UK stages oil spill response trials

Britain’s capabilities in responding to a deepwater oil spill will be tested next week by Exercise Sula, to be staged over two days in Aberdeen and in Shetland, northern Scotland.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – Britain’s capabilities in responding to a deepwater oil spill will be tested next week by Exercise Sula, to be staged over two days in Aberdeen and in Shetland, northern Scotland.

Sula will simulate how various groups would react to a major offshore incident. The exercise is designed to test subsea well control response capability, command and control functions, and the counter-pollution response used to control an ongoing oil spill.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are leading the trials.

Other participants are Chevron Upstream Europe, Oil Spill Response, Stena Offshore, Briggs Environmental, Braemar Howells, BP (Sullom Voe terminal), Shetland Islands Council, Marine Scotland, Hess, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Northern Constabulary, Scottish Natural Heritage, Foods Standards Agency, Scottish Fisheries Association, Oil & Gas UK, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Murray Milligan, exercise director, said: "Exercise Sula will test the participants’ response to an unfolding scenario involving the uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons into the sea from a deep water well operated by Chevron Upstream Europe at the Cambo well site, 86 mi west of Shetland.

"This exercise will give the UK an opportunity to assess its response capability to a release from a wellhead 1,000 m [3,281 ft] below the surface. Before the exercise scenario involves the weather and tides forcing the oil to land onshore, we'll also have the opportunity to test a shoreline response in Shetland.”

05/11/2011

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