BSEE Panel Investigation Into Incident Yields Recommendations To Protect the Environment

Credit: BSEE.
On 13 October 2017, BSEE investigators photographed the sheen during a flyover on the way to initiate an onsite investigation.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on 30 December released the panel investigation report on an October 2017 oil release located in approximately 4,463 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 40 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. The panel included BSEE career subject-matter experts including petroleum engineers, pipeline engineers, and incident investigators. Based on the panel’s findings and additional engagement with offshore operators, the report makes recommendations for improving subsea leak prevention and detection strategies.    

The leak, reported by LLOG Exploration Offshore, resulted from fractured subsea infrastructure that tied into LLOG’s Delta House platform located at Mississippi Canyon Block 254. Over an approximate 24-hour period beginning the morning of 11 October, a fractured subsea wellhead jumper that connected one wellhead to a subsea skid referred to as a PLET (pipeline end termination), released an estimated 16,000 bbl of oil into the Gulf. Ocean currents flowed southwest at the time of the incident, and there were no reports of oil reaching the coastline.

As a result of its investigation into the incident and its findings, BSEE recommends that operators increase scrutiny in the design, placement, and maintenance of their subsea infrastructure. In particular, the report recommends careful evaluation of flowline components and surveying methods to ensure suitability and longevity. The panel also outlined several recommended improvements in subsea leak detection including enhanced monitoring technology and additional training.

Find the full report here (PDF).

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