06202018Wed
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From Cannon Balls to Pressure Seals: Graphite for Sealing

From Cannon Balls to Pressure Seals: Graphite for Sealing

From time to time, we re-publish well-re...

Gaskets Are Not Created Equal

Gaskets Are Not Created Equal

Gaskets are near the bottom of the food ...

Your Valves May Be Weaponized

Your Valves May Be Weaponized

The advent of the Internet of Things (Io...

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Industry Headlines

Global LNG Trade Growing, Led by Australia and the U.S.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018  |  Chris Guy

Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the larg...

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Industry Headlines

Metso Receives Major Valve Orders in China

1 DAY AGO

Metso has received two valve orders totaling 8,200 valves from major pulp and paper customers in China. The orders are booked in Metso's first quarter 2018 orders received. The total value of the orders and the company names are not being disclosed. Broadly covering China's mid and high-end customers ...

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A-T Controls Names Andy Cheney Southwest Regional Manager

5 DAYS AGO

A-T Controls recently announced the addition of Andy Cheney as the company’s new southwest regional manager, effective immediately.

Cheney’s new role will cover California, South Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. He has over twenty years in the valve and automation business and is very famil...

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Global LNG Trade Growing, Led by Australia and the U.S.

1 HOUR AGO

Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase since 2010, according to the Annual Report on LNG trade by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers...

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U.S. Natural Gas Production Could Grow 60% Over Next 20 Years

1 HOUR AGO

A decade since the start of a shale gas revolution that unlocked new supplies and resulted in a “wholesale turnaround” in U.S. production, the overall size of recoverable gas reserves continues to increase and the pace of production growth is only accelerating, a new report by IHS Markit s...

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Texas Economy Continues to Expand at “Solid Pace”

4 HOURS AGO

The Texas economy is expanding at a solid pace. Employment has grown at a 3.6% annualized rate through May, driven by job gains in the goods-producing sector. Unemployment remains near its historical low, and labor markets are tight. The Dallas Fed’s Texas Business Outlook Surveys (TBOS) suggest...

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Consumer Sentiment Climbs to Three-Month High

1 DAY AGO

Consumer sentiment rose slightly in early June due to consumers' more favorable assessments of their current financial situation and more favorable views of current buying conditions for household durables. The Expectations Index declined to its lowest level since the start of the year due to less f...

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Materials Selection for Deepwater Gate Valves

spr11_deepsea_fig1Figure 1. A typical subsea installation showing valves, manifolds and jumpers

With the discovery of oil and gas in water depths thousands of feet below the surface, selection of valves is more important, difficult and complicated. Gate valves, which are often used in subsea applications, are available today in a wide selection of materials, but choosing them requires knowledge of new challenges and established standards.

In years past, the materials used to handle corrosive service in the sea faced mainly the challenges of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2) and chlorides. With deepwater well drilling, the newer subsea systems being drilled also need to handle chemicals that will minimize paraffin, asphaltene, hydrates and scale formation as well as provide corrosion inhibitions. These chemicals, however, have adverse effects on metallic and non-metallic materials, and the problem is compounded when materials have to handle produced fluids, annular fluids and the injected chemicals. Also, with subsea systems, the effects of hydrogen embrittlement from the cathodic protection system have to be taken into account. For this reason, choosing the materials to be used in gate valves for subsea is especially challenging.

WHAT GOES INTO THE CHOICE

In selection of materials for subsea gate valves, the following must be considered:

  • Composition of produced fluids in contact with valves and internal parts—all wetted parts
  • Service temperatures
  • Operating pressure ranges
  • Galvanic effects from contact of dissimilar materials
  • Crevice corrosion at seal and flange faces
  • Temperature and chemical resistance for non-metallic materials
  • Cathodic protection (CP) on materials
  • Effectiveness of coatings on materials
  • Weldability for weld overlay
  • Material availability and cost
  • Compatibility of materials with injected fluids

 


VALVE BODY MATERIALS

Several organizations provide recommendations for the selection of materials for valves. These include the National Association for Corrosion Engineers (NACE) and American Petroleum Institute (API).

NACE only covers metallic material requirements for resistance to sulfide stress cracking (SCC) for oilfield equipment, which is not intended to include design specification. (Other forms of corrosion and other modes of failure are outside the scope of NACE’s standard and should be considered in design and operation of equipment.) NACE also has requirements for low-alloy materials exposed to sour service. For example, the organization requires that hardness for alloy materials be limited to HRC 22 maximum. Nickel content is limited to 1% maximum, and NACE also has proposed heat treatment such as normalized, normalized and temper, and quench and temper.

API has several standards, such a specification 17D “Specification for Subsea Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment,” which uses the material requirements of API 6A.

Specification API 6A covers a number of specific areas for subsea valves, including strength, impact and quality testing. Strength level depends on the pressure rating of the equipment. For example, for flanged end connections, equipment used to pressure levels of 10,000 psi must be manufactured from material having a minimum yield strength of 60,000 psi. Equipment exceeding 10,000 psi pressure must be designed using equipment with specified yield strength of 75,000 psi (refer to API 6A Table 5.2).

Once the fluids that will be produced have been determined, valve selection can occur. Besides the challenges the fluids will produce, as well as the temperatures and pressures involved, the service conditions must also be considered. This includes how long the equipment might be exposed to seawater. Alloy steel will handle most benign conditions, including low CO2 for short periods of time, but even short seawater exposure can cause corrosion of critical components. This is especially true if seawater is trapped in those components and cannot be flushed out in a timely manner. Even with benign conditions, there is need for long-term life—in many cases over 25 years.

Valves as specified using API and NACE standards to handle strength and corrosive requirements can be grouped as follows with typical materials and applicable service conditions:


Stainless-steel Valves
spr11_deepsea_fig2Figure 2. Typical subsea tree assembly

When environments call for stainless steels such as 410 and F6NM, they may have similar corrosion resistance in oilfield environments; however, they have significant differences in weldability. Stainless 410 in the wrought and welded condition has lower impact toughness than F6NM. Welds of 410 have lower toughness, and depending on the operation, F6NM is often used if there is a risk of Joule Thomson effect (the temperature change of a gas or liquid forced through a valve or porous plug while kept insulated so that no heat is exchanged with the environment) at the wellhead. Even though stainless steels such as 410 and F6NM have good corrosion resistance and can handle mild corrosive conditions, weld overlay of critical sealing surfaces with corrosion-resistant alloy (CRA) is used to minimize pitting.


Duplex Stainless-steel Components

Although duplex stainless steels have good corrosion resistance in most environments, the use of these materials is limited for wellhead equipment because of the danger associated with sigma formation during heat treatment in large section thicknesses. Improper heat treatment not only results in poor corrosion resistance, but also poor toughness property. Duplex stainless steels require a satisfactory balance between ferrite and austenite both in the wrought and welded structures. Super duplex is specified where the Pitting Resistance Index (PRE) exceeds 40, whereas duplex is specified for thin components.

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