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Stump testing BOPs on Jackups
01 February 2014

The BOP storage stump on the side of the cantilever beam on an older cantilever jackup does not easily allow for offline stump testing of the BOP stack.  Vertical access to the top of the stack is limited and does not allow for a test mandrel to screw into the test stump.  Currently, short test mandrels with shoulders that locate beneath the rams are utilized for all sizes except for 9⅝" casing rams.  Comments on the following issues would be appreciated.

a) Do most jackups routinely stump test prior to N/U on wellhead? Newer generation vs older generation rigs?

b) Common practices for stump testing on cantilever jackups.

c) Use of test mandrels with shoulders which locate beneath the ram to prevent pumping out (as opposed to test mandrels which screw into the test stump). Can they damage the rams? Can they be used on annular preventers?

d) Any incidents with stump testing: launched test joints, damage to BOPs, injuries, etc.

e) Should stump test date start the interval until the next test or should it start when the stump tested BOPs are installed.

f) Do contracts usually require the drilling contractor to stump test BOP prior to installation?

g)Other comments

6 answer(s)
Petroleum Drilling Trainer
Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation
Total Posts: 1
Join Date: 06/02/15
Subsequent pressure tests of blowout preventer equipment should be performed after setting a casing string, prior to entering a known pressure transition zone, and after a preventer ram and/or any preventer stack or choke manifold component change; but no less than once every 21 days.
Training/Project Manager
SUBC Engineering Ltd
Total Posts: 11
Join Date: 07/03/16
Initially,  direct reference to API Standard 53 should be made to establish the minimum statutory requirements for function & wellbore pressure testing of the surface drilling BOP stack prior to nippling up & drilling sections of an exploratory well.
The spatial constraints you describe are quite normal for surface stacks, set back in their parking area with a test stump installed in the stack connector.

Most JU stack handling systems require the use of short stem test mandrels in achieve wellbore tests whilst in the parking area.  Operationally, the following guidelines in their use follows:-

           (I) Before installing a short stem test mandrel, lengths should be checked to ensure the that the tool is of sufficient length to reach beneath those rams to be tested.
          (ii) Visual checking of the final position of the test mandrel doughnut is recommended prior to closure of the rams of interest to be tested.  When positioned satisfactorily, fill the BOP wellbore with water.
        (iiii) Close the rams to test with reduced regulated hydraulic closing pressure (250 - 450 psi is sufficient). 
         (iv)  Reduce closing pressure to 50 psi (manifold regulator) and strip through the closed rams with the test mandrel slowly until the top of the test mandrel doughnut makes physical contact with the underside of the closed pipe rams to test.
        (v)  Increase hydraulic closing pressure to the nominal regulated hydraulic closing pressure recommended by the OEM (normally 1500 psi)
       (vi)  If test is required on 'Locks only', engage locks then place rams to block/vent position from the BOP control panel.
       (vii)  Pressure test in accordance with OEMs recommendations and/or rig's standard instructions. (All wellbore pressure testing commences with a low pressure test and hold period before progressing to a high pressure test and hold period)

The above procedure should ensure that no surprises will occur and that the short stem test mandrels are never 'launched' from the pressurized wellbore.
Drilling Engineer
Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation
Total Posts: 1
Join Date: 20/09/17

Hi guys,

Usually, to save time, all BOP components (PR, BSR, Annular BP, CL & KL, choke M, ...) are P/tested on a stump (while drilling a surface hole for instance).

After N/up the stack on a wellhead, all BOP components are function tested and a WH connection P/T is performed using either PR or Annular BP.

In order to repeat the BOP P/T after 14 or 21 days (frequency), is there any API RP whether to start counting from P/T on the stump or on the wellhead?


Consultant [retired Shell staff]
Total Posts: 231
Join Date: 02/09/05
Only a technical remark. The shear rams can only cut pipe which the flattened dimension is below the BOP shear ram blade width/breath. E.g. the 13 5/8" shear rams can only cut 7" casing if centered as the blade width is 11".

As requested, two BOP test incidents worth recalling:

ONE: Please find below a description of a "near-hit" incident on the drilling unit "Hunter" which is under contract on location 3/7-4.

The incident happened while pressure testing the 15.000 psi BOP stack in situ on the test stump.

 Date of incident: 23rd September 1989 Time of incident: 01.30 hours

Injury/damage: no injury, damage sustained involved cable tray, one test joint, BOP rams, perspex corrugated roofing and insert bushing.

Events leading to the incident:While the drilling unit was in the harbour, Contractor changed their previous 10.000 psi BOP stack for a new 15.000 psi BOP stack.

The rig departed on 16th September 1989 with a number of outstanding work items to be completed on the stack including detailed testing of the rams and annular preventers. Preparations for testing were made on 22nd September. A permit to work was issued, warning signs were placed in strategic places and personnel informed. Testing was to be carried out deploying the test stump, which contains a replaceable insert bushing with a 4 1/2" IF box connection. The test stump is a Vetco design with a Vetco H/4 profile.

 Replacement of this bushing is done by means of so called "jay" mechanism, which on the top forms a seal by means of an "O" ring placed between the shoulder of the bushing and the tool-joint shoulder of the test joint.

The test joint was a 5" HWDP with the wear knot machined down to 5" OD and a plug welded in place in the bottom of the tool-joint pin. The test joint, already installed by the sub sea engineer on 19th September, had been lowered through the BOP and screwed tight into the insert bushing with a chain tong. The lower pipe rams were closed and testing commenced.

The incident: After a satisfactory low initial pressure test of 500 psi, the pressure was slowly increased to 15.000 psi with the test pump. Without any warning the test joint was ejected at high speed from the top of the BOP through the hatch in the perspex roofing of the BOP test area.

The joint subsequently descended again and penetrated the roof leaving a hole and landed in the electric cable tray which supplies power to the BOP handling cranes. These were bent out of shape but nobody was injured.

Initial investigations revealed the following: The test joint was ejected with such a force that the tool-joint parted from the pipe body leaving the tool-joint, screwed to the insert bushing, on the top of the test stump. The jay upsets on the insert bushing had also sheared off by the force.

 The welded plug in the bottom of the test joint was found to be protruding 2 to 3 mm below the crest of the pin end of the tool joint.

This is believed to be one of the causes of the incident, as this prevented the tool joint shoulder from forming a pressure tight seal as the welded plug bottomed out prior to make up thereby allowing the test pressure to act directly upon the cross sectional area of the welded plug and creating a full differential across this area. Shell personnel were not made aware of the pipe being blanked off. The force of the tool joint hitting the bottom of the lower pipe rams caused belling at the outer edges of the rams. These had to be ground down prior to opening the bonnets for inspection.

Follow-up investigation - findings - recommendations: The test joint was replaced with a through bore joint and the BOP repaired and successfully pressure tested.

The authorities were informed and have been requested to issue an industry alert.

A full investigation involving the drilling contractor & vendors has since been carried out and revealed the following:

The previous BOP stack had a different connector and the drilling contractor claimed that testing with a blanked off joint was a Vendor recommended procedure.

Operator investigated this with Vendor, and their procedure clearly states to use an open test joint or a specially designed test button which is placed below the ram to be tested.

The Vetco test procedure also clearly states the requirement of testing with a through bore joint.

In addition, the Vetco test stump has a connection in the centre of the stump leading to atmospheric pressure but this line was found to be blind plugged.

Had this line been open then any pressure leaking past the seal or threads would have leaked off without any harm.

It has been recommended that before any pressure testing is to take place a check is made that the test joint is not plugged off and is free from any internal obstructions.

The drilling contractor has changed the testing procedure accordingly and relevant changes have been made to the safety and QA manuals.

The extreme potential for injury was discussed in detail at all levels on this rig and the base.

TWO: Incident occurred on a platform whilst pressure testing the 13⅝" stack on the stump. The special test joint became detached from the test stump, moved up some 4 ft. Where it was stopped against the drawworks sump. The testjoint was blanked off.

Fortunately no injury or apparent major damage resulted from the incident.

Previous to this, a similar incident also occured on a drilling rig. In this incident after a satisfactory pressure test of 500 psi the pressure was slowly increased to 15000 psi with the test pump. Without any warning, the test joint was ejected at high speed from top of the bop through the hatch in the perspex roofing of the test area. The joint subsequently descended again and penetrated the roof leaving a hole and landed in the electric cable tray which supplies power to the bop handling cranes. These were bent out of shape but nobody was injured.

The test joint was ejected with such a force that the tooljoint parted from the pipe body leaving the tooljoint still connected to the top of the test stump.

In this case the test joint was also blanked off!


1) To prevent a build-up of pressure inside the test joint due to a leaking connection, the test joint should at all times be open ended to allow any leaking pressure to escape to atmosphere.

2) Before any pressure testing is to take place, a check should be made that the test joint is not plugged off and is free from any internal obstructions.

3) Drilling contractors should change their testing procedures accordingly and make relevant changes to their safety and QA manuals.
Senior Rig Inspector
Total Posts: 26
Join Date: 20/05/09
Hi there,
For many years I have recommended a FULL TIME person to maintain Jack-up & Platform BOP & associated equipment.
Drill crew and Mechanic's are NOT trained to maintain BOP,
Well Control & Drill through equipment.
There is always maintenance to be performed on Well Control equipment.
You should always use a test pipe & seal set into the test stump.
A mandrel can damage the bottom of rams or annular's.
Remember, a test is only as good as when it is performed.
Many 'newer' land, jack-up & platform BOP are using 10 or 15K Subsea type BOP, as the ONLY BOP.
NO need for casing ram, as the Annular are used and the Blind Shear Ram are capable of shearing casing as well as heavier grades of Drillpipe now in use.
Some BOP are connected directly to 15K riser with 'heavy 4" wall'.
It may therefore be necessary to conduct BOP & associated equipment on-line when the equipment is installed for use.
Drilling Performance Engineer
Total Posts: 6
Join Date: 13/12/13
Coming from a platform background. I have only used test stumps which allow the test tool with o-ring to be screwed in and then all tests are done using this modified piece of drillpipe. If there is lack of access, then when nipping down, insert the tool before skidding BOP back.

Our BOP test frequency is 14 days. Normally we test offline as much as possible, starting a few hours before nippling up, nipple up and complete test. After last test the 14 days begin.

Posted by

Thomas Emmons


Addax Petroleum

Total Posts: 11
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