Research Papers: Offshore Technology

Dynamic Performance of Annular Blowout Preventer Hydraulic Seals in Deepwater Environments

[+] Author and Article Information
Mete Mutlu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Houston,
N207 Engineering Bldg. 1,
4726 Calhoun Road,
Houston, TX 77204
e-mail: mmutlu@uh.edu

Yingjie Tang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Houston,
N207 Engineering Bldg. 1,
4726 Calhoun Road,
Houston, TX 77204
e-mail: ytang23@central.uh.edu

Matthew A. Franchek

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Houston,
N207 Engineering Bldg. 1,
4726 Calhoun Road,
Houston, TX 77204
e-mail: mfranchek@central.uh.edu

Rob Turlak

Transocean Inc.,
4 Greenway Plaza,
Houston, TX 77046
e-mail: rob.turlak@deepwater.com

Jose A. Gutierrez

Transocean Inc.,
4 Greenway Plaza,
Houston, TX 77046
e-mail: jose.gutierrez@deepwater.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF OFFSHORE MECHANICS AND ARCTIC ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 2, 2017; final manuscript received May 8, 2018; published online June 28, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Lizhong Wang.

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng 140(6), 061301 (Jun 28, 2018) (12 pages) Paper No: OMAE-17-1136; doi: 10.1115/1.4040391 History: Received August 02, 2017; Revised May 08, 2018

Presented is the performance analysis of annular blowout preventer (BOP) reciprocating elastomer hydraulic seals operating in subsea environments. The method is based on a systems-level model that combines the effects of friction, material mechanical properties of the seal, installation compression, subsea hydrostatic pressure, and control system dynamics into one model. The model is calibrated using data from tests conducted on the surface and then validated on subsea operational data. Through model simulations, it will be shown that insufficient installation squeeze of the seal in combination with low elasticity seal material results in cases where the seal does not leak at the surface but show substantial internal leakage in subsea conditions. Leakage is also observed under dynamic operation when the walls of the seal groove do not energize the seal. The proposed model-based analysis method in conjunction with surface level testing offers a new paradigm in evaluating reciprocating seal subsea performance a priori of subsea operation thereby avoiding costly downtimes and subsea failures.

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Fig. 1

Fluid power circuit for an annular preventer

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Fig. 2

Schematic of a double acting hydraulic cylinder and radial seals

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Fig. 3

Elastomer reciprocating seal (a) middle of the groove with wall contact, (b) top of the groove, (c) middle of the groove with loss of wall contact due to hydrostatic pressure, and (d) top of the groove with loss of wall contact due to hydrostatic pressure

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Fig. 4

Annular BOP cross section

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Fig. 5

Axisymmetric free-body diagram for the cross section of the annular preventer piston

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Fig. 6

Systems-level model for annular preventer power fluid circuit

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Fig. 7

Measured and simulated pressure signals during a closing event at the surface

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Fig. 8

Measured and simulated pod total fluid volume and regulated pressure for a subsea closing event

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Fig. 9

Pressures on the lower and the upper piston surfaces

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Fig. 10

Systems-level model and CFD model agreement

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Fig. 11

Operating depth versus required initial seal squeeze based on Eqs. (4) and (5)

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Fig. 12

Simulated and measured pressure difference between ports and between chambers

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Fig. 13

Simulated relative seal position within piston grooves in the presence of (a) suggested and (b) high friction values

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Fig. 14

Stick slip motion observed during closing event under high friction values

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Fig. 15

Pressure, relative seal position and leakage across outer seal (a) at surface and (b) at depth of 2940 m

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Fig. 16

Contact stress and deformation of inner and outer seals in subsea conditions with insufficient outer seal squeeze



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