Plexus launches Python Subsea Wellhead

Plexus Holdings PLC has launched the POS-GRIP Python Subsea Wellhead at SPE Offshore Europe 2015 conference, in Aberdeen.

The Python Subsea Wellhead has been under development since 2011 within a Joint Industry Project supported by companies including BG, Royal Dutch Shell, Wintershall, Maersk, TOTAL, Tullow Oil, Eni, Senergy, and Oil States Industries Inc.

The Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, who formally launched the Plexus’ product, said: “This new technology will allow oil and gas companies around the world to increase the safety and reliability of their operations and it is a great testament to the skills and knowledge of Ben Van Bilderbeek and his team that the partners in the Joint Industry Project have developed this new system under the leadership of Plexus.”

“At a time when the industry is facing greater challenges, innovations that can improve reliability and safety while helping to reduce costs are very much to be welcomed. As one of the major players in the Scottish oil and gas sector, it is very encouraging to see Plexus continue to innovate and create revolutionary new products that will have an effect on the sector around the world. I wish Plexus every success with the new Python Wellhead System for the future.”

Plexus explains that the Python Subsea wellhead has been engineered to be simple. The patented POS-GRIP friction-grip method of engineering offers ‘instant casing hanger lockdown’ and is used to secure hangers with “HG” Seals which provide direct, metal to metal, weld quality, high integrity sealing. Many conventional components used in competing conventional subsea wellhead designs such as lock rings and wear bushings are eliminated, resulting in enhanced reliability and fewer installation trips.

Plexus has previously announced the completion of industry standard API 6A Annex F testing on Python. The company says that full system testing has now been conducted to replicate real-world field conditions and testing all of the components within the system working together which allowed the mapping of a safe “performance envelope”. Plexus says it tested the system at “worst case tolerance stack-up” between the components.

The AIM quoted oil and gas engineering services company is confident that Python will be ready for offshore deployment in a trial well during 2016.

Plexus’ CEO Ben Van Bilderbeek said: “I want to thank the honourable Fergus Ewing, our Scottish Minister for Industry, for taking the time to help us introduce the first proprietary ‘Subsea Wellhead System’ designed and developed in Scotland.”

“Our ultimate goal, which now adds subsea wellheads to the ‘best in class’  jack-up drilling system we supply around the world, is really quite simple to articulate. For as long as oil and gas wells have been drilled, wellheads were allowed to be qualified to standard much below the quality expected from the well casing reaching deep into the ground. The weak ‘wellhead’ link, over time became the unavoidable norm, which we at Plexus were never comfortable with. The idea that the last connection in a well, in terms of qualification would be of a lesser standard than other connections in the system, seemed to defy logic!”

Van Bilderbeek said that following the Gulf of Mexico offshore incident in April 2010, Plexus was asked by a group of operators to focus on the challenges presented by deep-water subsea drilling, high pressure and high temperature environments and Arctic drilling operations.

“I am therefore pleased to unveil the Python Subsea Wellhead system, which has been the results of almost four years of research, development and engineering,” the Plexus CEO said.

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