If you want to acquaint yourself with drilling operations, you must understand how BOPs work. As essential equipment in drilling sites, blowout preventers play a significant role in preventing the uncontrollable flow of oil and gas from the well. They have sets of valves that can shut off to stop any fluid from getting to the surface, preventing a ‘kick.’

Knowing how the different types of BOPs work in the oilfield is crucial for worker safety. Here’s an overview of Annular and Ram-type BOPs. #BOPProducts Click To Tweet

Blowout preventers (BOPs) are designed to withstand extreme underwater pressures. If compromised, the consequences can be disastrous. You’ll remain with the option of evacuating workers away from the drilling site. Notably, there are different types of blowout preventers, including Annular BOPs and Ram-type BOPs. Here is an overview of  how they work in oil drilling applications:

Annular BOPs

So, how do annular BOPs work? The annular blowout preventer usually sits atop the BOP stack. It can close on anything within the hole or shut off the open hole completely by applying closing pressure. The BOP’s sealing device is called the “packing element,” usually an elastomeric material that’s donut-shaped.

The elastomeric material consists of metallic materials (of different shapes) molded into it. These elements reinforce the elastomeric material, keeping it from extruding when subjected to high pressures in the well. With this equipment, oilfield workers can control the volume of oil flowing from the drill hole. Notably, the BOP uses hydraulic fluid.

Pro Tip: During normal drilling operations, annular blowout preventers usually remain fully open, allowing the drilling tools and equipment to pass.

Ram-Type BOPs

How do ram blowout preventers work? Should the annual BOPs fail to work during a blowout, ram preventers will be your last resort. This blowout preventer is found between the wellhead and the annular BOP. It can seal the wellbore when the drill pipe or tubing is still in the hole.

Typically, there are three different types of BOP rams.

  • Pipe Rams: When a ‘kick’ occurs, the pipe rams will seal the annular space by covering the drill pipes. Pipe rams use a sealing element shaped to fit around different tubular, including drill pipes, production tubing, and drill collars. 
  • Blind Shear Rams:  This ram has a blade portion that can cut the drill pipe and seal the wellbore when activated automatically or manually. It’s usually used as the last resort to restore pressure control in a well that’s flowing uncontrollably. 
  • Blind Rams: Use a flat rubber sealant that can seal the bore when there’s nothing inside. So, it has no space for a pipe. This ram can close over any portion that doesn’t have a drill string or any other tubing.

Understanding Your Equipment

As an oilfield operator, you need to understand how BOPs work. It will help you mitigate the risks that can endanger other workers’ lives in the drilling site. Thankfully, you now understand how annular BOPs and BOP rams work. The equipment can prevent potential blowouts, eliminating the risks of catastrophic explosions.

Connect with us to gain deeper insights into how BOPs work.

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