BP video conference on Blowout Preventers
A blowout preventer (BOP) is a large device with a series of valves (also referred to as “rams”) placed at the top of a well that can be closed for safety reasons during drilling. The rams are designed to close if pressure from an underground formation causes fluids such as oil or natural gas to enter the wellbore and threaten the rig.
By closing the rams, undesired fluid flow can be prevented, thus allowing the opportunity to regain control of the wellbore. Once the well is closed, the situation is then evaluated to determine the procedure required to return the well to safe operating status.
A BOP can be installed above ground or under water. BOPs for a deepwater well are powered and controlled remotely by means of hydraulic actuators. Today’s average deep-sea BOP can control 15,000 pounds per square inch (psi) in water up to 10,000 feet deep.
There are three basic types of valves used in deepwater BOPs: One valve is a “ram” that makes a seal on pipe of a specific diameter by making a sharp horizontal motion. Another type makes seals on pipes of various diameters. A third type of BOP valve seals the wellbore itself.
The Horizon Deepwater BOP contains elements of all three types of valve