This paper describes requirements for blowout contingency planning with emphasis on planning for offshore blowouts. The contents are also generally applicable to onshore blowouts. The paper is influenced by the author's experiences as blowout specialists.

Topics to be included in the contingency plan are discussed. These include management structure, Stage 1 - disaster early response, Stage 2- disaster containment, Stage 3- disaster control, blowout equipment requirements, specialist personnel, and kill technique selection.

Computerized blowout contingency planning will be discussed briefly Comments will address accessing a blowout database for case histories similar to the current event and accessing a blowout equipment and services database.

The paper has applications for operators (1) required to present contingency plans to regulatory agencies or (2) desiring to introduce or enhance this technical capability within their company.


The blowout contingency plan should be part of an overall emergency plan. It is a guide giving directions and procedures required for handling any type of emergency, regardless of the nature. The emergency plan could be used in conjunction with blowout plans, hurricane or typhoon contingency planning, fire control operations or other similar disaster situations.

A blowout contingency plan should contain directives for handling most aspects of blowout management, personnel assignments and responsibilities, and specialists for specific assignments, It may contain specialized equipment requirements and include equipment stockpiling in some areas.

Blowout contingency plans are dependent on the operator's personnel and management structures. Since these differ among companies, it is not common to find identical plans for several companies. It should be customized to utilize specific personnel and management but also must be designed to handle the most likely disasters and the surrounding conditions.

The contingency should be used as planning described here in a guide. Each company must weigh alternatives and make selections to form their unique contingency plan. Consultation with blowout specialists during contingency lan development is recommended.

This discussion identifies topics found in contingency plans including the following:

  • Management structure

  • Disaster Early Respons

  • Disaster Containment

  • Disaster Control

  • Blowout data and information requirements

  • Blowout control equipment

  • Specialist third party personnel

  • Kill technique selection

The format for the contingency plan will vary among operators. Also, it may be prepared as a written document and/or computerized,

Relief well contingency planning is a sub-set of blowout control contingency planning (Stage 3). Relief well plans can be large and are often prepared as a separate document. Most information is available on a preliminary basis to prepare the relief well plan. Capping operations can not be pre-planned to the same level of detail as relief wells since capping is dependent on blowout conditions and the resulting damage, Relief well contingency planning will be described briefly.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.