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Tinsley Bridge Group

Cutting edge technology used to combat environmental disaster

Oil Spill

As the whole world watched the dramatic images from the BP oil spill, it was Sheffield-based Tyzack Machine Knives, part of Tinsley Bridge Group which provided one of the key pieces of equipment to bring the disaster under control.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. When the rig exploded, the riser pipe connecting the rig to the seabed well head remained attached.

The pipe needed removing as quickly as possible so the well head could be capped, but this required expert machinery as the steel pipe was 350mm in diameter and beneath one mile of sea water.

It was Tyzack Machine Knives’ technology which was brought in for the job.

Technical director David Owens said: “A piece of equipment called the Genesis XP was used. It’s the most powerful shear cutter in the world and the engineers working in America specified that only Tyzack shear blades are suitable for the extreme cutting the machine is designed to do.”

The Genesis XP, fitted with the Tyzack blades, and a full hydraulic power pack were lowered into the sea. Via an internet video link-up, engineers all over the world were able to watch as the Tyzack blades cut through the pipe and enabled the capping off process to proceed.

David said: “Tyzack Machine Knives is a globally-recognised brand and we’re proud that our expertise was used to bring this disaster under control. We’ve got more than 65 years of experience and plenty of specialist knowledge so we’re glad our skills could be drawn upon to help out during this crisis.”