The Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has approved the first permit to restart deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico since the Macondo spill incident, referencing availability of containment solutions like the Helix Fast Response System as a deciding factor in allowing drilling to resume. Twenty independent E&P companies have formed the Helix Well Containment Group ("HWGC") to facilitate a joint industry response between operators, who are members of Clean Gulf Associates, in the event of a future spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Helix Fast Response System is an integral component of this response.
"Working together with the BOEMRE and the Department of the Interior, Helix and the HWCG are furthering the concept that the oil industry can safely and responsibly resume operations in the Gulf to meet the nation's growing energy needs," said Owen Kratz, CEO of Helix Energy Solutions Group. "We have a solution for addressing a spill today, and are continuing to work with the government and industry to expand response capabilities to provide a comprehensive response solution."
The Helix Fast Response System includes subsea equipment, the Q4000 and the Helix Producer I vessels, to facilitate control and containment of spills in water depths to 5,600 feet. The system is anticipated to expand to ratings of 8,000 foot water depths, with capture and processing capabilities of 55,000 barrels of oil per day and 95 million cubic feet of gas per day by the end of March. "Our response program utilizes proven technologies and assets stationed in the Gulf full time, to ensure a swift, reliable and carefully orchestrated response carried out by offshore crews that work with the equipment on a daily basis," Kratz added.