Plexus today unveiled its Python Subsea Wellhead at this year’s SPE Offshore Europe exhibition. This marks the end of a four year industry supported project to develop the new product using Plexus’ field proven POS-GRIP technology, and the introduction of what many believe will be a new generation of subsea drilling equipment.
As a perpetual innovator, Plexus has a long history of successfully overcoming industry barriers, such as the reluctance to accept and use new products and technology, especially those in safety critical applications.
During the 1980s, Plexus introduced the first Adjustable Surface Wellhead, which enabled offshore exploration wells to be drilled without having to lift the BOP. This was clearly a safer way of operating, whilst also saving considerable time and cost. Since then, Plexus has introduced a number of other industry firsts incorporating its POS-GRIP technology in various applications and pressure ratings of up to 20,000 psi – crucially all of which underline advances in performance with a promise of improved safety and reduced costs.
The introduction of POS-GRIP technology was a particular challenge, the technology supports and seals equipment within a well in a very “unconventional” way. Rather than using solid landing shoulders and separate seals, POS-GRIP uses an external clamping friction. A fundamental change in the way a wellhead supports loads and prevents leaks raises immediate concerns, especially when showing compliance with industry standards.
After the Deepwater Horizon incident, there was a new focus on drilling equipment performance and safety. There was certainly scope to improve and simplify subsea wellhead equipment and practices. Thus, in 2011 a join industry project (JIP) was formed to develop a new system. The JIP was led by Plexus, and joined by several operators and service companies, including Shell, Total, ENI, Maersk, Wintershall, Tullow and BG. The goal was to use the benefits of POS-GRIP technology to enable the design of a completely new class of subsea wellhead, integrating safety and efficiency improvements.
Members of the industry watched with great interested as the Python Subsea Wellhead System was unveiled. Plexus is expected to release further details of the completed performance verification testing, as well as the safety improvements and cost savings against conventional systems. The Python Subsea Wellhead System will soon be commercially available.
If you are attending Offshore Europe, stop by Stand 1J21 to say hello.