WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs has released its interim findings on the cause of a Gulf of Mexico Main Pass block 295 well control incident of February 2013.
A Quality Control Failure Incident Team (QC-FIT) conducted the technical review of data, standards and subject matter experts regarding the dual-barrier seal system and equipment used.
Summarized key findings and recommendations are:
• Existing industry practices and BSEE regulations related to pressure testing may not be adequate to evaluate the integrity of either the seal assembly or the cement column. BSEE should consider modifying its regulations to ensure that the integrity of these barriers can be verified after installation.
• Operators should be required to verify that any pressure containing equipment installed downhole has been designed, tested, and rated for any potential loss of well control condition to which it might be exposed during its service life.
• A comprehensive analysis of well designs utilizing shallow liners and sub-mudline casing hangers needs to be performed by either BSEE or the industry to ensure that best engineering practices are being utilized to minimize the risk of a loss of well control event.
Following its investigation, the QC-FIT recommended that BSEE conduct an engineering design analysis of industry practices related to liners and sub-mudline seals and cementing.