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Then they said







This page is long and rambles on a bit but it has a fundamental point to make at the end but to understand it you have to take the time to read it all. In the light of the present conflict in the Gulf I point it out to the press. This website can be used without copyright but please give me credit for the content. Merlyn Tel 01384 374829 This line added 22/3/2003. E&OE DYSLEXIC.





Having received in March 1991 a rejection from

Black & Decker (Tucker Fasteners) to take a licence to

develop on "MMBOLT " THE revolutionary new

anchor bolt I had demonstrated in the January and

mindful that DESERT STORM could soon end with

KUWAIT on FIRE, I applied my mind to the potential

problem of putting out oil well fires. It will be helpful to

explain now a little about MMBOLT, as this formed the


A burning oil well head stopper conceived by me and developed by colleagues,

(more about them later on)

MMBOLT works on a brand new unique concept. The coned washer forms the basic unique patented principle of the MMbolt. It starts flat at 18mm in diameter and when it is dished the diameter shrinks to a maximum of 15.95mm. The maximum diameter of an 8mm MMBOLT is 15.95mm so it can be inserted into a 16mm hole drilled into concrete or the like. When the washer  is then re-flattened by compression transmitted by plastic sleeve from nut, it wedges itself and undercuts the hole.

The conical washer is but one part of an MMBOLT and although my product is an anchor bolt the sort used to hold down fans, machines and the like in factories, it was easy for me to imagine the same thing a lot lot bigger. Imagine this dished washer 6 inches diameter and instead of

the bolt, a pipe 3" diameter and then scale up the rest. The principle is precisely the same and it worked beyond belief standing and retaining in tests 800 BAR pressure. The drawings show MMBOLT and its support  washer. For a full example of how and why MMBOLTS  work see



All the above was contemplated because, based on the opinions of the scientists, THE MEDIA was doing a good job of suggesting that the threats of Saddam Hussein to blow up all the Kuwait oil wells, if implemented, would result eventually in



As we know it.


Knowing nothing about oil wells (other than a hole is drilled down into the earth and a pipe transports oil to the surface controlled by valves) But wanting to help SAVE THE WORLD and possibly make some money at the same time I needed to know what the actual size of the pipes would be in KUWAIT, I made many phone calls and and obtained much literature on oil wells and discovered that it is common to have oil flowing from outlet pipes that are mainly 6"dia at the surface in KUWAIT at pressures varying from 400/700 psi in the BURGAN fields in the south to 1000/2000 psi at RAWDATAYN fields in the north. As far as I was concerned that was all I needed to know at that stage.

Having been self employed most of my life in the construction industry and knowing and having many friends and contacts with the different skills needed to contemplate such an undertaking, but not having any large capital I put together firstly a team of 12 listed below, Nicknamed


1.  ROBERT Merlyn (Bob)               That's me       Organiser

2.  REGINALD (Reg)             Brother          Engineer

3.  MARGARET                    The wife          Secretary

4.  BARRY                             Mate               Legal

5.  VINCENT                         Brother          Medic

6.  MICHAEL(Mick)            Seconded        Machinist

7.  PAUL                                Friend            Team Leader

8.  KAY                                  Employee       Ass. Secretary

9.  MARTIN (Snowy)            Mate               GOFER

10.CHRISTOPHER              Seconded        Worker

11. STEFON                          The Son          Worker

12. VICTOR (VIC)                Mate               Worker


As a tribute to all of them I continue with the

remaining list that made up


who are

13.CARL                14.MELVYN         15.SHAUN             16.ROBERT

17.RUSSELL         18.ROYSTON        19.ANTHONY       20.DAVID  21.ANDREW         22.SEAN                 23.PAUL                24.ROBERT   25.ROBERT          26. EDWARD        27.ALAN                28.WAYNE   29.HUGH               30.MILES              31.WAYNE            32.MARTIN   33.JOHN                34.SEAN                 35.WAYNE            36.STEPHEN


All of them had agreed to (AND DID) dedicate their spare time and energy to assist in this venture.

We would share in any profits at the end of the day.


Having this amount of  manpower was imperative to organize everything needed for such a vast undertaking and it  allowed me to delegate   to the ones most able, important jobs i.e. injections for TB, Cholera etc, passports and visas for all 36, cargo flights, equipment, fireproof clothing, flights and how to get me to Kuwait, manufacture special equipment,  blood tests for the 36, accommodation in Kuwait for me, transport in Kuwait, etiquette in Kuwait, contacting other organizations involved, offshore bank accounts, first aid lessons for all 36, etc.etc.  They also undertook the MAJOR TASK of manufacturing and testing



Whilst all this was going on my job was to obtain a contract to put some burning oil wells out. Easier said than done! It proved very difficult to even find out who was in charge.  Many many phone calls and faxes to SAUDI ARABIA, USA, GERMANY,LONDON, GLASGOW, I even got hold of the only phone number still working at that time in KUWAIT, in

fact as it turned out they all thought they were in charge. But none seemed to have the authority to implement things. It was decided the only thing to do was for me to go to KUWAIT. With a little ingenuity I obtained a visa and at the expense of the mortgage I bought an air ticket for 9/5/91. There were no direct flights at that time so I would have to spend one night in the departure lounge in CAIRO but on arrival was made to pass through customs with all my heavy luggage and found myself alone in a very strange country.  Deciding to make the most of it and having found a driver that spoke pretty good English I engaged the services of a taxi for

the night enjoying my first encounter with the local custom of barter.  The deal was for what in sterling was £20 plus a meal and drinks  and he would take me to a club very near the pyramids at GIZA and when light I would have the opportunity of being one of the few to see the sphinx at sunrise on horseback or camel. When we did reach the drab looking club and my white knuckles had returned to normal, he said the luggage would be safe in the boot and we went in.


He rabbited on in Arabic to who I presumed was the owner and we were led into a large room full of men of course all dressed in robes. A group was playing on a small stage, I don‘t know what they were playing I think

it was cricket, Only joking I should have said. A group of musicians were playing music on a small stage, nice if you like that sort of noise. A waiter arrived, again Bill rabbited on. Subsequently, I was served my single whisky and lemonade and Bill got a large scotch and soda which went down in one.  Bill then got up and said he was off to the loo and as he went, on came a belly dancer.  I was engrossed with this rather busty half naked lady shaking her tasselled titties and wobbling the stone in her belly button and it wasn‘t until she had gone off I realised that Bill had not returned.  Fearing he had absconded with my luggage left in his boot I headed for the car park but on entering the so called lobby I found him at the bar talking to the barman with two empty spirit glasses by him. He obtained more drinks for both of us, I of course paid and we went back to our table.  I have just become aware that it's turning into a boring novel,  I apologise and I will continue only with the relevant facts. I must say though the Sphinx at sunrise on horseback was different.


I caught my flight that I thought would take me directly to KUWAIT but actually landed in BAHRAIN first. Three hours later we took off again and I was finally on my way. It's a relatively short leg in the journey and would not take long.  I was looking out of the window and noticed in the distance some storm clouds on the left. The plane was moving slightly right

and directly below was the now usual view of the desert deserted.  I then realised they weren't storm clouds, it was black and I mean BLACK smoke and we were now heading straight for it. At this point it got darker and darker inside the plane until you could see nothing below at all and we were descending for an awful long time before we very suddenly emerged from the black mass to see below us the sea. The plane then turned heading back into the smoke, now you could see distinctly through the smoke the fires from each and every oil well. It was, and remains in my mind, an awesome and frightening sight.  Having landed and taken my first breath of the foul smelling air and the taste of greasy sulphur dioxide that was all around, I was somewhat amazed at the attitude of the KUWAIT officials at the passport control. There seemed  to be absolutely no sense of the urgency I was  feeling. I travelled the 30miles by battered taxi  going through many armed roadblocks and passing hundreds of burned out or blown up IRAQUI  tanks and military vehicles,


When I arrived at the camp  I was issued with an army landrover and khaki shirts and trousers and told I must wear them and it would help me  get through the many roadblocks.  I felt I was back in the Territorial Army, that 4years as corporal and troop leader could now be useful.  It also proved very useful in the next ten days that I made contact with a French sergeant who gave me a lesson on the munitions to watch out for on my travels especially the unexploded cluster bombs dropped by our guys and the yanks, they were everywhere. My first excursion out was very enlightening, At roadblocks, because I was in a BRITISH ARMY land rover and in a uniform of sorts I was waved through bypassing the queues with all the guards saying "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK

YOU FOR SAVING KUWAIT". I felt humble but very proud of



The journey took me along the infamous MUTTLY GAP (that‘s what I called it) that was where the last IRAQI convoy was halted,  I wended my way through the mile or so of abandoned vehicles heading for AWDATAYN oilfields in the north, I wanted to get close to wellhead fires and familiarise myself with the workings and installations and had reasoned that the fires closer to KUWAIT would be the priority and that

no one would be working in the north being a distance from KUWAIT .


The reasoning proved correct and on the long journey I saw only an American convoy loading tanks and absolutely no one or any living thing around the Rawdatayn oilfields so I was able to investigate and video unhindered. Having seen in the now deserted and dismantled building the fittings and equipment and videotaped from particular reference points I continued north. The main road I was travelling is a duel carriageway way with a wide central reservation of loose sand with few turning points, I had travelled some distance deep in thought when I saw about 200 yards of to the left piles of blue plastic sheeting and a couple of men dressed in uniforms carrying guns standing by the road who as per usual saluted and waved me on.  A few hundred yards on some more soldiers again waved me on past some flattened buildings, there were some mud type huts off to the right and a few trees. I was startled by a car that sped past out of nowhere at great speed only to slow about 100 yards in front matching my speed. At this point I saw the Dormobile type vehicle behind me also matching  my speed.  I went faster, they went faster, I slowed, they slowed, I had a four wheeled drive vehicle, they didn't. I  turned left across the central reservation, they couldn't, I turned left onto the other carriageway heading back flat out, I don‘t know what they did. I had driven into IRAQ, I now didn't even slow down as I flew past the soldiers and  the now recognised blue tented REFUGEE camps.


One of the intentions for the visit to KUWAIT was to see if there would be a chance to utilise existing equipment, I managed to find a US army camp in the middle of the desert merely by following the new tracks made in the sand and persuaded them not to destroy all the  captured IRAQI mobile generators, water bowers, air conditioners etc, the map ref was noted for retrieval when required.


Another trip into the desert this time to the BURGAN fields where the existing fire fighters were working supplied me with further (discreetly videod) insights.  When I questioned some of the men I was told that the majority of wells were being capped with concrete, a slightly quicker process and meant that later a new well would have to be sunk

(more work for them),


Approaches to these and even the KUWAIT oil company men direct, all proved fruitless.  They insisted that officials had not yet returned to Kuwait this soon after the war and the ones I needed to see were in London UK at the KUWAIT  Petroleum Task Force.

I returned home 10 days after arriving and made numerous attempts to contact the Task Force but kept getting put off until I was informed that NOW the officials had returned to Kuwait.


The next mortgage repayment went towards another air ticket and on the 10/6/1991 I flew out again intent on seeing THE OIL MINISTER personally. I did. We had coffee together, we talked but to no avail, I was

told that the Kuwait people were beholden to the Americans because they had liberated Kuwait.  They are the  experts and the oil well fires were all in their hands.

I find it easier to think when I am driving so I headed north to the place in the desert where that equipment had been left because I knew the camp I was staying at could make use of a generator and a couple of air conditioning units.  Finding the spot in the middle of the desert where the equipment was proved difficult.  It was very very hot (I could tell because the tape cassettes on the dashboard had melted) and I had to use the map

reference because the wind had blown away all tracks. Before when I followed the fresh tracks in the sand I knew there could be no munitions, NOW there were no tracks so I had to be very careful. I did find the place, (obviously I missed all the landmines and unexploded cluster bombs) and with great difficulty loaded up a generator, pausing in the extreme heat only to write my name in the sand (as only boys can do) before heading back, again passing the RAWDATAYN oil field. Looking way over to the left at all the oilwells on fire something was different and I couldn't figure what, so I decided to stop and make another video as I had done on my first visit.



I still couldn't figure out what the difference was. The next day I revisited the BURGAN field.  It was then I knew what was different.  It was not one thing, it was a combination of things, the height of the flames, the roar

of the fires, the tonal noise, the smell, the feeling of power, ALL were SMALLER than my first visit and It suggests to me that what happened WAS.

To understand WHAT, you need to know basically HOW an oil well is




1 drill 36" hole down a distance in earth

2 put in 36" pipe

3 drill smaller hole inside that pipe and down deeper

4 put in another pipe and concrete between the two

5 drill yet smaller inside pipe 2 and down deeper still

6 continue until 6"or 4" pipe ½ mile down into oil laden strata

7 to increase oil flow shoot bullet holes in bottom section of pipe

8 take care to control flow of oil,




1.     Let Saddam Hussein blow valves off because uncontrolled flow  will facilitate the transport of bedrock and gunge to the perforated bottom inlet section resulting in blockages and less or no flow,


That‘s all there was to it.

Mother Nature

did it for us mainly.