USA: Oil Spill Containment System tested in Gulf of Mexico
27th July 2012
The capping stack is a central component in the new blowout containment system
July 24 - The first deep-sea test of a state-of-the-art containment system for stopping an oil spill
akin to BP's catastrophic 2010 spill began on Tuesday, regulators said.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported Houston-based Marine Well
Containment Company was to move a capping stack system it has developed onto a vessel and
install it to a test wellhead placed on the bottom of the Gulf.
The stack will be lowered by wires onto the test wellhead sitting 7,000 feet below the surface of the
"Testing this equipment in real-time conditions and ultra-deep water depths will help ensure that the
MWCC is ready and able to respond in a moment's notice should the need arise," said BSEE Director
BSEE staff -- including inspectors, engineers and spill response experts -- plan to monitor the drill
to see first-hand how it is conducted, regulators said.
The capping stack is similar to the one BP used to stop the flow of oil from its out-of-control well in July
2010. That stack finally closed the well after 85 days of leaking oil. The BP spill, which caused more than
200 million gallons of oil to leak out, exposed the oil industry's inability to stop a deep-sea spill quickly.
Tougher drilling rules passed after the BP spill require oil companies to prove they can control a
blowout similar to the April 20, 2010, incident at the Macondo well where 11 workers were killed in
explosions that sank the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon.
[source: The Times-Picayne/ISCO Newsletter]