Houston area man drills well in backyard, charges laid

The aftermath from the failed backyard drill

HOUSTON, Texas – A Sugar Land, TX man and his neighbour 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 homemade backyard grill. 

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. Sargent Milfson of the SPD explains:

Derick Milfson, copper
Derrick Milfson, copper

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
The aftermath from the failed backyard drill

Neighbours 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 Scotch Pro Strength 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 neighbour who also happens to be a drill rig hand, describes what he saw:

Jamie McWendys, neighbour
Jamie McWendys, neighbour

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, neighbour 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, and although their wives could bail them out in the interim, they choose not to in an effort to teach them a lesson for their backyard hi-jinx.

80 COMMENTS

    • actually… one needs to check one’s deed. if they did not own the mineral rights under their land… this is a clear case of theft from the person/company that did. I am not saying this is the case… but the average person doesn’t realize that just because they bought a home or land that they may not own the oil and gas/mineral rights UNDER that land.

  1. That pesky oil always gets in the way. Seriously, it was good fortune for them that they did not hit a gas pocket. With no well control equipment to depend on, it could have been a disaster. This story is almost unbelievable. These two gents actually worked in the industry, amazing.

  2. You might want to check your facts before posting pictures. This is not from this because this picture is from an Exxon Mobil pegasus line that busted last year in OKLAHOMA. My husband worked on it. You can easily google the bust and see this picture. CHECK YOU FACTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Lauren – I’m a chronic reader on 2P, pretty sure there are no facts to check….not much, if anything these guys write is real….hahahaha, I think you missed the point.

    (And actually, I am aware them pic was from another break, I assume the writers did too, but took some creative license)

  4. Ha, just as I thought… I smelled parody when I was reading this… and the pictures were obvious clues… good job 2P, whoever you are. I love a good joke. Well, as long as it’s not at MY expense… 😉

    Shouldn’t they now pull of some similar prank while in jail, just to ise the cake? You know, detect gold dust in the paint and start prospecting… something as believable…. 🙂

  5. I think they should be no charges against them. But the big oil companies will never let this go. Think what it would happen to oil and gas prices if everyone started doing this and 5-10% hit oil. Then the price at the pump would go back down. Maybe even less than a dollar a gallon. Just think fill ur 25 gallon tank on ur F-150 for $25 dollars. Then we could tell BP to shove there oil u know were.

  6. Under the pic it clearly states ” The aftermath from the failed backyard drill”…

    I googled the spill in Oklahoma…( Exxon ) and that is the same picture on that report.

    Never know if your getting facts or not anymore….

  7. I’m with you, Antoine. Only in the Big T would we get this kind of love on 2P News. Keep on readin’, keep on sharin’, and let’s take this gravy train right on through flavour town, y’all. Whoo Hoooo!!! (I can get away with saying Whoo Hoooo because I am from Calgary, Alberta.)

  8. Its funny I live in Houston area which Sugarland is a suburb and never heard any big news on this situation? I may have missed it, but if true engineer or not these guys are idiots and should have known that in a city like Sugarland they would not get away with it!

  9. Read this article carefully. It will become obvious that this is utter bullshit. This is nothing but a hoax written by a fat bastard in a basement with nothing to do. If they really had oil underneath them REAL specialist s would have gave notice and set up an off-site drill to drill under their house all the while paying them.

    If they truly discovered the well on their own then they’d juust receive a pat on the back, result being the same (and they’d be rich men. This would have been NATIONAL news).

    What makes this obvious BS is that they wouldn’t be charged for ‘hiding’ a hidden reservoir which in its self would be very hard from TRUE oil and gas exploration. It would have also taken them a lot more than three hours to shut it off.

  10. BS Buster – You got me. Bullshit? Yessir. Fat bastard? Yup. Nothing to do? Not really no, but thanks for pointing that out.

    I will finally come out and tell the truth. 2P News is a satirical blog. Sorry we fooled you, but we thought there were enough clues in the article for most people…..obviously we forgot about you.

    Thanks for reading! WE LOVE TEXAS!

    (and for what it’s worth, the 2P News team is comprised of oil and gas geologists, engineers, geophysicists, drillers, and even a roughneck)

  11. I’m calling BS on BS Buster. Were you up alll night trying to dig to the bottom of whether this news story is real or fake?

    The fact that you took the time to really break it down suggests that you, even for a split second, thought it was real. Did you see the picture of the police officer? Come on, man.

  12. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a long
    time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out
    from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep
    up the great job!

  13. Seriously, My family has been in the oil industry for 3 generations. I did this on my 15 acres. All I got was ocean front property. Well at least I am making a fortune for having the only beachfront property in central Louisiana. Yes, it’s for sale if anyone is interested.

  14. . . . do ANY of you morons understand that everything on this website is MADE UP??? Go to the top of this page and click on “About 2P News”, and among other things, you’ll read this:
    “The articles, the people and companies named within [these stories], are all ficticious . . .”

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    • @Vikki: We encourage people to write for the site. We have published a number of articles from ideas that people have submitted – some people even submit entire articles.

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      Darcy