GE Reengineers BOPs for Harsh Subsea Conditions

GE Oil & Gas unveiled Wednesday its next-generation blowout preventer (BOP) program that will make 20,000 pounds per square inch (20 ksi) subsea formations the next frontier in offshore oil and gas exploration.

BOPs are critical pieces of subsea drilling equipment—in effect, 60-foot tall valves weighing several hundred thousand pounds—that are designed to isolate pressure in oil and gas wells during drilling. Current GE subsea BOPs are only rated for 15 ksi, thus creating an industry demand for a new generation of BOPs that have the ability to access more challenging reservoirs.

However, because the physical demands of 20-ksi drilling (at depths of up to 12,500 feet) are so different from existing 15-ksi systems, GE utilized its global technology teams to completely reengineer the new BOP stack’s components and also developed several new techniques and technologies with its project partners. Key features of the new 20-ksi BOP system include:

  • Upgraded GE Ram and Annular BOPs, designed for the specific demands of containing high-pressure, high-temperature reservoirs.
  • GE’s SeaONYX™ BOP Control System, based on mission-critical GE Power & Water systems, designed to provide maximum system uptime.
  • GE’s SeaLytics™ BOP Advisor software, designed to provide real-time performance and maintenance data to significantly reduce unscheduled BOP maintenance requirements.

The new 20-ksi BOPs will be manufactured at GE Oil & Gas’ Drilling Systems facilities in Houston, with key technical support provided by GE centers of excellence worldwide.

“GE’s new BOP system will enable operators to explore deepwater basins that are currently inaccessible with conventional 15-ksi BOP systems,” said Andrew Way, president and CEO of GE’s Drilling & Surface business—GE Oil & Gas. “Our new BOP system utilizes all of GE’s latest “Predictivity™” communications software solutions to allow for real-time remote monitoring of equipment status and performance, thus offering new degrees of reliability and performance.”

GE BOPs are known for their in-field reliability, based on a successful industry track record that dates back to the 1950s. GE’s new 20-ksi project combines that depth of experience with a number of new GE Industrial Internet technologies, such as SeaONYX and SeaLytics, facilitating better real-time decision making for subsea project operators.


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