Subsea Underwater Releases – Subsea Plume Analyses
Wild Well’s participation in an ongoing, groundbreaking joint project places us in a unique position as the only well control company with the in-house expertise to accurately predict gas migration through a water column. We understand the limitations of the current computational fluid dynamics technology and when it should or should not be applied.
The SURE research project, focused on how a SUbsea RElease of gas flows to the surface, is ongoing, and Wild Well is one of the project sponsors and contributors. The project is being managed by SINTEF Materials and Chemistry (Norway) and has already provided valuable insight into this phenomena, how accurate current modeling methods are, and how they can be improved. Detailed large-scale experiments have been carried out in both sheltered waters (Trondheim Fjord) and the open ocean (North Sea) in water depths up to 1,200 ft.
Aside from the obvious environmental consequences, oil and gas blowouts from subsea wells are a potential safety issue for surface activities associated with well control response actions. There can be both a flammable and toxic hazard. To improve safety, there is a need for reliable estimates of how much gas flows to the surface, where it arrives at the surface, and how it is dispersed into the atmosphere in the event of such a blowout. There is presently considerable uncertainty about this since all scientific experiments have been conducted with small volumes of gas and no incidents involving large volumes of gas have ever been adequately documented. As a result, the SURE research project promises to provide the reliable estimates necessary for plume control.