Blowout Preventer

Published: September 17, 2019 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Blowout Preventer Mean?

A blowout preventer (BOP) is a specialized unit used for the prevention of oil spills or uncontrolled release of crude oil or natural gas. The BOP ensures well safety by working as a valve that closes the oil well when the drilling crew loses control of formation fluids. The location of the BOP is near the top of the well and around the pipe or drill string allowing it to be used at any time during the operation to shut or seal the well.

The valve is operated remotely using hydraulic actuators and closing a well allows the crew to regain control of the reservoir till the blowout preventer can be opened again and pressure control of the formation is retained.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Blowout Preventer

Blowout preventers (BOP) are made for different pressure ratings and hence vary in style and size. Some BOP's close over an open wellbore while others seal around the drill pipe or string. Some BOP's are fitted with steel shearers that can cut through a drill pipe. BOP's are vitally important for the safety of the drilling crew, the rig, and the wellbore. Blowout preventers are regularly inspected, tested and refurbished depending on the well-type, legal requirements, and risk assessment such as the probability of well control problems.

The BOP is installed on the well during the early stages of well construction and stays in place till completion of well activities. The blowout preventer is capable of shutting down a well in minutes after activation by closing hydraulic rams and activating specialized seals.


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