capstack_feature_11-2013

How would industry cap a well in the event of a spill?

My last post touched on ways industry and government are working to ensure that producing oil and natural gas in offshore environments is done safely and responsibly.

I was pleased to mention a recent milestone announced by the Marine Well Containment Company, which has produced a single-ram capping stack – weighing an astonishing 100 tons – capable of capping a well that is leaking oil up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s extraordinary to have a system that can withstand such extreme temperatures.

However, I recognize that some of the terms our industry uses – such as “single-ram capping stack” – do not translate well to lay audiences (despite NPR’s Marketplace calling our jargon “fun”). How does this new technology work?

It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, a video is worth even more.

So in the interest of best explaining the capabilities the industry has developed to deal with a release of oil in the unlikely event another accident occurs in the Gulf of Mexico, here’s an animation produced by Marine Well Containment that methodically illustrates in great detail how a capping stack works to stop the flow of oil.