At the request of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) initiated mobilization of its containment system, including the physical deployment of the capping stack, the centerpiece of the system.
The capping stack was loaded onto the Laney Chouest at the Houston ship channel and deployed to a simulated well in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Once offshore, the capping stack was lowered approximately 6,900 ft. on a wire using a heave compensated landing system. It was latched onto a simulated wellhead, where all necessary functions were completed and pressure testing confirmed the ability to control a well.
The mobilization, function and pressure testing performed as expected and were within the anticipated timeline. The capping stack and ancillary equipment were then transported back to shore, where they are available for mobilization should they be needed.
BSEE inspectors and engineers monitored the demonstration from MWCC headquarters, Unified Command and the two vessels transporting the equipment offshore. Throughout the demonstration, BSEE Director James Watson met with MWCC and Shell to witness the various phases of system deployment, and participated in daily Unified Command briefings with the Department of the Interior.
Through this demonstration, MWCC effectively validated the ability to safely and effectively respond to a well control incident in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The success of the demonstration is the result of a strong collaboration that began in 2010 between government and industry, particularly MWCC members.