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Industry Headlines

Cause of 2016 ExxonMobil Refinery Fire Found

Tuesday, 19 September 2017  |  Chris Guy

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a safety bulletin on the November 22, 2016 fire that severely burned four workers at the ExxonMobil refinery i...

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Industry Headlines

Flowserve Names David Wilson President, Industrial Products Division

4 DAYS AGO

Flowserve Corporation has appointed David Wilson as president, Industrial Products Division (IPD). Wilson succeeds Tom Pajonas, executive vice president, Global Operations, and interim president, IPD, who announced his year-end retirement plans earlier in the year.

Wilson is a veteran of the flow contr...

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MRC Global Renews Enterprise Framework Agreement with Shell

7 DAYS AGO

MRC Global (US) Inc. has renewed an Enterprise Framework Agreement with Shell Global Solutions International B.V. Under this agreement , MRC Global will stock and distribute mechanical valves to Shell for its operated upstream, midstream and downstream assets for maintenance, repair and operation (MRO...

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Cause of 2016 ExxonMobil Refinery Fire Found

-1 DAYS AGO

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a safety bulletin on the November 22, 2016 fire that severely burned four workers at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, LA.

The fire occurred during maintenance activities when operators inadvertently removed bolts that secured a piece of pressure-containing...

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Energy Company Looking at Sites for Hydroelectric Storage

3 DAYS AGO

Dominion Energy Virginia is moving forward with its plan to study the feasibility of a $2 billion pumped hydroelectric storage facility in the coalfield region of southwest Virginia by conducting in-depth studies of two potential sites. The company currently is considering two possible locations for t...

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Harvey Caused Steep Drop in U.S. Industrial Output

20 HOURS AGO

Industrial production declined 0.9% in August following six consecutive monthly gains. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 0.75%. The index for manufacturing decreased 0.3%; storm-related effects appear to have reduced the rate of change in facto...

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Empire State Manufacturing Shows Strong Growth in September

20 HOURS AGO

Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey . The headline general business conditions index held steady at 24.4. The new orders index rose four points to 24.9 and the shipments index climbed four...

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Pipeline Valves—Always Ready

vmfall11_pipeline1

From time to time, we will re-post particularly well-received articles that have previously run on VALVEMagazine.com so that those who might have missed them will be able to catch up on the best of the best. This article on Pipeline Valves, initially ran on November 7, 2011.

This nation is crisscrossed by hundreds of thousands of miles of crucial pipelines that transport vital feedstock from sources to the places where it’s transformed into fuel and products. For the valve industry, that translates into millions of dollars of business.

According to Hart Data and Mapping Services, the United States has over 700,000 miles of crude oil and natural gas pipelines—about 100,000 miles of crude onshore pipelines and over 600,000 miles of onshore gas pipelines. This number stands to greatly increase as drilling in the various shale plays across the continent occurs. These seemingly endless strings of pipe have one thing in common: They all contain large numbers of valves optimized for pipeline operating conditions.

WHAT’S IN A PIPELINE?

Both quarter-turn and multi-turn block valves as well as check valves are used in pipeline service. Those built for gas or crude oil pipeline service are designed and tested in accordance with the American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 6D “Pipeline Valves.” The document, which is also published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 14313, includes requirements for gate, ball, check and plug type valves. Prior to the mid-1950s, the choice of valve for use in pipeline blocking applications was easy—gate valves were used because the pipeline ball valve had not been invented yet. Some plug valves also were used back then, but the majority of the designs for these valves were reduced-port type that were not piggable.

The term “piggable” has nothing to do with breakfast meat choices. Rather, it means being “pig-capable”—in other words, the devices designed to clean or inspect the interior of the pipeline (the “pigs”) also may be passed through the bore of the valve without catching on a reduced bore or other interior projection in the valve. A requirement in API 6D gate valves is that their inside bore dimensions are precisely specified to allow this passage of pigs.

vmfall11_pipeline_sidebarWith the advent of quality pipeline ball valves over the past few decades, sales of pipeline gate valves have fallen. Meanwhile, pipeline ball valves, which are trunnion style, are now making inroads in all types of pipeline service, particularly in natural gas. Still, holdouts exist.

“Some companies are staunchly entrenched in the gate valve,” according to David Fehrenkamp, a senior sales engineer with Cameron. He also adds that “in many natural gas pipeline operations, quarter-turn has taken over 100%.”

So why do many pipeline owners favor the gate valve for pipeline service? Product pipelines that carry fluids such as gasoline, distillates, diesel fuel and other finished petroleum products are a popular place for the rough and ready gate valve. “We use slab gate valves for most of our main line valves, but we do use expanding gate valves on our product line from Texas City to Pasadena,” says Billy Daigle, maintenance services specialist for Marathon Pipe Line LLC (MPL). “We use expanding gate valves for station isolation valves and pig launchers. Pig launcher and receiver service is harder on valves because of the debris from the pigging operation, so we choose expanding gates because of their toughness,” he adds.

vmfall11_pipeline2Ball, check and manifold valves are commonly used in pipeline service.

The quarter-turn vs. gate valve debate gets hotter when cost becomes the prime factor for selection. The quarter-turn trunnion pipeline ball valve is much cheaper to make than the jumbo-sized gate valves, with their large and expensive body castings. Another factor that tips the pendulum toward quarter-turn pipeline valves is the availability and delivery of quarter-turn products. Because drilling in the shale plays across the country is exploding in terms of how fast it’s occurring, Fehrenkamp says the requests from customers for delivery time is “rush, rush, rush, I need it now!” A domestically produced trunnion pipeline ball valve can be built in roughly four weeks, which is about the time needed to get a good gate valve casting under the luckiest of circumstances. An additional four to six weeks might then be required to complete the gate valve machining, assembly and testing.

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