BG Group has become the latest big industry player to back a joint venture which aims to prevent a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the North Sea.
Plexus Holdings is leading a joint industry project to address design deficiencies which came to light after the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
BG International – a subsidiary of BG Group – has signed up as the sixth major oil and gas consulting partner to Plexus.
The project’s objective is to develop and commercialise a new and safer subsea wellhead, utilising Plexus’ POS-GRIP friction-grip technology.
Members now include BG, Total, Maersk Oil North Sea, Shell, Wintershall, Tullow Oil, Eni, Oil States Industries and Senergy Holdings.
The subsea wellhead engineering and testing stages are well advanced with a targeted completion of the prototype by the end of 2014.
The wellhead is designed to be safer, has fewer parts, and delivers instant casing hanger lock down to avoid the use of lock rings and lock down sleeves as required by conventional designs.
Plexus chief executive, Ben Van Bilderbeek, said: “I believe that the addition of another major operator to the team is testimony to the significance of this project for the international oil and gas community.
“BG joining is one more step towards our goal of sharing the potential of friction grip technology with the industry at large.
“The subsea wellhead is a critical link in the extensive subsea production system chain.
“Clearly our proprietary technology has to be dovetailed into the product mix customarily provided by the major subsea technology suppliers in order to facilitate its seamless integration.
“Plexus is in the process of communicating our strategic desire to build such bridges across the industry, and we are confident that these efforts will prove successful in the future.
“The drivers on which we rely for this strategy are true and reusable metal-to-metal sealing in Ultra-High Pressure/High Temperature applications, and substantial installation time cost savings which are in tune with the industry’s stated desire to limit the unbridled growth in operating costs.”
They hope to instal a prototype next year.