Unique Project Air Freight Trial Means Faster Capping of Undersea Oil Spills

Specialist heavy lift air freight group Antonov has released details of a landmark trial delivery it recently undertook together with air charter group Chapman Freeborn. The project cargo was a specially designed capping stack from Southampton based client Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), a vital piece of emergency equipment in the event of a major oil spill. The successful test flight, the first time ever that a complete capping stack has been transported by air, means that oil companies can now reach faraway oil spills much faster and cap the wells more quickly.

The fully assembled subsea capping stack and housing, which weighed a massive 85.5 tonnes and measured 11.5 by 5.5 by 3.9 metres, was flown using an AN-124 aircraft in a test flight to and from Stavanger in Norway. The project means that, whereas previously transporting capping stack equipment by air would have meant breaking it down into multiple payloads and reassembling it at the destination before moving it to the incident site, the operation can now be managed with a one piece, complete unit. Chris Lund, Technical Manager for OSRL’s SWIS team, said:

“When every minute counts, the number one priority is stopping the flow of hydrocarbons as quickly as possible. The ability to transport a fully assembled capping stack by air is a critical development for the industry. Sea transport remains the most likely mobilisation option for the majority of well sites, but for wells in more remote areas, this is a vital addition to our subsea capping and containment offering.”