New equipment for well-capping launched in Italy

Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) has launched the Offset Installation Equipment (OIE) well-capping system, designed and manufactured by Saipem.

Saipem said on Tuesday that OIE was designed for use during a subsea well incident where direct vertical access to a wellhead is not viable.

The equipment was manufactured, designed, and tested by Saipem in the northern Adriatic Sea. It enables capping or related equipment to be deployed up to 500 meters from the subsea location where the incident occurred.

OIE can be deployed in water depths ranging from 75 to 600 meters and remotely operated from the surface through standard work-class ROV.

This equipment was launched at Saipem’s base in Trieste where the company will take care of its maintenance to ensure the readiness for a prompt mobilization onto a transportation vessel or by air after being dismantled as required.

In the same location, Saipem will also train operating personnel to enable them to understand the capabilities of the system and operate the OIE during an incident.

Stefano Porcari, COO of Saipem’s E&C offshore division, said: “OIE marks an unprecedented solution to counter the adverse effects on the environment of subsea well incidents and contributes to their prevention. Having actively participated in this project constitutes a remarkable achievement of which we are proud.”

Robert Limb, CEO of OSRL, added: “While incident prevention remains industry’s number one priority, the OIE brings additional capabilities which complement the existing capping stack systems and containment toolkit enabling members to prepare for, and handle, a broader range of potential subsea well control incidents on a global scale.”

In a separate statement, OSRL said that the launching of the OIE was a culmination of six years’ work between members of the Subsea Well Intervention Project (SWRP), OSRL, and Saipem.

OSRL added that the equipment was available to OSRL members through a Subsea Well Intervention Services (SWIS) agreement and current OIE members which include BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Shell, Statoil and Total – the founding members of SWRP.

SWRP project lead Eli Bøhnsdalen said: “OIE has the potential to make a huge difference in the time it takes to cap a well or stop a critical blowout and has never been attempted before. Saipem, which has been responsible for the design, fabrication, and testing, will now be responsible for the OIE’s ongoing storage and maintenance, from its base here, in Trieste.”