API unveils capping stack standard

Capping stack guidelines: API rolls out new guidelines for well-control devices

The American Petroleum Institute trade group has rolled out standards for subsea capping stacks used to control well blowouts.

The US lobby and standards organisation said on Wednesday its Recommended Practice for Subsea Capping Stacks, RP 17W, will apply to the design, manufacturing, transportation and installation of new stacks, as well as updates to existing ones.

The guidelines also cover the deployment, shut-in and recovery of the units. The changes also update six other RPs and standards to reflect the capping stack guidelines.

"Enhanced industry standards are an essential piece of our collaboration with regulators to make offshore oil and gas development safer than ever before," said David Miller, API director of standards.

"These guidelines will further strengthen subsea spill response capabilities as part of industry’s commitment to continuous improvement in safety."

Capping stacks emerged from the 2010 Macondo disaster as a device to harness out-of-control blowouts from hard-to-access deep-water well-sites.

A number of the units have been manufactured for the joint use of companies who have signed on for the services of the Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) and Helix Energy Solutions.

US regulators at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) are also putting the finishing touches on a broader set of rules for well control.

Those new requirements are expected out in draft form by the end of this year.

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