LMRP cap temporarily removed from gulf spill collection

The lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was taken off the failed Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer (BOP) on June 23 after a vent on the cap accidentally got closed, National Incident Commander and retired Adm. Thad Allen said.

(story updated: cap was reinstalled at 6:30 p.m. CDT on June 23)

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, June 23 -- The lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was taken off the failed Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer (BOP) for about 10 hr on June 23 after a vent on the cap accidentally got closed, National Incident Commander and retired Adm. Thad Allen said.

During a conference call with reporters, Allen said the incident still was under investigation, but it appears a remotely operated vehicle accidently bumped into the LMRP cap and closed a vent, causing more pressure inside the riser.

Response crews feared hydrocarbons were coming up a pipe being used to run hot water down to the LMRP cap to prevent the formation of gas hydrates. The riser system involves a pipe within a pipe.

The LMRP cap was removed as a precaution at about 8:45 a.m., Allen said, while the safety of the collection system was evaluated, and the system was checked for gas hydrates. The cap was reinstalled at about 6:30 p.m., and the system resumed collecting oil and gas at 7 p.m.

The temporary removal of the LMRP cap allowed more oil to escape into the Gulf of Mexico while oil collection efforts are stopped on the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, Allen said.

However, oil continued to be collected and burned on the Helix Q4000 surface vessel. Oil directed to the Q4000 comes through the choke line of the BOP via a manifold on the seafloor and up a riser to the surface.

BP announced on June 23 that Bob Dudley has been appointed president and chief executive officer of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, effective immediately. Dudley reports to BP Group Chief Executive Tony Hayward. Allen said he and Dudley had discussed the LMRP cap removal.

The company’s response activities to the Deepwater Horizon accident and the resulting oil spill are based in the Unified Command with the US Coast Guard in New Orleans and now will report directly to Dudley.

“BP’s decision to establish this new organization in no way limits the resources that are available to meet the company’s commitments to clean up the spill and restore the gulf coast,” a company news release said.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

More in HSE