BOP risk model wins 2014 Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation

29 April 2014

Lloyd’s Register Energy’s Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) risk model has been awarded the prestigious Special Meritorious Engineering Award (MEA) in the drilling category for outstanding new technology. The award will be presented to Lloyd’s Register Energy on booth #2173 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston on 5 May 2014.

“E&P magazine has consistently honored technical innovation that allows the oil and gas industry to overcome seemingly impossible challenges,” said Mark Thomas, editor in chief, E&P. “The Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation reflect the best of the best in technological advancement.”

The Meritorious Award program honours engineering excellence and achievement in the upstream petroleum industry. It recognises new products and technologies that demonstrate innovation in concept, design and application.

Duco de Haan, Senior Vice President of Lloyd’s Register Energy – Drilling which includes Lloyd’s Register Energy’s acquisitions ModuSpec and WEST Engineering Services, said: “Regulations resulting from the Macondo incident have created new challenges for operators and drilling contractors. When there are indications of system failures in the BOP, a decision to ‘pull’ or ‘not pull’ the BOP to the surface must be made.” De Haan highlighted: “Because of the high number of variables involved and a lack of critical objective information, the decision to pull is often made unnecessarily. These decisions cost the drilling industry hundreds of millions of US$ in down time annually.”

BOPs are large, specialised well control systems usually installed in stacks to seal, control and monitor oil and gas wells. BOPs were developed to cope with extreme erratic pressures and uncontrolled flows emanating from well reservoirs during drilling.

Lloyd’s Register Energy’s innovative BOP risk model provides an objective verifiable decision model, which allows drilling contractors, operators and regulators to quickly receive risk-based advice regarding the decision to pull the BOP to the surface for repair, or whether the risk levels are acceptable to continue operations.

“The model can significantly reduce non-productive time and increase safety levels of BOP operations. At the same time, it gives all parties involved an unbiased assessment of risk removing the potential subjectivity on the ’pull’ or ‘no pull’ decision,” said de Haan. “It supports decisions based upon regional regulations, specifications, and operational procedures.”

The model is currently deployed on various drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Development of the BOP risk model was initiated two years ago. Technical and BOP subject matter experts from Lloyd’s Register Energy worked with operators, drilling contractors, BOP equipment manufacturers and U.S. regulators to develop a common platform of communication and decision making on risks associated with BOP system failures.

The Special Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation are the industry’s oldest and most widely respected awards issued by Hart Energy’s E&P magazine. They honor the world’s best new tools and techniques for finding, developing and producing hydrocarbons. Entries are judged on their game-changing significance, both technically and economically. An independent team of experts judged the competition and included engineers and engineering managers from operating and consulting companies worldwide.

The award will be presented to Lloyd’s Register Energy on booth #2173 during the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston on Monday 5 May 2014.

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