When drilling and experiencing a well control event, the decision to either function the shear and seal BOP with pipe in the hole or evacuate the rig before shutting in the well is a complex one. Many human and technical influences come into play in a highly time dependent, often escalating situation. At this time pressured moment the crew concerned fully appreciates that the consequences of their actions are likely to be significant.

A new BOP activation technology has been developed and tested to assist the operations team in making better (safer) decisions at this critically unsafe time. The paper will explain the core system components and detail the testing methodology adopted to facilitate field introduction of this new technology in Saudi Arabia.

At its core, a bespoke safety critical wireless communications solution has been developed which when coupled to robust electrical control and hydraulic power unit hardware, provides a rig upgrade solution when the planned well conditions warrant. It should be noted that the system is a supplementary well control technology designed to operate alongside existing, conventional BOP control systems as opposed to other attempted methods that seek to replace reliable, proven and heavily regulated equipment. The technology is novel in that no technology has been previously developed and tested that allows well shut-in following rig evacuation on land or jack-up rig installations.

Significant learnings captured during the development project, including the testing phase will be shared, with a look forward to full operational deployment considerations such as integration with existing rig technology.

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