Oil Spill Response (OSRL), a UK-based company specialising in the global fight against oil spills, has launched Offset Installation Equipment (OIE), the latest development in subsea well capping technology.

The launch was carried out from the equipment’s new home base in Trieste, Italy.

OIE is reported to be the culmination of six years’ work between members of the Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP), OSRL and Saipem.

The new OIE, which is designed specifically for scenarios where direct vertical access to a wellhead is not possible, allows well capping or related equipment to be installed at a safe distance from an incident.

According to the company, this is the first time that such a capability has been made available to the offshore oil and gas industry.

OSRL chief executive Robert Limb said: “For us, and all those involved in SWRP, the launch of the OIE is final piece of the puzzle and the culmination of a lot of hard work.

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“Since the formation of the project in 2011, we had one core objective; to design and build a comprehensive range of well capping solutions, with the flexibility to meet the current and future requirements of the industry. With the arrival of OIE here in Italy, that objective is met.”

OIE is currently available to existing OSRL members through a Subsea Well Intervention Services (SWIS) supplementary agreement.

“OIE has the potential to make a huge difference in the time it takes to cap a well or stop a critical blowout and has never been attempted before.”

The existing OIE members include BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Shell, Statoil and Total.

All the current OIE members represent the founding members of SWRP.

The launch of OIE coincides with the final phase of SWRP, following completion of the related capping and containment projects.

SWRP project lead Eli Bøhnsdalen said: “OIE has the potential to make a huge difference in the time it takes to cap a well or stop a critical blowout and has never been attempted before.

“With that in mind, it is with great pride that I’m able to say the equipment is now available to the industry.

“Saipem, which has been responsible for the design, fabrication and testing, will now be responsible for the OIE’s ongoing storage and maintenance, from its base here in Trieste. Saipem’s extensive experience working with equipment designed for harsh environments, remote areas and deep water means that the OIE couldn’t be in safer hands.”

It is reported that the OIE equipment can be deployed up to 500m from an incident site and is suitable for use at a working depth of 75m to 600m.

The OIE is fully compatible with OSRL’s capping equipment, and also creates an end-to-end capping and containment solution suitable for almost all subsea scenarios.