USA: BSEE Completes Unannounced Spill Drill to Test Subsea Containment Response

 

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has completed the first unannounced oil spill drill since the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service was completed on Oct. 1. The table-top drill, which took place last week, was led jointly by BSEE in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and the State of Louisiana and tested Stone Energy Corporation’s ability to assess a subsea well control situation and mobilize the proper subsea containment/intervention equipment in a timely manner. A final evaluation will follow when analysis of all documentation is completed.

“The Unannounced Spill Drill Program provides an effective tool that helps us ensure operators are appropriately trained in effective containment deployment and that the necessary equipment and resources are truly in place to implement the approved response plan,” said BSEE Director James Watson. “This program is one of many diverse activities we employ within our agency to ensure operators are able to fully execute their oil spill response plans.”

The Unannounced Spill Drill Program, initiated in 1989, tests an operator’s ability to notify the appropriate entities and personnel in the event of a spill, including federal regulatory agencies, affected state and local agencies, internal response coordinators, and response contractors, and to take appropriate action to implement their response plan. If the decisions made during the drill do not align with the approved oil spill response plan, it provides an opportunity to determine what needs to change in the response process.

Last week’s drill tested Stone Energy Corp. with a scenario that was premised on a hypothetical blowout experienced by one of its deepwater exploratory wells.

The selection of an operator to participate in an unannounced drill is based on such factors as the number of oil producing facilities, the volume of oil production, and proximity to sensitive areas. With an eye to the operator’s current activities, a location is chosen and a spill scenario is developed. Simulated weather conditions provided to the operator during the drill are used to produce a hypothetical trajectory of the spill.

Subsea World News Staff , December 23, 2011;  Image: Helix Well

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UTC 2017

The subsea industry has, as all other parts of the oil & gas industry, been seriously rattled by the most severe downturn in the hydrocarbon energy era. However, the realization of what hit us and actions to be taken to sustain a healthy and profitable future is still on-going – unfortunately with thousands of colleagues paying the price by losing their job as one of the most severe consequences. At this time, there are signs that we have reached bottom in terms of most industry indicators, but few experts expect a sharp recovery. Many seem to believe that a slow recovery is what the industry needs in order to avoid an unsustainable capacity build-up, as seen in the period after the financial crisis. Considering the uncertainty of what the future will bring, this year’s UTC Program Committee have decided to challenge all of us to present ideas, experiences, technological innovations, business models and execution models for how to shape our subsea future and explain how and why subsea is the future.
UTC welcomes abstracts based on the topics listed below. If selected, please consider writing a paper in addition to the UTC presentation. From 2017, UTC papers will be published in an international database.

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