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.



2 Comments

Already have a username? Log in to comment. First-time commenting? Sign up to create your username. It's easy, and we won't share your information.

  1. robert blaska says:

    Build all piping with raised flanges to accomodate a cee style come around valve that can divert or stop the flow(vented to tanker etc) and can remove or utilize downstream piping , Build pushout seperators at every junction so vented cee can interrupt and or divert flow at any point in the line. In addition a superthick flat deck sealed and adhered to well head so a cup valve (vented to tanker etc) can be anchored to in the extreme or even commonplace.
    getting a good seal is a must, giving oil a good place to go is economically and ecologically prudent.
    Working for 20yrs with liquid chlorine & sulfur dioxide is how I know this.

  2. D Behr says:

    A truly sad day was the announcement by the major oil companies of their cooperation in developing technology to prevent uncontrolled releases of crude oil such as that on the Macondo. Certainly that accident proved a need for such systems but I posit that a true cause for celebration would have been a banding together of these industry leaders to announce they were going to work together to prevent 11 people from losing their lives in a horrific accident.
    I would propose these companies band together In the fashion that they got behind MWC and begin by standardizing their common safety practices and sharing best practices with the intent of making them standard. Permits, job safety analysis, training, tail gate safety meetings and behaviour based systems, are just a few examples. With the support of the major companies these would then become industry standards and the burden on the workforce of learning or swithching to the Chevron or Shell system would disappear eliminating confusion and freeing time to focus on true at risk activities.
    Safety is every companies number one priority. What a wasted opportunity to prove that to the American oilfield worker, their families and the public.

  3. robert blaska says:

    Build all piping with raised flanges to accomodate a cee style come around valve that can divert or stop the flow(vented to tanker etc) and can remove or utilize downstream piping , Build pushout seperators at every junction so vented cee can interrupt and or divert flow at any point in the line. In addition a superthick flat deck sealed and adhered to well head so a cup valve (vented to tanker etc) can be anchored to in the extreme or even commonplace.
    getting a good seal is a must, giving oil a good place to go is economically and ecologically prudent.
    Working for 20yrs with liquid chlorine & sulfur dioxide is how I know this.

  4. D Behr says:

    A truly sad day was the announcement by the major oil companies of their cooperation in developing technology to prevent uncontrolled releases of crude oil such as that on the Macondo. Certainly that accident proved a need for such systems but I posit that a true cause for celebration would have been a banding together of these industry leaders to announce they were going to work together to prevent 11 people from losing their lives in a horrific accident.
    I would propose these companies band together In the fashion that they got behind MWC and begin by standardizing their common safety practices and sharing best practices with the intent of making them standard. Permits, job safety analysis, training, tail gate safety meetings and behaviour based systems, are just a few examples. With the support of the major companies these would then become industry standards and the burden on the workforce of learning or swithching to the Chevron or Shell system would disappear eliminating confusion and freeing time to focus on true at risk activities.
    Safety is every companies number one priority. What a wasted opportunity to prove that to the American oilfield worker, their families and the public.