Authorities in the US have launched a “multi-week” live drill to test their ability to deal with a major offshore oil spill. The drill is designed to ensure that in the event of an accident, especially of the kind that resulted in the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010, any leaks can be quickly and thoroughly stemmed.
The drill will involve the deployment of a new capping stack system onto a test wellhead situated 7000 ft below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Jim Watson, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said, “This exercise will help further enhance industry’s preparedness by deploying one important component of their well control capabilities to the sea floor … Testing this equipment in real-time conditions and ultra-deep water depths will help ensure that the Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC: the company that developed the new capping stack) is ready and able to respond in a moment’s notice should the need arise.”
The new capping stack, similar to the one used by BP in 2010, is capable of containing 4.2 million gal. of oil and 200 million ft3 of natural gas per day. Additionally, the new capping stack will be lowered by wire, a method that could prove to be considerably faster than the pipe method used in 2010.
The MWCC is an independent not-for-profit company that was set up by a consortium of large oil companies in response to a government mandate that they show that they were capable of preventing a major offshore spill
Edited from various sources by David Bizley
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