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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.

7 HOURS 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

7 HOURS 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”

10 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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Specialized Designs for Pipeline Valve Actuation

Expansion of oil and gas production into remote and inhospitable areas of the world challenges actuator manufacturers to produce rugged, reliable and often specialized products to meet the pipeline industry’s needs.

 

A number of specialized designs of valve actuators have been developed over the years to cope with specific valve control demands that are found in the pipeline industry. Examples include gas-over-oil, high-pressure gas and electro-hydraulic actuators, as well as specialized hydraulic actuators designed for subsea valves.

While the fundamental principles of design for these actuators are well established, rapidly advancing technologies, increasing demands for reliability, reduced maintenance and automation from end-user industries continue to present manufacturers with new challenges. In addition, the expansion of oil and gas production into increasingly remote and previously unreachable areas, combined with the growth of strategic pipeline distribution networks across remote and inhospitable landscapes, places further pressure on the manufacturer to provide rugged and reliable valve actuation solutions.


Testing for Reliability in the Extreme

The importance of testing cannot be over emphasized, not only to prove the long-term performance and reliability of products, but also to gain specific approvals from end-user markets without which it would be difficult or even impossible to bid on projects.

Some major equipment manufacturers’ testing policies are designed to reassure the customer that the quality of its product range is first class through the achievement of internationally recognized quality assurance approvals for design and manufacture.

Running in parallel with these assessments, equipment manufacturers also subject their products to the test procedures required for end-user approvals in specific markets and industrial disciplines. In these areas there have been significant market-led increases in activity in recent years.

In addition to the hyperbaric testing of subsea actuators and performance verification of gas-over-oil actuators mentioned later in this article, testing programs in recent years have expanded to include specific tests such as:

  • IP66M/67M, dust, water jet, immersion and deluge testing of pneumatic actuators
  • Shell qualification for hydraulic and pneumatic actuators
  • Transco qualification for hydraulic actuators
  • HIPPS (high integrity pressure protection systems) qualification for control systems
  • GOST Russian Certificate of Conformity and Federal Use Permit
  • ABS (American Bureau of Shipping)

These are in addition to ATEX explosion-proof certification, PED (European Pressure Equipment Directive) approval and SIL (safety integrity level) assessments that also apply to pipeline actuation products.


Subsea Actuators, Testing In-depth

Subsea valve applications, which often involve vital fail-safe and associated safety-related duties, represent an area of technology demanding the very highest levels of quality and product integrity to ensure reliable long-term performance. It may be prudent to not only test to API (American Petroleum Institute) qualification but also to achieve third-party-witnessed hyperbaric approval to the international qualification procedure ST-028.

In one API test performed by a major equipment manufacturer, a scotch-yoke hydraulic actuator with ROV (remote-operated vehicle) override was operated in a hyperbaric chamber under an external pressure of 3600 psi (240bar-g) to represent the submerged qualification depth of 2,400 meters over a period of six weeks. The actuator was selected as a representative sample of all the company’s subsea actuators for the purpose of the testing, which was witnessed by a third-party inspector. The severity of the testing reflects the crucial nature of subsea actuator duties and the increasing depths at which actuators are expected to perform as exploration moves into new, more remote offshore fields.

In the ST-028 hyperbaric test a similar hydraulic actuator fitted with a limit switchbox was subjected to cyclic testing to prove its suitability for submerged installation at a depth of 45 meters. The witnessed testing included pressurizing the switchbox with air at 75 psi (5bar-g) without any sign of leakage or bubbles, static torque and cycle testing of the actuator at ambient and 75 psi (5bar-g) external pressure (1,090 cycles at 2400 psi [160bar-g] on each test), final static torque monitoring, strip down and inspection. This was a much shorter test, taking only three days to complete, although the combined total operating test, amounting to over 2,000 cycles, is representative of a much longer working life.

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