The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has approved a drilling permit, originally submitted by BP in January 2011, for a new well in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. This is BP’s first drilling permit approved since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill and meets the bureau’s enhanced safety requirements and standards established following the tragedy. The application is under a supplemental exploration plan that was approved last week following a site-specific environmental assessment by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (see earlier story).
“BP has met all of the enhanced safety requirements that we have implemented and applied consistently over the past year. In addition, BP has adhered to voluntary standards that go beyond the agency’s regulatory requirements,” said BSEE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “This permit was approved only after thorough well design, blowout preventer, and containment capability reviews.”
The proposed exploratory well is part of BP’s Kaskida prospect located in the Gulf’s Keathley Canyon map area approximately 246 miles south of Lafayette, LA in 6,034 feet water depth. In addition to meeting the bureau’s rigorous standards, BSEE verified that BP has met the additional standards it volunteered to adhere to in July 2011. These voluntary standards include: the use of blind shear rams and a casing shear ram on subsea blowout preventers (BOPs); third party verification of BOP testing and maintenance; and laboratory testing of cement slurries.
As part of its approval process, BSEE reviewed BP’s containment capability available for the specific well proposed in the permit application. BP has contracted with the Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) to use its capping stack to stop the flow of oil, should a blowout occur. The capabilities of the capping stack meet the requirements established by the specific characteristics of the proposed well.
Since an applicant first successfully demonstrated containment capabilities in mid-February 2011, BSEE has approved 165 permits for 46 unique deepwater wells requiring subsea containment as of October 26, 2011
October 28, 2011