A vital milestone has been reached for the offshore industry in the Gulf of Mexico with the delivery of the expanded containment system in case of a well control incident to the Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC).

The enhanced system builds on the equipment and technology put into place with MWCC’s Interim Containment System, first made available in February 2011. Equipment from both the interim and expanded systems has been built for use in water depths of up to 3,048 m (10,000 ft), and has the capacity to contain up to 100,000 b/d of liquid, and 200 MMcf/d of gas.

The containment system includes two Modular Capture Vessels (MCVs), three capping stacks, Subsea Umbilical, Risers and Flowlines (SURF) equipment, and additional ancillary equipment. MWCC’s two shore base locations provide the storage, maintenance and personnel necessary to support the deployment of the system, and are strategically located along the US Gulf coast.

The three capping stacks include the Subsea Containment Assembly (SCA), a 15K psi capping stack (single ram), and a 10K psi stack (dual ram). These stacks vary in size and capabilities, and would be utilised depending on specific incident factors.

MWCC’s SURF equipment is used to flow fluid from the stack to the capture vessels. The company’s two MCVs, the Eagle Texas (MCV A) and the Eagle Louisiana (MCV B), are modified Aframax tankers outfitted with modular processing equipment to capture, process, store and offload liquids. Each MCV can process up to 50,000 b/d of liquid with 700,000 bbl of liquid storage capacity, the ability to offload to shuttle tankers.

“The completion of the Expanded Containment System represents a major milestone for our company and a significant investment from industry,” said MWCC Chief Executive Officer, Don Armijo. “Arrival of the full system underscores MWCC’s commitment to meet members’ needs and to provide industry-leading well containment equipment and services.”

The MWCC system is available for use by members as well as non-members on a per well basis, and MWCC says it will continue to make upgrades and enhancements as necessary. The system will be maintained in a ready state and tested regularly to meet functionality and quality standards.