By Astrid Wynne, contributing editor
Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL) unveiled the Subsea Well Intervention Service (SWIS) at its new facility in Singapore on 13 June. It is the second of four OSRL systems to be delivered this year, following the delivery of the first capping system in Norway in March. A third system is expected in South Africa in the next few weeks and a fourth in Brazil by Q4. “Each of the centers was chosen because of their strategic location in relation to the major drilling regions. This one covers Asia Pacific,” said Robert Limb, OSRL chief executive officer. The location of the facility in Singapore’s Loyang area was selected for its proximity to the deepwater harbor and to Seletar airport, where a dedicated aircraft that can be used for aerial dispersant is on permanent standby.
A capping stack toolbox and a subsea dispersant hardware toolbox are the main components of the SWIS. Both were developed by the Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP), a consortium of experts from nine oil and gas companies that worked to improve the industry’s subsea well control incident intervention capabilities outside of the US Gulf of Mexico. Houston-based Trendsetter Engineering was selected to manufacture the four capping systems, which were designed to be adaptable to a range of well and metocean conditions. The 7 1/16-in. stack in Singapore is currently set up in a 10,000-psi configuraton but can become a 15,000-psi stack by changing out a central gate valve system with the dual-ram system.
“The connectors are similar to those in use in the US GOM in that they are provided with H4 and HC connectors, but we needed our system to be modular to accommodate the different well scenarios,” Keith Lewis, project manager for SWRP, said. “The rams were included to deal with gas volume and expansion, and the 7-in. gate valves offer lower weight and faster closing time, providing benefits for oil wells with a lower gas/oil ratio.”
Singapore is also a strategic location for storage of the subsea dispersant hardware kits. Manufactured by Oceaneering, the kits are designed for the subsea application of dispersant if the rig fails to close off the BOP. They include tools for site surveys, such as 2D and 3D sonar debris-clearing equipment with cutting, grappling and dragging tools, flying leads, distribution manifold and dispersant wands to inject dispersant at multiple locations, and high-pressure, high-volume accumulators for closing the existing BOP.
The new SWIS forms part of the permanent “Tier 3” preparedness and response capability of OSRL, a not-for-profit industry-owned cooperative with 18 deepwater capping members worldwide. The tiered approach integrates the contingency plans of the operator, government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure sufficient capabilities are in place. “Tier 3 is global response “big guns.” Tier 2 is regional or occasionally for a specific oilfield/installation, and Tier 1 is equipment at or very close to the location of the activity,” Mr Limb said.
In addition to the capping stack and a subsea dispersant hardware, OSRL’s Singapore facility has a Hercules aircraft on standby 24/7 at Selatar Airport, sea access for its two 20-meter catamarans and other specialized response equipment. The center employ two incident managers and 28 spill response specialists, all full-time, with additional response backup by 53 technical staff trained in oilfield response.
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