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Subsea Well Control and Oil Spill Response Industry Task Forces Briefing Paper - 9.7.10

Subsea Well Control and Oil Spill Response Industry Task Forces Briefing Paper - 9.7.10

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Published by Energy Tomorrow
The oil and natural gas industry continues to cooperate fully with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the independent presidential commission as they consider the Gulf oil spill and potential changes in industry oversight. We have formed four joint industry task forces to examine various issues related to deepwater drilling, from offshore equipment and offshore operating procedures to subsea well control and oil spill response capabilities.
The oil and natural gas industry continues to cooperate fully with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the independent presidential commission as they consider the Gulf oil spill and potential changes in industry oversight. We have formed four joint industry task forces to examine various issues related to deepwater drilling, from offshore equipment and offshore operating procedures to subsea well control and oil spill response capabilities.

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Published by: Energy Tomorrow on Sep 08, 2010
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Subsea Well Control and Oil Spill Response Industry Task ForcesBriefing Paper
 –
9.07.10
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.
 
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2. Ensure that a lower marine riser package (LMRP) can be removed from lower blowout preventer (BOP) using a surface intervention vessel and remotely operatedvehicle. This will allow access to the mandrel on top of the BOP and the installationof subsea containment assembly.3. Ensure effective methods to release LMRP without riser tension.4. Remove damaged or non-functioning BOP stack to allow installation of a new BOPon the wellhead housing, or the subsea containment assembly (Note: this capabilityis available now).5. Regain full control of BOP stack by pulling and repairing the LMRP/pods andrerunning the LMRP (Note: this can be done now). Research and develop ways toregain control over all important BOP functions in the case where the LMRP isdamaged and cannot be removed and in cases where the LMRP is removed butcannot be repaired and re-run.6. Have CC acquire and maintain a full set of crossover spools, connectors and hubcombinations.7. Have CC design and construct subsea connectors to fully seal, connect and containdamaged connector profiles and casing stubs. Casing stubs will use BOP ramtechnology for connection and sealing.8. Coordinate with the Equipment Task Force to ensure methods and equipment areproviding effectiveness and reliability in delivery of control fluids and control to BOPsand ROVs.9. Coordinate with API RP 96 workgroup to ensure deepwater well design includes asystem evaluation of the design and material for subsea well head support and therelease control methodology of the LMRP.10. Coordinate further with API RP 96 workgroup to ensure they incorporate theimportance of full shut-in capability into the containment capabilities.11. Have CC deliver a modular solution for capturing, processing and transportingproduction from subsea wells that need to be produced until well control is complete.This system will be adaptable to water depths up to 10,000 feet and include free-standing production risers to move production to the surface away from the area of the well.12. Develop a historical document of marine well control and containment.13. Via focused workshops, determine and make a recommendation on the mosteffective methods and information that should be included in well plans regardingrelief well drilling planning.14. Undertake desk research to revisit published work on relief wells.15. Develop a white paper on the feasibility and desirability of pre-drilling relief wells(Note: this task is complete).
 
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The Oil Spill Response Task Force has produced an assessment of the
industry’s
entirespill response system and identified areas for improvement and additional research. Inparticular, it has made specific suggestions to improve the speed with which spillresponse can be ramped up, improvements in spill response plan content and structure,the role of federal and state regulatory agencies and improved training and exercises forlarge spill events.
In the course of its deliberations concerning the state of our overall oil spill responsecapability, the task force has examined a number of broad topical issues, including oil spillresponse plans, dispersant use, in situ burning and shoreline protection and clean up.In the end, we developed recommendations for 15 near-term actions that would be initiatedon or before April 1, 2011, and a number of long-term actions that would be initiated on or before Oct. 1, 2011. They include the following:1. Review lessons learned and develop additional recommendations from other reportsand, if necessary, reconcile those into our recommendations.2. API will initiate the development of an API Recommended Practice on Oil SpillResponse Planning.3. Industry will initiate contact with federal agencies to investigate increased mechanicalrecovery as well the use of dispersants and in-situ burn capability in the Gulf of Mexico.4. Industry will work with appropriate agencies to review and evaluate existing EffectiveDaily Recovery Capacity calculations.5. Industry will convene a meeting among industry partners to initiate the development of an agreement for providing trained company personnel with expertise in specific areas of oil spill response to a Responsible Party in the event of a federally declared Spill of National Significance (SONS) level incident.6. Industry will meet with major response co-ops to initiate the development of a pre-approval agreement or process that facilitates identification, availability and commitmentof necessary resources to be made available to any Responsible Party in the event of afederally declared SONS incident
without delay.7. Industry will meet with appropriate federal and state agencies to initiate the developmentof a policy statement and possible Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the
cascading of resources and establish an alternative means of compliance for the “donor”
areas, including waiving U.S. oil spill liability exposure and pre-emption of staterequirements in the event of a SONS level incident.8. Industry will continue to support the ongoing efforts by API and the Society of PetroleumEngineers in the development of a standard or recommended practice for calculatingworst case and/or most likely discharge rates for loss of well control incidents.9. To improve understanding regarding dispersants, industry will develop a series of simplefact sheets and/or other communications addressing various aspects of dispersants andreview them with appropriate Government Agencies for concurrence.10. A panel of experts will be chartered to review data collection efforts as part of a spillimpact assessment and evaluations of ecological recovery rates for offshore, near shore,coastal and estuarine areas impacted by spills.

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