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Vallourec equips Total North Sea rig with 3D printed safety component

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Oilfield Technology,

Vallourec has equipped Total with a 3D printed waterbushing for the Elgin-Franklin well in the North Sea.

The first ever pressure-containing component to be produced using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing technology (WAAM) was successfully ran on the rig in the North Sea. The component, designed by Vallourec, is 1.2 m high and weighs 220 kg.

Waterbushings are a safety-critical component used in the oil and gas drilling industry to counter hydrocarbon kicks from wells in construction. Their strength and reliability is paramount as failure can result in equipment destruction.

Vallourec worked with Total to deliver the project in just over a year using WAAM, rigorously testing the product before field deployment in February.

“The project came out of an open innovation collaboration with RAMLAB, a Rotterdam-based startup”, explained Bertrand Maillon, Additive Manufacturing Business Development manager at Vallourec. “The aim of this project was to go beyond Proof of Concept to successfully develop the Quality Assurance and Quality Control frame of supply for components using WAAM technology.”

“Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise the O&G supply chain by enabling companies like Total to order made-to-measure components as and when they are needed”, said Andrew Heddle, Drilling & Wells QA/QC Lead at Total Exploration & Production UK. 


Additive manufacturing reduces the carbon footprint of parts produced; in this instance, the waterbushing generated 45% lower emissions than those created through the regular forged and machining process.

Total is aiming to reduce by 60% or more the carbon intensity across its worldwide operations by 2050 or sooner (scope 1, 2 and 3).

“Vallourec is leveraging its decades of design and welding expertise to innovate for our customers and help them reach their efficiency and sustainability objectives. This fully reflects our innovation strategy, which is to bring added value to our customers by leveraging our specific strengths,” said Sylvie Dubois-Decool, Group Innovation Director at Vallourec.


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