Case studies

22

Background:

The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Horizon oil spill had a dramatic effect on all 33 deep-sea drilling rigs operating in the Gulf. Until a solution was found to stop the calamity happening again, President Obama ordered a stop to oil shipments from the affected area.

Objective:

This didn't only impact the petroleum companies. AET Tankers had a 60% share of the Gulf business at this point and needed to develop a response - fast.

Approach:

Their team proposed a highly creative idea. The proposal was to utilise two modular capture vessels, which would be linked together to act as a floating platform upon which a processing and pumping infrastructure could be placed. This structure would then be able to move to any rig in distress, take over the oil extraction, and prevent another spill. To ensure the structure remained absolutely stationery (sideways movement would rupture the pipes from the seabed) AET worked with technology companies to devise a GPS system that synchronised the propellers and kept the ships stable.

Outcome:

AET Tankers had found an ingenious solution to the production halt, which would allow their customers, such as BP, Exxon and Chevron, to continue pumping. This helped AET strengthen its position as a strategic partner rather than just a supplier. As a result AET signed a 20-year contract with the Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC), a conglomerate made up of the world's largest oil and gas companies, to deliver an improved containment response capability for the US Gulf of Mexico.