Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Helix Q4000 is a key player in oil spill response

The Helix Q4000 multiservice vessel certainly has laid its claim to fame during the highly publicized oil spill response and containment efforts involving BP PLC’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.

The Q4000 has performed numerous roles since the Apr. 20 blowout of the deepwater well. Cranes on the Q4000 lowered equipment to the seabed in 5,000 ft of water. The vessel also served as a receiving platform for oil and gas diverted from the spill, and was home to the equipment that then flared that oil and gas. It’s also been used to inject heavy drilling mud into the Macondo during the top kill and now the static kill efforts.

When BP pumped cement into the Macondo well from the top, the Q4000 was involved. Owned by Helix Energy Solutions Group, the Q4000 was commissioned in 1999 by Cal Dive International and built at Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Tex.

The Q4000 is built on a semisubmersible design featuring a large deck space that enables various tasks, including subsea completion, decommissioning, and handling coiled tubing.

For now at least, the Q4000 has become a household word for anyone closely following the oil spill response efforts. That’s pretty remarkable publicity for an oil service vessel.

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Blogger H. Leger said...

I’m real proud of the little lady, the Q4000. Prior to my retirement in early 2000, I had the privilege of working with the early development team whom were designing and overseeing the construction of this unique vessel. My small contribution involved mostly cost monitoring, research and development tax credits, capitalizations and other matters associated with building the vessel. Her uniqueness is not only the ability to “go deep “ but also having the capability of doing construction work at those depths whether at 1,000 or 10,000 feet; while holding station or while moving about the site. The variety of construction chores assigned to the “Q” is almost endless. Ms. Dittrick, the author in the above article, calls attention to this flexibility and the “numerous roles” the vessel was assigned to do during the BP spill recovery. Although built hardy for her size, the Q4000’s forte is more towards nimbleness and speed than brute force.

Speaking of things I’m proud of, the Q4000 was U.S. built, U.S flagged and crewed; this is a rarity in today’s O&G maritime industry.

August 5, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

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