UK starts contingency well cap construction program

Offshore staff

LONDON -- Cameron has started manufacturing a well capping device that will form part of the UK offshore oil and gas sector’s oil spill response contingency plans. According to industry association Oil & Gas UK, the device should be completed this summer.

The program follows the recommendation of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG), formed by the industry, regulators, and trade unions following last April’s Macondo well blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Design development for the capping system was overseen by OSPRAG’s Technical Review Group, working with JP Kenny and BP, which agreed to project manage the detailed design, procurement, and construction phases. The device was commissioned by Oil Spill Response, and is being built in Leeds, northern England.

The cap is designed for deployment in a wide range of oil spill scenarios that could be encountered offshore the UK, including West of Shetlands. It is deployable from a multi-service vessel, and can be attached to various parts of the subsea equipment to seal off or cap the oil flow.

Oil & Gas UK CEO Malcolm Webb said: “Having such a contingency device in the UK is important as it allows a quick response in the unlikely event of a well blowout.

“Our overriding priority remains, however, to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place. There has not been a single blow-out in this country in over 20 years of UK offshore operations and we must ensure that it remains this way.”


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