Helix seeks to provide capping stack in case of Cuba drill accident

image

Washington (Platts)

Helix Energy Solutions Group is talking to US officials about providing a capping stack to Repsol to respond to any blowout and spill from its deepwater well off Cuba‘s coast, the company confirmed Friday.

Helix would have to secure special licenses from the Commerce Department to export technology to Cuba as well as permission from the Treasury Department for its personnel to travel to Cuban waters to assist in responding to a blowout.

While the company would not specifically say it had applied for those licenses, spokesman Cameron Wallace did say that Helix was “currently engaged with relevant US regulatory agencies regarding the possibility of providing spill containment solutions for use in Cuban waters. The ultimate scope of services to be offered is still under consideration, and no firm commitments have yet been made,” Wallace said.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security has already issued licenses for the use of some equipment, including booms and skimmers, by US companies in Cuban waters, Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

Bromwich told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the Treasury and Commerce departments are reviewing applications for licenses to provide a subsea well containment system, remotely operated vehicles and intervention vessels in case of a massive blowout and spill.

Helix already owns a deepwater capping stack, one of two that are part of the Helix Well Containment Group, a consortium of companies drilling in the US Gulf of Mexico. The two stacks, one of which is owned by HWCG, are rated to a depth of 10,000 feet and are staged for use by any of the member companies in case of a major oil spill.

Wallace said Helix would build a third capping stack, designed to meet the specific parameters of Repsol’s Cuban well, if it secures the necessary permissions.

“The goal of the operation is to protect the nation’s coastlines,” Wallace said. “We need to be able to act in the event that our coasts are threatened and this is one means of doing that.”
While the capping stack would initially be designed and built for the Repsol well, it would be available for other projects in the future, Wallace said.

Gary Gentile, gary_gentile@platts.com

Source

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Cuba, Gulf of Mexico, Service, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

%d bloggers like this: