Blowout preventers are the last line of defense for an offshore well. If a well suffers a fault and risks releasing the crude into the ocean, then it is the role of the blowout preventer to prevent this.
A failed collection of valves on a blowout preventer were blamed for the 2010 oil spill on the BP Macondo well, although Peter Miller, the CEO of National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV), takes this as a personal insult, claiming that there was no way a blowout preventer was at fault; even though his company had nothing to do with the blowout preventer in question, which was provided by Cameron International.
Last month a federal judge actually dismissed charges against Cameron, stating that the evidence pointed to Cameron’s customers and not Cameron itself, or its equipment.
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Miller might be a bit protective of the reputation of blowout preventers as he has planned his company’s future on supplying the increasing global demand that he predicts.
Demand for blowout preventers has soared over the past few years as more and more offshore wells are drilled in order to access new oil fields. In 2005 NOV built just one stack of blowout preventers, but this year they expect to build 24, boosting revenue from $85 million in 2005 to $1.2 billion in 2013.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com