Since 2016, FEC has been working collaboratively with a client based in Houston to assist in engineering and drafting works for their product development. The products in development represent a significant advancement in Blowout Prevention (BOP) technology used in off-shore and on-shore oil & gas drilling operations.

Devices currently used by industry are extremely sensitive to activation timing to prevent a catastrophic blowout scenario. Unfortunately, many significant blowout events have occurred around the world, and have resulted in the loss of life and significant environmental damage (e.g. Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico 2010). BOPs have been used on oil rigs in some form since the 1920s but are prevention only devices and therefore have significant limitations. The new technology attaches to the existing BOP stack as a blowout “stopper” (BOS), which offers a much more reliable, safe solution.

The BOS weighs 10T and operates at internal pressures of up to 15ksi.g (103MPa.g). The high-pressure high-temperature design requirements have required significant innovation and problem-solving.

FEC’s involvement in the project has included:

  • Dynamic shearing analyses of a ballistically driven cutting device and calibration to physical testing.
  • Design and analysis of all high-pressure housings and mechanisms for 103MPa.g internal pressure to API 16A
  • Modelling of specialised energy dissipation materials
  • Design of tooling for valve assembly and maintenance
  • Advanced seal design for demanding environmental conditions
  • Detailed drafting for fabrication including detail machining drawings and tolerance studies

Following successful testing of a 5” prototype, for both shearing and sealing the wellbore, the design is progressing to several other product variants as well as a subsea testing phase for an 18” shearing device.