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OTC 23596

Marine Well Containment Company Progress

Marty Massey, Marine Well Containment Company

Copyright 2012, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 30 April3 May 2012.
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to
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Following the Deepwater Horizon incident, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell recognized the need
to improve containment capability for a potential deepwater well control incident in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
This led to the formation of a not-for-profit, independent company, Marine Well Containment Company, which
would develop, maintain and advance well containment systems for the U.S. Gulf. Following formation, MWCC
gained six additional members (for a total of ten member companies): BP, Apache, Anadarko, BHP Billiton, Statoil
and Hess. This coming together signified unprecedented industry collaboration and is a key reason that drilling
has resumed in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
With a membership that includes the recognized leaders in deepwater drilling, Marine Well Containment
Company is already a recognized industry expert in deepwater well containment systems. Approximately 70
percent of the wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico from 2007 through 2009 were drilled by the 10 MWCC members.
MWCCs member companies collaborated on developing a deepwater well containment system that provides the
American public and government confidence in drilling in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. These companies have also
committed time, effort and considerable resources including more than $1 billion to put in place the
containment systems necessary for the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Key Accomplishments
MWCCs interim containment system (ICS) paved the way for the lifting of the drilling moratorium following the
Deepwater Horizon incident. Drilling permits are again being issued; as of January 1, 2012, 29 cite MWCCs
interim containment system.
Completed in February 2011, the interim containment system is an accomplishment that required a deep and
shared sense of commitment and a common, unified purpose. All of the equipment is being maintained in a
response-ready state. The capping stack the centerpiece of the containment system is pressure tested
regularly, and MWCCs dispersant stock is available and ready for use by members and non-members who have
signed a System Services Agreement. The ICS is engineered to cap or contain a well in deepwater depths up to
8,000 feet. Improvements to the ICS were made that extended the capping-only capability to 10,000 feet. If the
well will allow, the capping stack can shut in the well and stop the flow of oil without additional system equipment.
If there are well conditions that require that the oil continue to flow, the capping stack will attach to risers and
other containment equipment to direct the flow of liquids to the capture vessels for storage. The liquid will flow
through flexible pipes to riser assemblies, configured to connect to the capture vessels at the ocean surface. The
system has the capacity to contain up to 60,000 barrels of liquid per day and can handle up to 120 million
standard cubic feet of gas per day.
In addition, MWCC completed a plan to cap a well under a floating structure (TLP/SPAR). Capping a well in this
case requires a plan to move the structure out of the way to allow access to install the capping stack or pulling the

OTC 23596

stack underneath the structure for installation. In July 2011, The Bureau of Safety and Environmental
Enforcement (BSEE) granted a permit for TLP/SPAR application relying upon the MWCC system, as defined in
the industry-developed response plan.
Furthermore, MWCC continues to practice and hone its Emergency Preparedness & Response practices.
Specifically, the company has developed an extensive emergency response plan and regularly conducts drills.
Not only do these drills help prepare personnel and member companies, they provide insights and key learning
opportunities. As of January 1, 2012, the company has completed more than 2,000 hours of training.
MWCCs accomplishments can be attributed to the tireless efforts of its personnel and the resources of its
member companies. Moreover, MWCC has worked with BSEE and the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure the company
is meeting expectations every step of the way.
MWCC's mission is to be continuously ready to respond to a well control incident in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of
Mexico, and is committed to advancing deepwater well containment technology in the Gulf. The steps the
company has taken to achieve this mission exemplify the leadership and knowledge depth established with
Marine Well Containment Company.
Looking Ahead
MWCC intends to further its mission with the introduction of an expanded containment system. The expanded
containment system (ECS) will provide greater capability and capacity than the interim containment system.
Specifically, the expanded containment system can operate in depths up to 10,000 feet, but it has a higher
capacity up to 100,000 barrels of liquid per day (and up to 200 million standard cubic feet per day of gas).
Contracts are in place and construction has started on improvements, which include the subsea containment
assembly (SCA), process modules, risers, flow lines and umbilicals. The capability of the interim containment
system will continue to build as components of this expanded system are completed and delivered.
The ECS design includes use of capture vessels (modified Aframax tankers) with up to 700,000 barrels of liquid
storage capacity, and can process, store and offload oil to shuttle tankers, which can then safely take the oil to
shore for further processing. Modular, adaptable process equipment will be installed on the capture vessels and
will connect to the riser assembly that directs the oil from the subsea components. The process equipment will
separate the oil from the gas, safely store the oil and flare the gas. The oil will then be offloaded to shuttle tankers
which will transport the oil to shore.
This expanded containment system provides an additional capability to protect the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. As
MWCC moves into 2012, industry can be assured that the Gulf is safer today and in the future.