The subsea blowout preventer (BOP) is one of the primary technologies that has enabled the oil and gas industry to discover and develop deeper and more complex wells offshore. Since the invention of the first ram-type BOP in the 1920s, ever-developing BOP technology has expanded the boundaries of a safe drilling environment. New learnings derived from historical usage and advances in material science have been applied as we continue to push the envelope further. The 1980s saw a leap in offshore technology as 15,000psi (15K) BOPs hit the market. For nearly 40 years, 15K has been the limit. In the early 2010s, discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) were being made that suggested a need for 20,000psi (20K) subsea BOPs. A handful of companies have spent the rest of the decade pursuing a cost-effective and technically-capable 20K subsea BOP solution, while regulatory bodies have debated the safe implementation of this step-change. The year 2020 will mark the point in time a fully qualified 20K subsea BOP becomes available to the industry. As a result, the 2020s may very well become known as the decade 20K assets became feasible, opening up a whole new set of opportunities for oil companies around the world.
The leap from 15K to 20K was far more challenging than the leap from 10K to 15K that the industry made in 1980s. Nearly everything had to change. Not just the technology, but even the way companies work together. This paper explains the challenge of the 20K leap, provides a summary of the design and testing that has gone into developing the industry's first fully qualified subsea 20K subsea BOP, and discusses how 20K has changed the way operators, contractors, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) work together.
Number of Pages
Looking for more?
Some of the OnePetro partner societies have developed subject- specific wikis that may help.