Director Monitors Deepwater Containment Exercise
July 26, 2012
BSEE Director James Watson immediately deployed to Houston, Texas, at the beginning of the Deepwater Containment Drill, July 24, to monitor activities at the Marine Well Containment Company’s (MWCC) facilities. Continuing his message of “safety at all levels, at all times” Director Watson today met with Texas state officials in Austin to discuss regulation of the offshore oil and gas industry and specific issues such as decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure that is no longer in use. For more information, please click here.
Director Watson is also meeting with faculty at The University of Texas at Austin to discuss the exercise and BSEE’s efforts to enhance safety and environmental protection across the offshore oil and gas industry as well as career opportunities within the bureau. BSEE is actively recruiting petroleum engineers and inspectors to fill critical positions in permitting offshore operations and inspecting offshore oil and gas drilling rigs and facilities. To see current vacancies, please click here.
BSEE inspectors verified the final pre-deployment pressure-tests of MWCC’s capping stack and are monitoring the preparations for loading the capping stack onto the transport vessel. BSEE inspectors, engineers and oil spill response specialists are working to ensure operations are being conducted safely and that the exercise objectives related to source control, the capping stack deployment, and effective interagency coordination are being met.
This deepwater containment exercise involves the mobilization and field deployment of the capping stack to the sea floor in approximately 7,000 feet of water, latching it to a test wellhead, and pressurizing the system. The capping stack is a critical piece of equipment that has the ability to shut off any flow of oil from a well if other shut-off systems, such as the blowout preventer (BOP) fail. Following the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the Interior Department instituted reforms that required offshore operators to have the ability to deploy containment resources, such as a capping stack, in response to a blowout or other loss of well control. For more information about post Deepwater Horizon reforms, please visit our reforms page.
A 30-foot-high capping stack. Photo courtesy of MWCC.