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Plexus Holdings sealing system for wellheads passes extreme temperature tests

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Oilfield Technology,

Plexus Holdings PLC has announced that its POS-GRIP “HG” Sealing system successfully completed an extreme temperature test verification programme from -75 to +400 °F (equivalent to -59 to + 204 °C) in accordance with API 6A PR2F standards at 10 000 psi pressure.

This test, which exceeds both conventional API 6A temperature class ranges of “K” ( -75 to +180 °F) and “X” (0 to 350 °F), was managed by the Plexus Aberdeen engineering team and independently witnessed and verified by Lloyds Register. The Company believes the qualification achieved is another industry first for Plexus, as the entire test was performed within a single test. Typically, wellhead seals are qualified to low or high temperature extremes separately, so multiple tests are required, possibly using different test fixtures or different sealing elements. This test was successful at its first attempt and was also carried out with a sealing system previously used in a separate qualification test programme, further proving the reusability of the technology.

Used in various Plexus products, but primarily wellheads, the “HG” Seal is a one-design system, meaning the same seal can be used in all wellhead products. This not only simplifies and reduces the cost of new products developed using “HG” Sealing, but also offers unrivalled performance over its competitors across all temperature and pressure classes.

To align POS-GRIP casing hangers and “HG” Seal systems with the standards demanded for casing and tubing couplings, Plexus’ proprietary method of engineering has already been qualified to ISO 13679 FDIS 2011 CAL IV standards. In response to the emerging tendency of operators to impose additional qualification requirements for critical service projects beyond what is technically required under regulatory guidelines, Plexus has also met extended “system based” qualification procedures, and additionally has qualifications for pressures of up to 20 000 psi.

Plexus’ CEO, Ben Van Bilderbeek, said: “The extreme temperature range to which our metal-to-metal “HG” annular seal technology has now been qualified, was inspired by our long-term strategic objective of making our method of engineering available throughout the oil and gas industry and to help improve integrity at the wellsite, with leak-proof and maintenance-free sealing solutions, for all operating conditions.

“As our industry moves towards automation, the long-term reliability of critical components is becoming ever more important. By having qualified “HG” annular seal technology across this impressive application spectrum, in terms of temperature and pressure, POS-GRIP wellhead seal technology can be readily adopted with the least amount of inconvenience by both operators and potential licensees.

“Even for Arctic conditions, the industry now has access to a one-design seal technology that can be deployed in wellheads of all types, as well as potentially in additional products such as production trees and downstream equipment, thereby reducing leakage from the gas-supply chain.

“These developments follow our previous efforts to upgrade industry test procedures to be “system-based”, by using real-world components, in representative test fixtures. This test programme reaches far beyond the low temperature range demanded and was successfully completed in record time and at the first attempt. Our confidence in setting ourselves such a challenging target highlights the reliability of the “HG” metal seal solution and is proof that our belief in the ability to scientifically predict the behaviour and performance of our metal seal technology is justified, even under the most extreme conditions.

“We are still in the process of refocussing our efforts following last year’s sale of our Jack-up exploration wellhead rental business. Due to a host of reasons over which we have little control, the gestation period for switching to production wellheads and Xmas trees has taken more time than originally anticipated. Clearly Plexus is not the only company going through a reconstruction cycle, although we are unique in that we now have more critically relevant and proven IP than ever before, which can be used in an environment where our industry is being closely watched for implementing real solutions, rather than simply managing disruption. The need for improved integrity is on the radar!

“Importantly, what is not fully appreciated about POS-GRIP technology is that in addition to addressing integrity, maintenance-free service and long term leak-proof performance, there are major cost and time savings associated with the convenience of using one-design technology, across a wide range of applications. We anticipate that the unique standard set by these recent tests will encourage customers and potential additional ’partners in POS-GRIP’ to switch to “HG” wellheads or tubing heads. By using “HG” Seal technology, operators can eliminate millions of dollars in ‘Life of Field’ costs which are currently hidden in the revenue projections traditional suppliers incorporate in their tender strategies.

“In the long term our plan is to derive revenue from direct trading with POS-GRIP technology, including Plexus valves and production trees tendered through our newly established Plexus Pressure Control Ltd division. In addition, we expect to license our patented POS-GRIP method of engineering which, with its further extended range of qualification standards, has the potential to elevate any wellhead supplier to a level that can technically and commercially compete, at the highest end of the market.

“I believe that Plexus is well on its way towards a new brighter future.”

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