An offshore reserve response team to control incidents in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been formed by the Marine Well Containment Co. (MWCC) and Wood Group PSN.

The MWCC was founded three years ago, following BP plc’s Macondo well blowout, by ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell (see Daily GPI, July 23, 2010). BP later joined the group; many other producers have as well (see Daily GPI, Feb. 2, 2011).

The offshore reserve response team is to be made up of 100 personnel who would be activated if MWCC’s modular capture vessels (MCV) are needed for a well control incident. The GOM systems would be able to operate in water depths of up to 8,000 feet and contain up to 100,000 b/d of liquids.

“This latest initiative underlines the ongoing advancements in safer deepwater exploration and we are proud to be working with MWCC to develop a team of experienced oilfield operations personnel capable of responding to a potential deepwater well control incident in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico,” said Wood’s Americas President Derek Blackwood.

Wood Group provides pre-operations, project management, training and decommissioning services to the energy industry. It employs more than 29,000 people in more than 40 countries, including close to 6,000 in the United States. It has access to a network of more than 3,000 experienced operations personnel in the GOM, Blackwood noted.

“We will be responsible for identifying and selecting the response team, delivering ongoing training, and mobilizing the team as and when required,” he said.

When needed, the team would be deployed to a deepwater well control incident to operate the processing equipment on the MCVs if MWCC’s expanded containment system (ECS) is required to cap and flow a well.

The ECS, which is to be ready for use this year, is designed to cap and flow wells in up to 10,000 feet of water. It would redirect the flow of fluids from the deepwater well to the MCVs through flexible pipes and risers. Using modular, adaptable process equipment installed on the capture vessel, the system is designed to separate liquids from gas, flare the gas and safely store the liquids until transferred to a shuttle tanker and taken to shore.

Selecting and training a response team “is an important step in the progress of the ECS,” according to Wood executives. It primarily would be based in southern Louisiana and trained to operate and maintain equipment onboard the MCVs during a response.

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