Blowout Prevention Equipment Systems used When Drilling
Blowout prevention techniques are used by oil and gas companies all over the world to prevent disasters from happening, avoiding the possibility of severe damage and even down time. Companies take strong measures to avoid such calamities and ensure smooth operations during the drilling process. Regulations in many countries require oil and gas companies to comply with a set of rules in ‘well control' and ensure that all employees on the rig are trained on well control policies and procedures. The most important equipment used in avoiding any disaster or blowout at the drilling site is called the Blowout Preventer.
Preventing the ‘kick.'
Companies use blowout prevention equipment at the drilling site in case of a bad ‘kick' or a high upward pressure formed by the fluid surging up the well. To maintain the pressure balance, drilling engineers use ‘drilling mud' to maintain equilibrium between the upward and downward pressure to avoid any breaches in valves that can lead to overflow of energy resource causing severe damage.
Blowout Preventers (BOPs)
Blowout preventers are the final foolproof measure to contain the blowout in case there is a severe kick from the well. BOPs essentially shut down the fluid supply to and from the well in the final ditch to save a kick from turning into a blowout. Blowout Prevention equipment consists of a couple of vital features including the Accumulator, Annular and RAM, as well as valves. BOPs are usually mounted on the wellhead and are a combination of multiple BOP Stacks. These stacks can be of two types: RAMs and Annulars.
These types of Blowout Preventers consist of sealing elements on opposite sides of the BOP body and are controlled by hydraulic cylinders on both sides. In case of uncontrollable pressure or kick from the well, the RAM BOP will create a seal around the drill pipe or shut off the open hole completely depending on the type of RAM BOP that's in use. In certain circumstances when there is no better solution available, RAM BOP can cut-off the drill pipe and seal the hole on top.
Annular BOP, also known as Universal Blowout Preventing Equipment, is capable of sealing a variety of pipes with varying diameters. Annular BOP consists of a rubber which is donut shaped and can be mechanically squeezed into an inlet of drill pipe, drill collar, or even the open hole to seal the opening and shutoff the fluid supply completely. An efficient BOP stack can contain an Annular on top and a RAM in the stack below. This combination adds to the safety of the rig and helps mitigate blowout more efficiently.
Oil and Gas drilling companies spend years researching to find the right energy source on land and at sea. The investment that goes in building an oil rig is colossal; hence it is necessary to employ the right well control or blowout prevention techniques that allow smooth extraction of energy resource from the ground below and add to the security and safety of employees working at the site.