LONDON – Total E&P Recherche Developpement SAS has signed up as a consulting partner to Plexus’ joint industry project to develop a new and safer subsea wellhead, using Plexus’ patented POS-GRIP technology.
Maersk Oil North Sea UK, Shell International Exploration and Production, Wintershall Noordzee, Tullow Oil, Eni, Oil States Industries, and the UK division of a drilling contractor, are existing partners.
According to Plexus, the POS-GRIP HGSS subsea wellhead will be safer and have fewer parts in the wellbore, while also sealing and locking down hangers as soon as cementing of the well is complete.
It is being designed to address technical issues and requirements brought up by regulators following the Macondo incident in April 2010.
To date, the technical specification of the “base product” has been finalized with detailed engineering design now under way. The conceptual detail of the subsea hydraulics and interface with control systems is also complete, and design of qualification test fixtures has started. Physical testing of various elements of the system should begin early next year.
The next stage will be to complete formal performance verification testing, and then to find an application for a field test.