As Oil and Gas companies seek to expand and extend their retrieval capabilities both on and especially offshore, concerns about safety and exploration costs are never far from mind. Things have come a long way since the tragedy of Deepwater Horizon, and technology has marched on to provide more robust safety systems for offshore drilling, while keeping costs of exploration manageable.
One area of particular innovation has been in the area of Blow Out Preventers (BOP) a critical safety system in deep water mining. Blowout preventers are critical to the safety of crew, the rig and environment, and to the monitoring and maintenance of well integrity. Blowout preventers are intended to provide fail-safe operation to the systems that include them by sealing the top of the wellbore in the event of an emergency. Indeed, many will recall that the in the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the pipe line going through the BOP was slightly bent and the BOP failed to cut the pipe, contributing to the accident.
One unavoidable fact is that exploitable reservoirs of oil and gas are getting more and more rare and remote, leading to increased deep sea well exploration and requiring BOPs to remain submerged for as long as a year in extreme conditions. As a result, BOP assemblies have grown larger, heavier and more complex. A key focus in the technological development of BOPs over the last two decades has been limiting their footprint and weight while simultaneously increasing their safe operating capacity.
Undersea BOP meets SubSea Rated Sensor
Last year CPI introduced the SL-2000, a linear position sensor unique in the world for its capabilities at the extremes of machine requirements. The sensor has both intrinsic safety ratings and a subsea capability that make it a perfect match for the unique requirements of Oil and Gas exploration machinery, residing deep below the ocean surface.
One of the key functions of a BOP is to be able to deliver and remove fluid from a wellbore. This fluid is not sea water, it is typically drilling fluid or “mud” pumped from a reservoir somewhere. Critical to these systems is the knowledge of liquid levels in these enormous tanks sitting on the sea floor, miles below the surface. It’s actually a perfect job for the CPI SL-2000 Subsea rated sensor.
In this BOP application, our sensor is deployed on the seawater side of a hydraulic piston type cylinder that monitors the rise and fall of liquid in the tank. The sensor is entirely exposed to sea water sitting 2 miles below the surface, running fully submerged at a pressure within 10 psi of the ambient pressure. Specifications call for for our sensor to operate in seawater at up to 6000m depth or over 8800 psi. Operation at these depths, fully immersed in sea water is actually no problem for our patented sensor technology which is uniquely designed with materials that are non-compressible, and withstand corrosive seawater and hydraulic fluids alike. Our sensor can be mounted and operate fully submerged in virtually any type of fluid medium while maintaining robust operation and an extremely long life.
In this undersea tank, a hydraulic piston extends and retracts with changing fluid levels in the tank. Our sensor is required to operate within 10 psi of the pressure outside the tank and supports a 5 meter cylinder stroke length. The ability to support these massive stroke lengths, at depth and pressure, submerged in sea water or hydraulic fluids are unique to the CPI design and we are the only manufacturer in the world with a technology designed to withstand all these conditions while also being both subsea and intrinsic safety rated.
Long Stroke, Deep Sea Hydraulics Have Only One Real Solution to Linear Position Sensing
With the SL-2000, hydraulics destined for Oil and Gas exploration applications finally have the robust linear position sensing they need.
Call our sensor team today to discuss your unique application.