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Blog Post

Blowout Preventers and Couplings

May. 17, 2023

Have you ever forgotten to secure the lid on top of a blender before making a smoothie or milkshake? Or maybe you're lucky enough to have only seen this mistake in a TV show or movie. While the situation is frustrating and time-consuming to clean up, a blender eruption is nowhere near as serious as a blowout on an oil or gas drilling rig. That's why drilling rigs need more than just a lid. They also require a blowout prevention system.

Overview

In a perfect world, the extraction of oil and gas would occur seamlessly without any complications. Unfortunately, the potential for problems always exists. That is why it is important for oil and gas rigs to be prepared to stop a blowout before it becomes uncontrollable.

A blowout preventer, also known as a BOP, is designed to do exactly what the name suggests: prevent blowouts. BOPs are an assembly of large valves attached to the top of a well to contain the pressure and maintain the slow, controlled release of crude oil or natural gas. Here's how they work.

The first stage of a blowout is called a kick. A kick occurs when the pressure in the wellbore of a drilling rig is unbalanced, causing fluid to rush into the wellbore in an effort to stabilize the pressure. The main difference between a kick and a blowout is a kick can be controlled while a blowout cannot. If a kick happens, the BOPs are activated to keep the oil well sealed. 

There are two main types of BOPs: ram and annular. Ram BOPs prevent oil from escaping and other foreign materials from getting in by closing the well during operation. Annular BOPs are typically installed on top of the ram BOPs or over the wellbore. Their job is to serve as the final line of defense against a blowout by forming a seal in the space between the pipe and the wellbore.

The BOPs are activated by an accumulator system, which stores the hydraulic pressure required to close the BOPs and keep the oil well sealed if a blowout is imminent. Accumulators can be activated manually or electronically, and the different functions of the BOP system can shear the drill pipe and/or plug the well.

Contrary to the blender example mentioned earlier, a blowout on a drilling rig is more than inconvenient; it's dangerous. Oil and gas are both explosive, so all it takes is a spark on the surface during their sudden release to create a catastrophic situation. The 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico is a prime example of why it is imperative to take every measure of precaution to prevent a blowout.

Dixon® BOP Couplings

BOP-product-groupDixon's BOP-series quick couplers are designed specifically for blowout prevention systems on drilling rigs. The couplers are used to attach hydraulic hoses from the accumulator to the BOP stack.

The couplers' red-powder-coated components and external seal provide easy BOP-approved identification. All of Dixon's BOP-series couplings are fire tested and Lloyd’s certified to 1300°F (700°C) in accordance with API 16D. A certificate is available upon request.

Dixon offers three different series of BOP couplings: VEP-BOP-series, H-BOP-series, and WS-BOP-series.

VEP-BOP-Series

VEP-BOP-series-groupFeatures:

  • Thread-to-connect flushface interchangeable series
  • Steel components are plated using RoHS-compliant zinc nickel
  • Critical seals are severe service FKM
  • Interchangeable with Stucchi VEP/VEP-HD Series, and DNP FSI-BOP-Series
Specification:
  • Pressure rating 5000 PSI

Size and Material:

  • 3/8" to 1-1/2" in steel
H-BOP-Series H-BOP-series-groupFeatures:
  • Steel coupler sleeves are hardened to resist deformation and maximize service life
  • Individually marked with BOP series designation
  • Interchangeable with ISO7241 Series B, Eaton/Hansen HKFR-Series, DNP HNV-BOP-Series

Specification:

  • Pressure rating 5000 PSI at 70°F (21°C)

Size and Material:

  • 3/8" to 1" in steel and 316 stainless steel
WS-BOP-Series WS-BOP-series-assembledFeatures:
    Designed for use in oil field BOP accumulator systems where couplings are required to operate under fire conditions Steel components are plated using RoHS-compliant zinc nickel Individually marked with the BOP-series designation, API 16D specification, and date code
Specification:
    Pressure rating 5000 PSI
Size and Material:
    3/4" to 2" in steel and 316 stainless steel
Dixon Quick Coupling Located in Dallas, North Carolina, Dixon Quick Coupling is a proud U.S. manufacturer. In addition to BOP couplings, Dixon Quick Coupling manufactures and supplies a diverse range of hydraulic and pneumatic quick disconnect couplings including THE-series plugs, high-pressure TD-series couplings, CNG-series quick disconnects, and the HT-series Correct Connect® color-coded system.

Contact Dixon Quick Coupling at [email protected] or 800.839.9022 to learn more. Summary BOPs play a critical role in maintaining the safety of the crew, equipment, and environment when it comes to drilling for oil and gas. Dixon is proud to be a part of this process by offering high-quality BOP couplings to ensure you always have The Right Connection®.

In addition, Dixon also provides a wide variety of other products for the oil and gas industry used in virtual CNG pipelines, hydraulic fracturing, and the transfer and bunkering of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

For more information, visit dixonvalve.com.