Control of well pressures during drilling, completion and production is a fundamental requirement for the safe production of oil and gas. Perhaps more innovative technology has been developed to solve this problem than any other. Key developments include the ram-type blowout preventer (BOP) and the annular BOP. Other systems were built to control subsea wells and allow safe access for periodic maintenance.
Marvin R. Jones invented the Cameron Type U subsea ram preventer. Born in Bristow, Oklahoma in 1914, Jones began his career with Hughes Tool Co. In 1939, he joined Cameron Iron Works. Following his WW II service, he worked in oilfield engineering until he rejoined Cameron in 1955. During the next 24 years, he progressed from Sr. Research Engineer to manager of Engineering Services. Jones was granted about 70 patents.
Granville Sloan Knox invented the annular blowout preventer that was modified for use on subsea BOP stacks. He was granted more than 30 patents. Born in Earlham, Iowa in 1907, Knox joined Hydril in 1936 as a draftsman. His value was quickly recognized and he was promoted to Engineer that same year. He was promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer in 1943 and to Vice President in 1952. He retired in 1965 and died in 1998.
Hubert L. “Hugh” Elkins has spent 48 years in the offshore oil industry and has been granted numerous patents. Working for S&R Tool and Supply Co., he designed and built the subsea BOP guide frame structure that is the industry standard. In 1973, he joined Hydril, serving in a number of executive engineering posts before retiring in 1993. Elkins is presently Director of Business Development for Varco’s Shaffer Division, and serves on the Technology and Engineering Development Committee for the Ocean Drilling Program.
Edmund A. “Ed” Fisher pioneered the subsea Christmas tree diverter systems used with ThruFlowLine tools. He also developed the guidelineless drilling systems used by the Ben Ocean Lancer and the Freestanding Production Riser System for Placid Oil Co. Starting in 1961, Fisher spent almost 40 years with Cameron, retiring in 1999 as Executive Vice President. In 1995 Fisher received the prestigious “Oil Drop” Award of the ASME Petroleum Division.
Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the following individuals who contributed to the development of offshore drilling equipment:
Hubert L. ‘Hugh’ Elkins, died March 18, 2016
Edmund A. “Ed” Fisher, died March 12, 2009
Marvin R. Jones
Granville S. Knox