Subsea Well Control and Oil Spill Response Industry Task ForcesBriefing Paper
1220 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20005-4070 www.api.org
The oil and natural gas industry continues to cooperate fully with the Bureau of OceanEnergy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the independentpresidential commission as they consider the Gulf oil spill and potential changes inindustry oversight. We have formed four joint industry task forces to examine variousissues related to deepwater drilling, from offshore equipment and offshore operatingprocedures to subsea well control and oil spill response capabilities.The goals of these task forces are clear
to identify and learn from any gaps inoperations or practices that would affect safety; seek options to address gaps throughrecommended practices, procedures, and research and development; and ultimately
improve the industry’s capabilities in safety, environmental performance and spill
prevention and response. In the last 60 years, our industry has safely drilled more than42,000 wells, including 2,000 deepwater wells, in the Gulf without a major incident. Therecommendations from these task forces, combined with the continued cooperation ofgovernment agencies and other stakeholders, should help ensure a similarly strongindustry record for the next 60 years and beyond.
On Sept.7, 2010, the industry released the preliminary findings of two of the four task forces:a Subsea Well Control and Containment task force to review technologies and practices for controlling the release of oil from its source, and an Oil Spill Response task force to reviewexisting spill response processes and technologies. Recommendations from the other twotask forces, covering industry operations and practices, were provided to the Department of the Interior on May 17, 2010.
The Subsea task force is reviewing technologies and practices for controlling the releaseof oil from its source, including equipment designs, testing protocols, research anddevelopment, regulations and documentation.
The Subsea task force has identified five key areas of focus for Gulf of Mexico deepwater operations: well containment at the seafloor; intervention within the subsea well; subseacollection and surface processing and storage; relief wells; and continuing research anddevelopment.The Subsea task force has developed 29 recommendations on specific steps to enhance
the industry’s well control and containment capability, includi
ng 15 immediate action items:1. Establish coordinated industry capability for owning and providing subsea wellcontainment technology and capability through a Containment Company (CC). TheCC will be responsible for building and deploying a rapid response system that willbe able to capture and contain oil in the event of a potential future underwater wellblowout in the deepwater Gulf. The CC will deliver a flexible, adaptable and rapidlydeployable tool kit of containment equipment designed and constructed for rapidsubsea containment; procure, construct, and test the needed equipment; andresearch improved methods and equipment for subsea well control and containment.