OE 2015: subsea wellhead undergoes full system tests

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – Plexus Holdings unveiled its POS-GRIP Python subsea wellhead earlier this month at Offshore Europe.

The system has been under development since 2011 via a joint industry project supported by companies including BG, Royal Dutch Shell, Wintershall, Maersk, Total, Tullow Oil, Eni, Senergy, and Oil States Industries.

Drivers behind the development include raising the bar for safety for subsea wellheads, following the Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, reduced cost, and improved operational efficiency.

Python Subsea employs the POS-GRIP friction grip method of engineering which provides “instant casing hanger lockdown” (according to Plexus), and which is used to secure hangers with HG seals that deliver direct, metal to metal, weld quality, high integrity sealing.

The design also dispenses with numerous components used in conventional subsea wellhead designs such as lock rings and wear bushings, leading to enhanced reliability and fewer installation trips, Plexus claims.

Full system testing has been conducted to replicate field conditions and to examine all components within the system, allowing mapping of a safe “performance envelope” rather than single performance points for individual components.

Plexus tested the system at “worst case tolerance stack-up” between the components, proving that the system works with any selection of individual components.

The company hopes for a first offshore deployment in a trial well during 2016. 



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