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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017  |  Chris Guy

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance esti...

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Industry Headlines

Mueller Water Products Reports 2017 Second Quarter Results

39 MINS AGO

For its fiscal second quarter ended March 31, 2017, Mueller Water Products’ net sales were up 1.3% to $199.7 million and net income was $73.3 million, or $0.45 per diluted share. Operating income from continuing operations was $10.9 million. The quarter's results included $68.6 million of income...

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Weir Group Reports First Quarter 2017 Results

41 MINS AGO

The Weir Group's first quarter input was 15% higher than the prior year period with good sequential growth primarily driven by increased activity levels in North American Oil & Gas and strong aftermarket orders in Minerals. Group-wide aftermarket orders were 21% higher than the prior year period w...

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Permian Basin Oil Production Continues to Increase

23 HOURS AGO

Crude oil production in the Permian Basin is expected to increase to an estimated 2.4 million barrels per day in May, based on estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration . Between January 2016 and March 2017, oil production in the Permian Basin increased in all but three months, even as...

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East Coast Refiners Eye Texas as Alternative to North Dakota

1 DAY AGO

“Major U.S. East Coast refiners profited from railing hundreds of thousands of barrels of discounted Bakken crude to their plants daily from 2013 until 2015. But as more and more pipelines were built in North Dakota, the discount began to disappear, and so did the rail cars,” Reuters repor...

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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

-1 DAYS AGO

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance estimate just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The 0.7% figure, down from 2.1% in the fourth quarter and 3.5% in the second half of 2016, and is...

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Survey Shows Small Business Confidence Increasing

1 DAY AGO

The second annual Allstate/ Small Business Barometer finds increasing optimism and innovation among small business owners, despite the rising cost of doing business. Nine in 10 local entrepreneurs say the benefits of owning a business outweigh the challenges. This year’s Barometer found that, ...

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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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