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Oil Firms Across Industry Help With Oil Spill Response

09 May 2010

Many oil companies offered technical expertise and equipment to BP PLC and the oil spill response team in a cooperative effort to stop the flow from a leaking deepwater well and help mitigate environmental damages.

“We are all working together to stop the uncontrolled release of oil in the Gulf of Mexico,” said National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall Luthi from his office in Washington, DC, on May 7.

“Our member companies want answers as much as anyone as to the cause of this event, and we understand the offshore industry will be closely examined by the authorities at the state and national level,” Luthi said. NOIA represents the offshore industry.

Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilled the Macondo well for BP and its partners, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. Ltd. BP is the operator. An Apr. 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire left 11 crew members missing and presumed dead. The Deepwater Horizon sank on Apr. 22 (OGJ, May 3, 2010, p. 31).

Anadarko has four employees assisting BP’s technical teams. Separately, Statoil ASA offered spill assistance as well as its drilling and well expertise.

ExxonMobil Corp. offered a drilling rig as a staging base, two supply vessels, and an underwater vehicle. It also provided technical expertise on blowout preventers, dispersant injection, well construction, and containment options.

In addition, ExxonMobil is identifying, procuring, and manufacturing additional supplies of chemical dispersants.

Newfield Exploration Co. sent a support vessel, the Odyssea Diamond, to assist during the rig fire on Apr. 20, and the vessel subsequently towed two damaged lifeboats to Fourchon, La. Additionally, Newfield released the Helix Q4000 semisubmersible intervention vessel to BP on Apr. 30, requiring an early suspension of subsea well intervention operations at Mississippi Canyon Block 506. The Q4000 remains on contract with BP.

Shell Oil Co. offered its technical experts in the areas of subsea wells, environmental science, and emergency response. Shell also has offered a range of equipment including a dynamically positioned vessel with a remotely operated vehicle, a helicopter, an ROV and a containment dome.

ConocoPhillips responded favorably to a request by BP to potentially access an adjacent ConocoPhillips’s lease for a relief well, and ConocoPhillips nominated two technical experts to participate in an American Petroleum Institute proposed joint industry government task force. Because it does not have any gulf drilling operations at this time, ConocoPhillips has limited availability to boats or other equipment to offer BP.

Oceaneering International Inc. is supporting BP with people to work on subsea technology. An Oceaneering vessel was on location with 2 ROVs and there are 2 additional ROVs on a third-party vessel that BP has hired to be on location. Oceaneering equipment is providing the video feed from the ocean floor.

Luthi also had many more examples of other companies offering equipment and drilling expertise.