In the preliminary days of oilfield operations, there was an absence of a way to control the underground pressure encountered during drilling. When an oil or gas reservoir was tapped, wells were allowed to ‘blow-out’ till the time pressure was reduced to a great extent to allow capping. Serious attempts were made to come up with a device that could control such blowouts. In the year 1922, oil wildcatter James Abercrombie (1891-1975) and machine-minder Harry Cameron (1872-1928), filed a patent for the hydraulic ram-type blowout preventer. Their invention was a significant technology for ending dangerous oil gushers. It was in January 1926 that their application was approved and this marked the point of no return for petroleum drilling technologies, which has been evolving since 1859. Blowout preventers marked the beginning of a revolution.
“The object of our invention is to provide a device designed to be secured to the top of the casing while the drilling is being done and which will be adapted to be closed tightly about the drill stem when necessary.”
– James Abercrombi and Harry Cameron
Undoubtedly, the landmark contributions of pioneers like James Abercombie, Harry Cameron, and others have considerably made the energy landscape safer, more productive and more sensitive to the environment. It was in the year 2003, that the American Society of Mechanical Engineers recognized and acknowledged the Cameron Ram-Type Blowout Preventer as a ‘historic mechanical engineering landmark’.
Since its invention, this engineering marvel has significantly evolved and holds an unparalleled place in the modern oil and gas industry. The current market scenario of BOP is a reflection of its crucial role in drilling operations.
Global Market of BOP
According to the Global Blowout Preventer Market 2017-2021 Report by Technavio, a leading market research organization that has the Energy industrial landscape as one of the prime focus areas, the global blowout preventer market is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 4% until 2021. The report highlights that deep and ultra-deepwater drilling projects will rise in the coming years which will have a positive impact on BOP’s market growth.
Amidst the projection of a strong growth in the BOP market, there has been an increasing number of companies that manufacture and offer services with respect to the BOP systems. Outlined below are some of the leading BOP companies in the oil & gas industry.
Schlumberger is widely recognized as a global leader in technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing. For enhanced performance, this tech giant has been providing the most comprehensive range of products and services for the oil and gas industry for almost a century now.
Schlumberger’s Cameron occupies a significant space in the global market of oilfield equipment. It is into project management and aftermarket services for the oil and gas and process industries. It provides inspection, maintenance, repair, optimization, and customer training to ensure safety and optimal functioning of all its equipment.
Cameron was the first company to engineer large-bore drilling BOPs which had the pressure capacity of 20,000 psi and 25,000 psi and is now used for deepwater drilling. The company has a complete product line of BOP systems including BOP Control Systems, BOP Rams, and BOP Hoisting & Handling Systems. With such an extensive product range, Cameron delivers the best quality products across the globe.
With a combined and rich experience of more than 150 years, NOV has established itself as a leading provider of oil and gas equipment and components across the globe. The firm aims to serve the needs of a challenging and evolving industry with its technical expertise, advanced equipment, and operational support across every area of drilling and production globally.
NOV offers a wide range of BOP systems to fit your drilling requirements. The Pressure Control Group of NOV has more than 80 years of experience in building BOPs according to the market demand.
The company offers Shaffer® and T3® NXT® and the LXT™ ram type BOP, Spherical BOP, BOP Controls, BOP Rams, Manifolds, Valves, and BOP Handling Systems. The products offered by the company are highly reliable and efficient.
BHGE takes pride in being “the world’s first and only full stream company”. This portfolio positions BHGE to create innovative sources of value, enhance productivity and project economics through integrated equipment and service offerings. With the powerful backup of digital solutions by GE, the company envisions to find smarter ways to bring energy to the world.
Risk management has always been a prime concern for BHGE and thus, the complete range of blowout preventers offered by the company is reliable enough to contain and control damage ahead of time.
Its GX Annular BOP has been called “the best annular in the business”. The 18¾” Compact™ RAM BOP of the company can hold 15,000 psi of pressure from 30°F to 500°F and can go as deep as 10,000+ feet. The BOP systems by BHGE are widely appreciated across the oil and gas industry, further adding to its credibility.
Worldwide Oilfield Machine was established in the year 1980 with its headquarters at Houston, Texas. With the passage of time and efforts, the firm has expanded its footprint and established itself as a leading name in manufacturing facilities for the oil and gas industry. Presently, it supports the various aspects of the industry such as surface, off-shore, and subsea applications.
WOM Group of companies include WOM ME, WOM UK, WOM Pvt. Ltd., Magnum Forge and Machine Works, Magna Cast and Machine Works, Magnum Technology Center, and WOM Asia Pacific. The equipment provided by WOM are highly reliable and can withstand high pressure and extreme weather conditions.
WOM offers all types of BOPs including Ram type, Annular and Snubbing type. The products manufactured by the company are easy to operate, designed for convenience and are aligned well with the industry standards. The hassle-free maintenance of BOP is an important factor that sets WOM apart in the global market.
Control Technology Inc. is a well-known supplier and manufacturer of Surface Mounted Well Control Equipment. With over 35 years in the oil and gas industry, the company brings reliability, quality, and experience on the table. Its continuous efforts have helped CTI establish a strong client base and the firm assures them of the best customer experience. The products are successfully delivered on a real-time basis, in line with the required specifications.
The BOP section of CTI has been the backbone of the company right from its incorporation. Every BOP sold and serviced undergoes inspection and testing to ensure proper functionality, reducing failure risk. The BOP division of the company has various equipment including Parent Metal Identification and Hardness testing equipment for NACE verification, a 10 and 15 ton crane, 2 jib cranes, 2 accumulators for testing (154 gal and 88 gal), 3 pressure test units, an enclosed paint bay with fire suppression system, micrometers and calipers for measuring up to 40”.
Based in Canada, Alberta Petroleum Industries has a rich and diverse experience in the oil and gas industry. The company has an expertise in manufacturing and servicing of valves and blowout preventers. API has established a large client base by providing standard products and continuous support.
Alberta Petroleum Industries Ltd. is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) representative for Shenkai Petroleum LLC. Apart from this, APIL has its own patented line of Snubbing BOPs, which are manufactured locally. SRC Ram BOP and DOM Snubbing Annular are the popular designs across Alberta and North America. APIL’s close association with Shenkai has helped the company gain a better understanding of the market and offer services accordingly.
B.O.P. Products, LLC was established in the year 2005. Since then, the company has evolved significantly and come a long way. The company provides an efficient catalogue of BOP products with the combined industry experience of its people. They are working with a vision to become a global service provider in the oil and gas industry.
B.O.P. Products, LLC offers blowout preventers of all sizes and makes. On time delivery, competitive pricing and large inventory are some of the best features of its services. The company also provides services like Hydro Testing, Shot Blasting, and Phosphating.
Kerui Petroleum is China’s largest manufacturer of oil and gas equipment and service provider. It is involved in various sectors of the industry including petroleum equipment research, development, and manufacture, integrated oilfield engineering technological service, and oilfield EPC turnkey contracting. With a strong workforce of over 8000 employees, Kerui Petroleum consistently makes efforts to offer high-quality services to its customers.
Kerui provides a wide variety of BOPs which are highly reliable and efficient. Some of its products include Annular BOP, control systems for BOP Stacks and Ram BOP.
Weatherford is one of the largest multinational oil and gas companies. With the objective to make energy easily accessible to the world through its innovative technologies and services, the company has successfully aligned its growth strategy with the idea of sustainable development.
Weatherford’s world-class equipment range, which is industry certified has been the epitome of trust and credibility over the years. Its inventory has various types of annular and ram type BOPs, speciality BOPs for large casing strings, snubbing units for live-well applications, and control units for remote operation. The company also performs BOP testing, servicing, and installation. It offers models whose bore sizes are up to 30 in. and pressure ratings are up to 25,000 psi (172 MPa).
Shanghai Shenkai Petroleum and Chemical Equipment, popularly known as Shenkai, is into R&D, manufacturing, petroleum and chemical equipment, and technical services. The firm offers products for oilfield operations like drilling, exploring, mining, and refining. Shenkai’s main production line includes well-control equipment and wellhead equipment, and its main products are BOP and its control units, well-head equipment, X-mas Tree, etc.
The blowout preventers offered by Shenkai are technologically advanced and cost-efficient. It has a variety of BOPs including S Type Ram BOP, U Type Ram BOP, Annular BOP, Taper Type Annular BOP, Coiled Tubing BOP, Belt Pressure Operation BOP, and BOP Side Door.
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BOP being an important part of the drilling operation plays an important role in deciding the overall cost of the drilling equipment. BOP’s price is dependant on various factors such as its type, the range of pressure it can withstand and whether it will be used for offshore or onshore. According to these factors its cost ranges from $10,000 to $500,000. Apart from these factors, the cost varies according to the specifications BOPs are customized to.
Guidelines governing the BOP systems
All the companies mentioned above make sure that they follow the established guidelines and protocol with respect to BOPs. The design, manufacture, and operation of BOPs are conducted in sync with the following guidelines:
Transforming the Energy Landscape
The critically important role of blowout preventers highlights how this equipment has transformed the energy landscape by ensuring enhanced safety and efficiency in drilling operations. As long as the quest for energy continues, the demand and significance of BOPs will only continue to rise. For the times to come, the oil and gas industry must not stop its search for more innovative solutions and advanced technology associated with blowout preventers.