BP shares deepwater well-capping equipment expertise with Pemex

BP PLC signed a technology license agreement outlining plans for BP to share its technical information on building deepwater well-capping equipment with Petroleos Mexicanos Exploration & Production (Pemex E&P).

Pemex E&P will use the information from BP along with initiatives already in place if the Mexican firm decides to build and maintain its own well capping system for use in Mexico’s portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Terms called for BP to retain intellectual property rights so it can continue to share the plans with others.

Under the agreement, BP will share at no cost to Pemex E&P technical information on BP’s capping stack, and Pemex E&P agreed to make any future advancements to this well-capping technology available at no cost to BP.

BP also agreed to host workshops in Houston to brief Pemex E&P on the technical information and operational aspects of the capping system. BP will introduce Pemex E&P specialists to vendors and fabricators that BP used to develop its global deepwater well cap and tooling package.

Richard Morrison, BP’s head of global deepwater response, said the agreement underscores BP’s commitment to share lessons learned during and following the April 2010 deepwater Macondo well blowout and subsequent oil spill response effort.

During the Macondo incident, an explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible resulted in 11 deaths of crew members, and the semi later sank.

“Today’s announcement builds on our commitment and the work we have done—and continue to do—to help advance global deepwater response capabilities around the world,” Morrison said.

BP’s global deepwater well cap is a 100-ton stack of valves that can be lowered onto a leaking well to halt the flow of hydrocarbons. The system can operate in 10,000 ft of water and is rated at 15,000 psi. BP stores its well cap in Houston and can transport it by heavy-lift aircraft to any country where BP operates in a matter of days.

Pemex E&P and BP previously collaborated through various noncommercial technology, scientific and training mutual cooperation agreements.

The Macondo well was capped on July 15, 2010, and permanently sealed with cement on Sept. 19, 2010. The well was later plugged and abandoned with the approval and oversight of the US government. Well integrity was confirmed during and after the abandonment process.

Recently, BP capped a cofferdam believed to be the source of a recent surface sheen in the area of the sealed Macondo well. The cofferdam is a 86-ton steel container that was lowered over a leaking drill pipe at the Macondo well site in May 2010 in an attempt to capture the oil and funnel it to the surface. A mixture of oil and slushy methane hydrates was trapped inside the cofferdam during the response (OGJ Online, Oct. 25, 2012).

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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