BP prepares hurricane-ready oil spill containment measures

By Phaedra Friend Troy

BP continues to ready the company’s “next step” in its oil spill containment strategy in the Gulf of Mexico, a floating riser containment system

For comprehensive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon incident, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts under way to resolve them, visit PennEnergy's Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico special section.

In preparation for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, BP has been working on an enhanced oil spill containment system that will better weather oncoming storms. The company’s solution is installing a floating riser containment system that will be connected to the Helix Producer I FPU.

In comparison to the current oil spill containment systems, the Helix Producer can much more quickly skirt the path of a storm. The Discoverer Enterprise drillship will require a full week to move out of the path of a hurricane. Furthermore the floating riser system will allow for a much speedier hook-up on the vessel’s return.

Together with the LMRP oil spill cap and the Q4000 system, the floating riser system will increase oil spill containment capacity to 40,000 to 50,000 barrels a day.

The floating riser system is expected to be operational by the end of June or early July.

More System Enhancements in the Works

Additionally, there are two more enhancements that BP is currently developing to help with the oil spill containment measures.

Firstly, the potential for a second floating riser system is currently being discussed. Also, BP plans to add more hydrocarbon capturing capacity via a new cap on the blowout preventer (BOP).

These enhancements are expected to be operational by mid-July.

The two oil spill containment systems that are currently deployed on the blown-out Macondo well collected 22,750 barrels of oil and 52.9 million cubic feet of natural gas on June 26. In total, the systems have been able to capture some 435,600 barrels of oil equivalent since being deployed.

The first storm of the season, Tropical Storm Alex is currently on a path to the Gulf of Mexico, but is expected to veer far west of the oil spill and make landfall in northern Mexico. 

Learn more about Tropical Storm Alex making its way to the Gulf of Mexico by watching PennEnergy’s daily Global Offshore Weather Report powered by ImpactWeather.

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