A Christmas tree 2,000 meters below sea level 2 minutes spent reading

A Christmas tree 2,000 meters below sea level

Thais Kohn

These days you see them everywhere, in all shapes and sizes, with pretty decorations and colorful lights: Christmas trees. Surprisingly, there are also Christmas trees at the bottom of the sea; there they are used to extract oil and gas.

A ‘wet Christmas trees’ makes offshore petroleum extraction possible. It is made of special steel and has many different valves and connectors that are used for oil and gas exploration. These control the flow of oil and gas from the drill head to a stationary or mobile drilling platform. A wet Christmas tree is used to

  • Control drill maneuvering
  • Adjust the pressure
  • Measure the status of temperature, flow characteristics and the composition of the resource being explored (oil or gas)

Villares Metals delivers components for wet Christmas trees to FMC Technologies, a leading global company in the energy industry.


Why are these assemblies called Christmas trees?

The name comes from the ‘dry Christmas tree’ that is used for onshore oil and gas extraction. A dry Christmas tree has the same tasks as its underwater counterpart (wet Christmas tree). It usually consists of four or five valves arranged in a cross shape. And when it is covered with snow in the winter, it looks like a Christmas tree. Hence the name.


Certified solutions for Villares offshore business

FMC Christmas Tree

Wet Christmas tees are located on the bottom of the sea (2,000 meters below the surface), have an average weight of 22 tons and a lifetime of around 20 years.

Due to Brazil’s strong growth and high investments in the oil and gas industry, the voestalpine subsidiary Villares Metals focuses on this segment. The South American market leader for stainless steel delivers highest quality steel for deep-sea components and specializes in the high requirements and standards of offshore business. The steel used must be particularly wear resistant and be able to withstand all types of loads. Highest grade stainless steel from Villares (https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/en/innovation-en/energy-oil-and-gas-as-important-growth-markets-in-brazil/) makes it possible to extract oil and gas under difficult offshore conditions.