maersk drilling blowout preventer bop

Maersk Drilling Orders First 20,000 PSI Blow Out Preventers, Rig Orders Planned

Rob Almeida
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June 24, 2014

The BOP on board the Maersk Discoverer semisubmersible, image; Maersk Drilling

Maersk Drilling has ordering the world’s first 20,000 PSI-rated blow out preventers from GE Oil and Gas today.

These giant stacks of milled steel, heavy-duty piping and finely tuned electro-hydraulic equipment will be deployed on board a pair of purpose-built 20k psi drilling rigs that will be delivered at the end of 2018.  These rigs will be used as part of an agreement to support BP’s Project 20K™, a joint study that aims to unlock the vast oil reserves within the Paleogene, or Lower Tertiary zones – an area that BP holds a strong position in.

The difficulty with the Paleogene is that it’s very deep and at a very high temperature which limits the recoverable resources to about 10 percent of the reservoir.

In a study by Wood Mackenzie, they estimate that a two percentage point increase in recovery from a typical Paleogene field would add USD $1 billion of value to the field.

In the Gulf of Mexico, BP expects Project 20K technology will play an important role in developing major deepwater discoveries such as Kaskida and Tiber as well as applications in Egypt, Azerbaijan and other deepwater basins around the world.  BP has estimated the application of this technology across its own global portfolio alone could potentially access an additional 10-20 billion barrels of resources.

Maersk Drilling has not yet ordered the drillships that will support these BOPs, however CEO Claus Hemmingsen notes in a release today, “the intention and our expectation is to see a 20K™ Rig contract realized next year.”

It’s important to note that the BOP itself is only one part of the system.  A 20k psi subsea system on board a drilling rig would also include higher capacity choke and kill lines, a higher rated stack testing systems and new riser system.

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