The accumulator unit is one of the critical well control equipment and its main aim is to supply the pumps with atmospheric fluid while also storing high pressure operating fluid for operating BOP stack. In this article, we will learn about requirements of critical components of an accumulator unit including accumulators, reservoir, pneumatic pump, electric motor driven pumps and hydraulic control manifold/valve & fitting.
Surface BOP Control Systems Equipment
For storing high pressure fluid, accumulators are pressure vessels (ASME coded). Depending on requirements, the accumulators can be found in all sorts of types, sizes, pressure ratings, and capacities. Most commonly, ‘float’ and ‘bladder’ accumulators are used which come in ball or cylindrical shapes. Furthermore, they can be top or bottom loading.
Figure 1 – Accumulator Bottles
If bottom loading, servicing will require them to be removed from the accumulator unit. If top loading, both float and bladder can be removed while mounted on the accumulator unit. Without destroying their stamp of approval, both types of accumulators can actually be repaired in the field whenever necessary. Continue reading
Of all diverts, many studies show a failure rate of between 50% and 70%. According to the same studies, when it comes to well control issues, shallow gas blowouts is the leading cause of offshore rig damage and loss. On the US Outer Continental Shelf, the MMS agrees with these findings and has suggested a 46% failure rate between 1971 and 1991. Even though mandatory well control training was introduced during this period, the MMS has noted that a reduction in blowout frequency wasn’t experienced during this time.
Considering the danger of shallow steam or gas zones requires unique well control considerations. Whenever the necessary casing shoe integrity cannot be obtained due to the shallowness of the zones (before encountering pressure), a kick will need to be diverted because it cannot be shut-in. For this situation, a diverter shown in Figure 1 is a mandatory equipment to divert the undesirable flow to allow personal to have proceed the next plan; i.e., evacuation and/or dynamically kill a well.
Figure 1 – Diverter Package in Well Control (Courtesy of Cansco Dubai LLC)
By directing the flow from an unloading well, diverting allows physical damage to be limited to all equipment and rig personnel. With specialized procedures and equipment, the idea is to impose limited back pressure on the weak downhole formations. Although not strictly a well control procedure, diverting successfully will allow the well to be dynamically killed, to bridge over, or be depleted (without losing equipment or life). Continue reading
Suited towards surface or subsea applications, the Cameron Type ‘U’ preventer is one of well known wellbore pressure assisted ram preventers . It can come with a single ram (Figure 1) or double rams unit (Figure 2). When it comes to see whether the rams is in closed or opened position, this isn’t possible through observation alone and this is due to the operating rod’s tail end being enclosed inside the preventer itself. Since 1979, all Type ‘U’ preventers have required H2S service capabilities. One of key features of this BOP is a capability to pump open the bonnet doors. Once the four bonnet bolts have been removed, top-load ram changing is made easy by applying closing pressure to push the bonnet out.
Figure 1 – Single Rams Unit – Camron U BOP
Figure 2 – Double Rams Unit – Camron U BOP
When penetrated from a platform or a jack-up, shallow gas reservoirs have the potential of being more hazardous. Since the conductor almost reaches the floor of the rig, any kick products discharge into the hazardous zone directly.
To direct the flow overboard, the diverter will close automatically when a shallow gas flow occurs. During a period of stress, the diverter system’s reliability is questionable which is why failure should always be considered.
If a restriction forms in the diverter line, a hazardous situation quickly develops on a bottom supported rig. Around the seabed’s casing, gas can actually broach as a result of the pressure build-up. Whenever this occurs, the risk of the seabed becoming fluidized increases and therefore so does the risk of a rapid reduction in spudcan resistance.
Shallow gas encountered on a jack up rig (Ref – officerofthewatch.com)