, Sugarland PD
Sources close to the charged told police that the 2 men had always complained about having to replace the 10 lb propane tanks in their 250,000 BTU barbecues, yet they were reluctant to tie them into a natural gas line because they knew that they could tie in their own gas for less cost. Employed in the oil and gas industry, the men believed that there was an unconventional gas play underneath Sugarland and they were going to use their own specialized software to help them exploit it.
The aftermath from the failed backyard drill
Neighbors describe the rig as being constructed entirely out of materials that the pair acquired from The Home Depot. The 3/4? plywood Kelly floor sat atop a 4?x4? treated frame that also supported a rented portable concrete mixer rigged to act as a make shift top drive system. The shakers were cut from plastic totes and duct tape, while most of the piping was food grade hose and PVC piping. A series of clothes line pulleys and extension cords completed the rig.
Jamie McWendys, a neighbor who also happens to be a drill rig hand, describes what he saw:
I recall one of them saying to the other that they should use pressure treated wood for extra strength and durability, which makes absolutely no effin’ sense.
It looks like they got down a pretty good distance and after a loud pop, the BOP that they had fashioned out of 2? PVC failed at what looked like 13 or so psi and oil just kinda oozed out of their rig onto their yard and then onto the street, into the gutter and so on.
That’s when I called the cops. – Jamie McWendys, neighbor and eye witness
The EPA, who arrived on the scene within minutes, was able to measure the rate at which the oil was spilling into the gutter thanks to a flow meter that the pair had put together with a halved-out 10? pipe and a Walmart digital weather vane. The leaking well flowed at 47 barrels per hour for the 3 hours it took an emergency well site service crew to shut in the well.
The 2 men have their first court appearance scheduled for July 1st, 2014.