A fit-for-purpose capping stack designed to cope with Alaska’s environmental extremes will play a key role in the US Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)-compliant containment system Shell Exploration & Production has put together for this summer’s resumption of drilling activities in the region.
Recently completed at Trendsetter Engineering’s Houston facility, the Arctic Capping Stack (ACS) forms an integral part of Shell E&P Alaska’s oil spill response plan for both the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. If called upon, the emergency pressure containing device will act as a barrier to allow well operations should an existing BOP fail. The ROV-operable ACS has an anticipated equipment design life of 20 years and is claimed capable of capturing processing fluid at a rate of 100,000b/d, with onboard accumulation for rapid well control.
Shell will be drilling in shallow water depths around the 200ft mark. According to Trendsetter project manager Mauricio Madrid, Arctic weather and environmental extremes encountered both at the frigid seafloor and in the air mandated specialized design, engineering, and function requirements for the ACS to be effective.
He added: ‘The ACS was shipped in truckable modules to Portland, Oregon and was restacked in less than two days. This kind of quick response is imperative should there be an offshore crisis.’