Title page for ETD etd-04232012-211924

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Smith, Louise Matilde
URN etd-04232012-211924
Title A Review of Offshore Blowouts and Spills to Determine Desirable Capabilities of a Subsea Capping Stack
Degree Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering (M.S.P.E.)
Department Petroleum Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Smith, John Rogers Committee Chair
Bourgoyne, Darryl Committee Member
Hughes, Richard G. Committee Member
Tyagi, Mayank Committee Member
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • blowouts
  • capping stack
  • Gulf Research Initiative
  • spills
Date of Defense 2012-03-28
Availability unrestricted
The events surrounding the Deepwater Horizon disaster have changed the face of deepwater operations. In order to continue drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the regulatory body, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), has required that applications to conduct work in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) include a plan to stop, capture, or contain any uncontrolled release of fluids. The capping and containment systems built and implemented by BP during the event are an excellent starting point for minimizing pollution from deepwater subsea blowouts, but the system has limitations. The industry recognizes these limits but is currently focused on meeting the regulatory requirements.

This project will analyze events reported to the BSEE in the past 15 years to define the basis for potential capabilities that a capping and containment system should have to minimize the volume of fluid released as well as minimize the time needed to regain control of the well. The analysis will take a detailed look at 90 events over the past 15 years to determine critical factors in the design of a generally applicable capping stack. The research will also look at specific barriers that were used to regain control of the well. Finally, any factors which contributed to the severity of the event or contributed to the success of the blowout response are identified. Based on this detailed review, a list of design considerations for a generally applicable capping stack was created.

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