R&D Pact on Deepwater Spill Containment

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 @ 07:02 PM gHale

Questions still remain about the blowout preventer that failed to work in the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, a research pact may find an answer on how to handle the incredible pressure in the well.

Along those lines, Stony Brook University reached a technical collaboration agreement with Subsea Oil Technologies, Inc. for research and development in subsea oil and/or gas spill (blowout) containment methods and apparatus configurations.

As part of an initial stage of the collaboration, the two organizations filed a patent application titled “Modular Pressure Management Oil Spill Containment System and Method.”

The co-inventors of the patent application are Scott Wolinsky, a graduate of Stony Brook University and the inventor of Subsea’s patent-pending technology for containing subsea oil and/or gas spills, and Dr. Devinder Mahajan and Dr. Miriam Rafailovich of Stony Brook University’s Department of Materials Science in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“Petroleum and gas companies will continue to drill deeper for more oil and gas to maintain adequate supplies and meet increasing global demand,” said Dr. Mahajan, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, who also serves as the Co-Director with Dr. Rafailovich of the Chemical and Molecular Engineering Program at Stony Brook University, and holds a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

“The risk associated with possible disastrous blowouts, such as the one that was observed during the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill, must be mitigated,” he said. “It should be realized that it is not the oil or gas management that is the problem during drilling, but it is the tremendous pressure associated with flowing oil and gas in the column. Our recently filed patent application addresses the issue of the management of the force that pushes deepwater oil/gas to the ocean surface during offshore drilling.”

The technical collaboration agreement reflects the joint assignment of this patent application to Subsea Oil Technologies, Inc. and Stony Brook University. However, Subsea plans to negotiate for exclusive rights to license Stony Brook’s interest in the patent application.

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