New deal to prevent another Deepwater Horizon disaster

A new deal will see the chances of another Deepwater Horizon type oil spill dramatically cut, according to the two companies involved.

FES International is to work with Helix Energy to improve the safety of the company's work in the Gulf of Mexico.

FES International, a global provider of fluid transfer systems, and Helix Energy a offshore energy company, have created an emergency protocol called the Helix Fast Response System (HFRS).

According to FES International the impact of the Deepwater Horizon accident was increased as time 'was wasted' as 'no official protocol team' were in place in case of an emergency.

The other main issue, adding to what was a lengthy recovery operation, was the majority of oil drilling and production in the Mexican Gulf is conducted from fixed rig platforms as opposed to flexible and movable equipment.

The vessels called Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO) or Floating Production Units (FPU) can be moved quickly to spill areas to help seal the problems.

FES International managing director, Rob Anderson, explained that when the spill happened last year, the Helix Producer 1 was one of the only mobilised FPUs with the right equipment capable of moving location and transferring fluid from the leak.

In the event of a new emergency the Helix Producer 1 will stop all oil production and move to any area where there is a spill to stop the leak.

Mr Anderson said: "We are very proud to be a part of the official safety protocol in the Mexican Gulf and to continue working with Helix Energy on such a worthwhile project.

"Earlier this year FES International and Helix Energy presented BOEMRE with a preliminary emergency procedure called the Helix Fast Response System (HFRS) that would cover the Gulf of Mexico in case of any future disasters helping to minimise risk in the region.

"While this has been currently being adopted as the initial precaution safeguarding the gulf, FES has been working closely with Helix Energy to develop the permanent safety procedure which is set to be introduced in October 2011."

Luke Walsh


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