6 Jun 2013

Gear to cap oil rig has to be shipped from UK

8:12 pm on 6 June 2013

An international petroleum company manager says it would take up to 14 days to cap a deep water well in the event of a blowout.

Anadarko is planning to drill two deep water exploration wells off the coast of Taranaki and Canterbury in 2014.

Drilling manager Stuart Boggan told the Enex oil and gas conference in New Plymouth on Thursday that capping technology has improved since the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and leaking an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf before being capped.

Mr Boggan says if there was a blowout in a deep water well, four jumbo jets would need to fly a capping stack from the United Kingdom and the cap would then need to be shipped to the site.

He told the conference deep water drilling is not that complicated and Anadarko has been doing it successfully for 15 years in 15 countries.

Plans for deepest offshore well

Plans are underway to drill the deepest offshore well ever to reach into the Earth's mantle.

A representative from Blade Energy Partners, an American company involved in planning the scientific venture, spoke at the conference.

Strategic relationships director Robert Pilko said he is working on the project for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme, which is supported by 26 countries.

Mr Pilko said the aim is to take core samples from the mantle to better understand the Earth's geology and discover any life forms. Drilling would involve going through water depths of 4km, and then 2km through the Pacific Ocean's crust to reach the upper mantle.

Mr Pilko said the biggest risk would be having enough capital to complete the project, planned for 2017. A drill ship would be needed for about a 100 days, costing $US500,000 a day.