MWCC Increases Water Depths for Capping Stack

Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) announced that its capping stack has met the requirements for containment operations in water depths up to 10,000 feet, which is an increase from the previous water depths of up to 8,000 feet.

"This increase in our capability demonstrates our commitment to providing a comprehensive deepwater well containment system for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico," said Chief Executive Officer Marty Massey. "Our goal is to continually advance deepwater well containment technology to keep pace with our member companies' needs."

The capping stack is the centerpiece of an interim response containment system and is designed to cap or contain the flow of hydrocarbons in a deepwater well control incident. It can handle pressures of up to 15,000 pounds per square inch.

The capping stack provides a dual barrier for containment through a blowout preventer ram and a containment cap. Through its side valves, the capping stack can also redirect the flow of fluid to surface vessels through flexible pipes and risers, if necessary. The capping stack is tested and maintained in a continuous state of readiness for mobilization and measures approximately 30 feet in height, 14 feet in width and weighs almost 100 tons.

A Shell permit application, which cited the MWCC interim system for drilling in 9,800 feet of water in the Tobago Field, met the requirements of the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement and was approved.

An expanded containment system is on track for delivery in 2012. In addition to operating in water depth up to 10,000 feet, the system will have the capacity to capture up to 100,000 barrels of fluid and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day.

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