The Marine Spill Response Corp (MSRC) has completed its Gulf of Mexico (GOM) expansion program, Deep Blue, to respond to an oil spill incident.
The key objectives of the expansion program include increasing the effectiveness of mechanical recovery by:
- Increasing the number of dedicated oil spill response and recovery platforms in the GOM,
- Increasing the ability to utilize commercial platform supply vessels (PSVs) and multi-purpose support vessels (MPSVs) to reinforce MSRC’s existing platforms, and
- Enhancing the ability to find and encounter oil on the water’s surface.
Another objective is to increase the effectiveness of other key response tools, including dispersant capability and controlled burning capability.
MSRC repositioned one of its 210-ft oil spill response vessels (OSRVs), the Deep Blue Responder, from the Atlantic coast to its new equipment site in Port Fourchon, La. A total of seven responder class OSRVs are now pre-positioned within 60 hrs of deepwater GOM operations. MSRC pre-engineered its five storage barges in the GOM as skimming barges. Staged from Ingleside, Texas, to Tampa, Fla., these barges have approximately 48,000 barrels of temporary storage capacity, as well as enhanced on-board skimming capability.
MSRC has also contracted with Edison Chouest Offshore and Hornbeck Offshore Services to modify five PSVs and MPSVs for potential use as OSRVs. These vessels have each been equipped with permanently installed skimming systems, ocean boom and a boom-tending vessel. They have modified below-deck storage capable of handling recovered oil and providing for the safe collection of oil.
MSRC can now support its customers with 17 open ocean response and recovery vessels within 60 hrs of the deepwater GOM. To enhance the ability of skimming vessels to locate oil and to enhance the encounter rate for removal, MSRC has invested in x-band and infrared technology on each of the marine platforms in the Deep Blue project. MSRC has invested in an additional 65,000 ft of ocean boom to potentially expand encounter rates through enhanced skimming techniques.
Dispersants and controlled burning are equally important tools in a large-scale release, and MSRC has increased the number of its dispersant spray and spotter aircraft to six aircrafts. Two of these planes are in the GOM. Additionally, MSRC has acquired 21,000 ft of fire boom to pre-stage in the GOM.
“We appreciate the commitment of the Marine Preservation Association (MPA) member companies operating in the Gulf to fund this substantial increase in capability.” Steve Benz, MSRC president and CEO said. Founded in 1990, MSRC is a not-for-profit entity that is solely funded by the MPA through its members including Anadarko, Apache, BP, Chevron, Cobalt, ConocoPhillips, Energy Resource Technology, ExxonMobil, Murphy, Nexen, Noble, Shell and Statoil.