Wireline Issue 48 - Summer 2020

Ten years on, OGUK colleagues consider the safety and operational legacy of the Macondo well disaster. Applying the lessons of Macondo

M acondo: one of the most significant events in the history of the oil and gas industry took place on April 20 2010. Ten years after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico led to a tragic loss of lives and a massive volume of oil entering the marine environment, how are the tough lessons of Macondo being applied in the UK North Sea? OGUK operations director Katy Heidenreich, emissions improvement manager Louise O-Hara Murray, and environment manager Caroline Brown consider Macondo’s legacy. LOM: “The immediate response focused on what prevention measures the UK had in place to avoid the potential escape of hydrocarbons from wells on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). By May 2010, OGUK had convened the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG) to look at developing a well capping device as well as considering whether effective spill response strategies and appropriate financial arrangements were in place. It was a massive industry effort and one that has given us a legacy of collaboration. We share a drive to deliver continual improvement and increase connectivity across both the wells and oil spill response communities. It was also a catalyst for strengthening broader industry and international engagement.” KH: “The degree of collaboration was evident in the different organisations who contributed to OSPRAG. They comprised representatives from the Health and Safety Executive, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the trade unions, RMT and Unite. In addition, OSPRAG communicated regularly with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, the American Petroleum Institute and the International Association of Drilling Contractors.” CB: “A key aspect of OSPRAG’s work looked at regulation and arrangements for oil spill prevention and response on the UK Continental Shelf. As a result of this work, UK operators now have access to the ground- breaking OSPRAG Cap, designed to swiftly seal off an uncontrolled well and to be ready for deployment in the unique met-ocean conditions that exist in the UKCS. It forms a key element in the UK offshore oil and gas industry’s oil spill emergency contingency plans.” LOM: “OGUK established the Oil Spill Response forum,

now a technical group, as part of its ongoing work post- Macondo. It operates as a permanent mechanism for sharing knowledge and driving forward continuous improvement. Over the past few years, members of this group comprising representatives from operators, duty holders, response organisations, government advisors and regulators have been translating lessons learnt from the Macondo response to produce eight Oil Spill Response Implementation Guides and attuning them to the different challenges operators face on the UK Continental Shelf.” CB: “Theoil spill toolkit has been substantially enhanced. Not only do we have the OSPRAG Cap, but also advanced well intervention equipment that allows Blow Out Preventer [BOP] intervention, debris clearance and subsea application of dispersant at a wellhead, all aimed at containing and controlling a leak from a well. Following OSPRAG’s Oil Spill Emergency Response Review we have increased our local and global stock of dispersants and improved our understanding of the effect of dispersants on the marine environment.” KH: “Macondo stimulated the development of OGUK’s well guidelines — as the first of their kind, they’ve been recognised as outstanding by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and referred to the world over. We now have 11 guidelines which are regularly reviewed to improve safety and performance on all aspects of well operations including design, construction and

“OGUK established the Oil Spill Response forum as part of its ongoing work post-Macondo. It operates as a permanent mechanism for sharing knowledge and driving forward continuous improvement.”

4 4 | w ire lin e | S u mm e r 2 02 0

Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker