What are Pipe Rams & Why Would Someone Use One?

If you’ve never visited or worked in any drilling site, you are probably wondering, “What are pipe rams?” It’s a type of Blowout Preventer (BOP) ram with a sealing component that closes the annular space between the drill pipe’s outside and the wellbore. What’s the primary function of the pipe rams and other types of BOP rams?

How are pipe rams used to prevent blowouts at a drilling site? Learn more about pipe rams here. Click To Tweet

If a blowout occurs at a drilling site, the impacts can be so devastating. Installing the BOP rams helps to avoid such cases from happening. The BOP ram is usually mounted on top of the BOP stack. It uses a pair of opposing steel plungers (rams) that come together at a great force to seal the wellbore and prevent blowouts.

What is a Pipe Ram?

A pipe ram is a BOP ram that closes the annular space between the wellbore or blowout preventer and the pipe. It seals around the tubular outside diameter in the wellbore to restrict the flow of fluids through the annular space. A pipe ram does not obstruct the flow of fluids within the drill pipe. It shouldn’t be closed when there’s no pipe in the hole.

How They Work

The primary purpose of the pipe rams is to prevent well blowouts. They restrict the flow of fluids outside the pipe by extending towards the center of the wellbore. When a back pressure kick occurs, the rubber-faced steel plungers will retract outside. That will open the well’s passage to circulate excess fluid through the system’s outlet port.

Other Types of BOP Rams

BOP rams come in four types. The other three types include the blind ram, shear ram, and blind shear ram. Here are the functions of each.

  • Blind Ram: Blind rams have no openings for tubing. They can close the well by cutting off the openings when the well doesn’t contain a drill string.
  • Shear Ram: Designed to seal the wellbore even if there is a drill string or tubing within the well. It has steel blades to cut through the pipe and close the wellbore.
  • Blind Shear Ram: Can function both as a blind ram and a shear ram. It can seal the wellbore even if there’s a drill string in the bore.

Using Pipe Rams for Well Control

A blowout under high pressure can get out of control if not prevented. The pipe rams and other BOP rams can help to avoid such cases. When investing in pipe rams, you can consider the variable-bore pipe rams, which can accommodate a vast range of pipe diameters or standard-bore pipe rams with fixed diameter sizes.

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