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West Vanguard (1985)

A shallow gas blowout occurred on West Vanguard on 6 October 1985 while the rig was drilling an exploration well on the Halten Bank in the Norwegian Sea.

This article was originally published in
Safety - Status and Signals 2012-2013

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Gas flowing up to the topside ignited after 20 minutes, producing an explosion which killed one person and caused great material damage.

This event was the last serious well incident with fatal consequences on the NCS. Afterwards, the industry implemented a number of measures to reduce the risk of shallow gas blowouts.

One of the most important lessons was the need to drill a pilot borehole in order to maintain better control when encountering shallow gas pockets.