Marine Well Containment


The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, claimed eleven lives and resulted in a sea-floor oil gusher that flowed for 87 days.  The total discharge is estimated at 4.9 million barrels.  In the months that followed the accident, the oil industry recognized that it needed to be better prepared for containment of wells.  Anadarko, Apache, BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Hess, Shell and Statoil jointly formed Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) to provide containment response in the Gulf of Mexico.  

MWCC's system is being engineered for use in deepwater depths up to 10,000 feet and has the capacity to contain up to 100,000 barrels of liquid per day and handle up to 200 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. The expanded containment system will include a 15k psi subsea containment assembly, dedicated capture vessels and a dispersant injection system.

In July 2013, MWCC announced that Ingleside, Texas had been selected as the shorebase location to house equipment to outfit the company's modular capture vessels (MCVs) in the event of a deployment. The equipment, which includes modular processing facilities for the MCVs and the centerpiece of the containment systems, the capping stacks, will be stored, maintained and tested at Kiewit Offshore Services' Ingleside facility near Corpus Christi.

Bath Engineering Corporation was retained to design electrical and mechanical systems to power and provided utility services to the containment skids while they are stored in Ingleside.  Continuous power, data and utility services are required to assure that the equipment is ready for deployment at any time.

The expanded containment system 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 the liquids to shuttle tankers, which can then safely take the liquids 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 flow from the subsea components. The process equipment will separate the liquids from gas, safely store the liquids and flare the gas. Then the liquids will be offloaded to shuttle tankers which will transport the liquids to shore. During hurricanes, capture vessels will disconnect and move away from the storm for the safety of the operating personnel. Once the storm passes, the vessels will return and be reconnected to the subsea containment components.