What sets the Ultra Annular apart – in addition to consistent pressure resistance – is its outstanding ability to withstand temperatures up to 177 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit): the highest known temperature rating of an annular BOP element on the market today. This unique selling feature is partly thanks to the choice of elastomer, a tailor-made proprietary material that offers exceptional quality and durability. “Elastomers used in the annular BOP packing units to be extremely ductile, flexible and nevertheless robust to seal large boreholes and hold back high pressures,” explains Aaron Smith, Engineering Manager, BOP Products, regarding the demanding specifications. In addition to the choice of material, the innovative design of the reinforcing metal inserts, which are bonded with the elastomer at the core of the Ultra Annular, is a cut above a conventional solution.
The packing unit, which has proven its value as a long-lived, dependable safety component for pumping natural gas and oil, can also be used in geothermal drilling, where its high-temperature resistance makes the Ultra Annular a top candidate. Why? “Geothermal drilling targets zones beneath the Earth’s surface with extremely high temperatures. The liquids extracted are still extremely hot when they are pumped to the surface,” Smith explains. Sealing materials must be able to withstand and function reliably under such conditions.
Geothermal energy is sustainable and regenerative, and can be used for heating, cooling, or producing electricity. In other geothermal applications, too, sealing technologies from Freudenberg offer dual benefits by delivering, just as the Ultra Annular does, a combination of safety and sustainability. “The Ultra Annular was developed to prevent borehole blowouts. The element was designed to minimize resource waste and prevent harm to the environment,” summarizes Robert Costolnick, Global Sales Manager, Pressure Control Products.