Frequently asked questions

What is the Subsea Well Response Project?

The Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP) is a non-profit joint initiative, led by technical experts and senior management from several of the world’s major oil and gas companies. Operated by Shell on behalf of the other participating companies, SWRP’s core objective was to manage the selection and design of caps and associated equipment to enhance industry capabilities to respond to well control incidents. This includes recommending a model for the international storage, maintenance and deployment of this equipment.

How is this project organised?

The companies participating in SWRP are all involved in subsea oil and gas production. Their participation represents a substantial investment (both financially and in terms of manpower) and a major commitment to work proactively and cooperatively to build on existing capabilities and develop enhanced oil spill response equipment and methods. The project builds on work concluded by OGP’s Global Industry Response Group, but has no contractual ties to OGP.

How can this project help mitigate future well incidents?

Incident prevention remains the main focus. However should an incident occur, then it is important to as much as reasonably possible reduce the impact of the incident. SWRP is specifically focused on reducing the impact of a well incident, in the event of one occurring. SWRP has undertaken extensive technical analysis, designed new equipment, and developed new deployment strategies, which are expected to help decrease the time it takes to stop the flow from an uncontrolled well and enhance both subsurface and surface response capabilities to reduce the environmental impact of any incident.

What is SWRP hoping to achieve?

SWRP was set up with four core tasks in mind:

  • Designing a capping toolbox to allow subsea wells to be shut in,
  • Designing a subsea incident response toolkit for the subsea injection of dispersant,
  • Assessing the need for, and feasibility of, a containment system suitable for international use, and
  • Evaluating potential approaches for equipment deployment.

We achieved these objectives with the  March 2013 launch of four capping stack toolboxes and two subsea incident response toolkits for debris clearing and the subsea application of dispersant. We are collaborating with Oil Spill Response Ltd to provide an international deployment mechanism and make the equipment available to the industry. Following studies into containment scenarios, we have determined the feasibility of a global containment system.

SWRP is now continuing plans for a containment toolkit for international use. When used in conjunction with standard available hardware, this equipment will bring leaking oil from a subsea wellhead in a controlled way to the surface for storage and disposal.

What is SWRP’s relationship with Oil Spill Response Ltd?

SWRP is collaborating with Oil Spill Response Ltd to make the intervention system available to the industry. We chose to work with OSRL owing to its extensive experience in providing oil spill response around the world. OSRL now owns the equipment and is responsible for its storage and maintenance. Oil and gas companies can gain access to the intervention system through subscription to OSRL and supplementary agreements

What is the expected timing of the project deliverables?

The four core project deliverables are now completed. Take a look at the timeline to find out more. SWRP is currently developing a global containment system, which should be available for industry use in 2014.

Will companies outside of the consortium be involved in, and benefit from, SWRP’s work?

SWRP’s deliverables are intended to benefit the international oil and gas industry. Companies can already gain access to the capping and dispersant equipment through membership of Oil Spill Response Ltd and a subscription to the Subsea Well Intervention Service.