API Specification 16A defines the requirements for design, testing, and other aspects of drill-through equipment. This includes ram and annular blowout preventers as well as connectors, spools, and adapters. The most recent edition contains changes that will drive a significant amount of rigorous testing to monogram pressure-control equipment going forward. This drill-through equipment will contain many operating system seals that are off-the-shelf but original equipment manufacturers (OEM) must also design custom seal assemblies to contain a flowing wellbore fluid. This requires optimizing the design of the assembly and selecting a compatible elastomer compound. Both steps are critical to meet performance requirements. Once designed, the prototype must undergo a battery of tests to qualify the design to API 16A. Here, formalized test standards divide equipment qualification into performance requirement (PR) levels, either PR1 or PR2. Previous editions of API 16A did not have PR levels.

Laboratory evaluation of elastomer compounds and full-scale component testing may be performed to improve the final product. Lab test results include immersion testing in hydrogen sulfide while product testing at elevated temperature and pressure may be performed in a full-size blowout preventer (BOP). API 16A test standards are used by the industry to monogram the finished product. However, there are limitations in API 16A qualification tests regarding chemical compatibility. Annular and ram BOP packers and seal designs serve as examples of the technological process used to improve performance and extend service life at elevated temperatures and pressures. All testing is tied back to API 16A validation and qualification requirements.

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