NEW ORLEANS – The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has completed its first surprise spill drill inspection in the Gulf of Mexico at Petrobras America Inc.
The “table-top” drill was a joint effort including BOEMRE, the US Coast Guard, Louisiana state officials, and Petrobras America to test the subsea containment preparations for deepwater wells. The exercise specifically tested Petrobras’ ability to assess a subsea well control situation and mobilize the proper subsea containment/intervention equipment in a timely manner.
BOEMRE said the preliminary results were positive and that a final evaluation will come after all the documentation has been analyzed.
The selection of an operator to participate in an unannounced drill is based on such factors as the number of oil producing facilities, the volume of oil production, and proximity to sensitive areas, said BOEMRE. With an eye to the operator’s current activities, a location is chosen and a spill scenario is developed. Fictitious weather conditions provided to the operator during the drill are used to produce a hypothetical trajectory of the spill.
The inspection program was begun by the Minerals Management Service in 1989.