FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the purpose of Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC)?MWCC is an independent company, not in the business of making a profit, that provides well containment equipment and technology in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. As the leader in deepwater well containment in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the company is committed to being continuously ready to respond to a deepwater well control incident in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and is committed to advancing its capabilities to keep pace with its members' needs.
The company provides an interim containment system consisting of MWCC-owned and maintained equipment along with access to mutual aid vessels and equipment. MWCC is advancing this capability with an expanded system. The expanded containment system is scheduled for delivery starting in 2013.
How does MWCC fit in with other industry offshore initiatives?MWCC's mission is specific to containment of a deepwater well control incident in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Multiple industry initiatives are also aimed at improving prevention, well intervention and spill response readiness.
How does MWCC interact with regulatory agencies?In designing the interim containment system, MWCC worked with regulators from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to ensure all expectations were met and that the new system would not only safeguard the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, but allow new permits to be issued. MWCC continues to stay in regular communication with BSEE, including onsite reviews, witness testing and demonstration of the capping stack, as well as a review of the interim containment system equipment.
What is MWCC's role in the event of a deepwater well control incident?MWCC will deliver subsea equipment, including risers, dispersant and manifolds, as well as the capping stack to the Responsible Party's (RP's) shorebase. MWCC will also provide technical expertise to the RP on installation and operation of the capping stack and other MWCC containment equipment.
Has the system been tested in the water?Working closely with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and BSEE, MWCC completed a demonstration of its containment system in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The demonstration included a physical deployment of the capping stack and validated that MWCC has a system in place that is ready to respond.
Does MWCC own its equipment?The containment system consists of equipment owned and maintained by MWCC along with mutual aid vessels released by member companies. MWCC regularly tests this equipment and practices the ability to effectively execute a safe deployment.
Where is MWCC's containment equipment stored?Much of the interim system is housed at ASCO on the Houston ship channel. Various other components are stored at vendor facilities in Fourchon, Louisiana and Houston.
When will the interim containment system be deployed?The system is ready to be deployed, and its capabilities were validated during the summer 2012 demonstration when it was deployed to the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. MWCC has a response team and operational equipment ready to begin mobilization upon receiving notification. In addition to trainings and drills, pressure testing of the capping stack is conducted regularly and dispersant stock is on-hand and available for use. MWCC remains in a state of readiness.
How does the interim containment system differ from what was previously available?The interim containment system — made available in February 2011 — enhances previous U.S. Gulf of Mexico containment capabilities, and since that time MWCC has continued to improve capabilities. These include the use of the capping stack at greater depths (from 8,000 feet to 10,000 feet) and meeting containment requirements for use on wells under floating production facilities. MWCC is also building an expanded containment system with the capacity to contain more liquids in greater water depths.
How will MWCC keep up with technological advancements?The company is committed to continuously enhancing containment capabilities and works with member companies to bring the best thinking to its systems. Ongoing training and drills not only help in preparation, but each drill — as well as the demonstration in summer 2012 — has provided new learnings to build on. MWCC is committed to ongoing training and utilization of the most advanced technologies.
How does the expanded containment system compare to the interim containment system currently available?The interim containment system, currently available for use, meets the needs of all member company wells currently drilling in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. MWCC is building an expanded system that will have increased capacity and capability in greater water depths.
It will be able to cap and flow wells in up to 10,000 feet — as compared to 8,000 feet currently. And it will be able to contain up to 100,000 barrels of liquid per day — as compared to 60,000 barrels per day currently.
When will the expanded containment system be available for use?The expanded containment system is scheduled for delivery starting in 2013. Engineering and procurement are well advanced and fabrication is under way on all key components.
How many member companies make up MWCC?Today, MWCC has grown to 10 member companies whom together have built a strong foundation, a comprehensive organization and a leading deepwater well containment system that is made up of proven equipment and ready to go at all times.
The companies have a long and active history of drilling in the Gulf and represent 70 percent of the wells drilled in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico between 2007 and 2009. Membership remains open to all operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.