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Last updateFri, 05 Feb 2016 4pm

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Is Your Company Ready for The New Reality?

Is Your Company Ready for The New Reality?

Since August, 2015, when VMA’s 201...

Offshore Oil Extraction and Transportation

Offshore Oil Extraction and Transportation

Offshore oil facilities come to the fore...

Back to Basics: Pressure Relief Devices, Part 2

Back to Basics: Pressure Relief Devices, Part 2

In Part 1 of Pressure Relief Devices, wh...

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Industry Headlines

U.S. Adds 151,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Down to 4.9%

8 HOURS AGO  |  Chris Guy

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 in January, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.1% to 4.9%, the lowest since Feb. 2008. Job gains occ...

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Industry Headlines

Watson Valve Announces Watson Valve Services, Australia

1 DAY AGO

Watson Valve Services Inc. announces Watson Valve Services, Australia. Watson Valve will now have the ability to support the supply of its severe service valve products to non-U.S. domestic sites from its Australian based service agent, Process Plants International (PPi) under the name, Watson Valve...

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Velan Makes Changes to Management Team

1 DAY AGO

Velan recently announced that Executive Vice-President (EVP) Ivan Velan has decided to reduce his work scope, but will remain with the company as Special Advisor to the President, Yves Leduc. Ivan will lead key projects and continue to support the management team.

Martin Allen joined Velan’s ...

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U.S. Oil Inventories Now at Record High

1 DAY AGO

Several factors have played a part in pushing U.S. crude oil prices below $30 per barrel, including high inventory levels of crude oil, uncertainty about global economic growth, volatility in equity and non-energy commodity markets, and the potential for additional crude oil supply to enter the mark...

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FERC Approves $3.2B Sabal Trail Pipeline Project

1 DAY AGO

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, a joint venture of Spectra Energy Partners, LP, NextEra Energy, Inc. and Duke Energy, received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct and operate the Sabal Trail interstate natural gas pipelin...

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U.S. Adds 151,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Down to 4.9%

8 HOURS AGO

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 in January, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.1% to 4.9%, the lowest since Feb. 2008. Job gains occurred in several industries, led by retail trade, food services and drinking places, health care and manufacturing. Employment declined in private edu...

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U.S. Factory Orders Down 2.9% in December

1 DAY AGO

New orders for manufactured goods in December, down four of the last five months, decreased $13.5 billion or 2.9% to $456.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.7% November decrease. Overall, December orders were 6.6% below where they were one year ago.

Machinery orders...

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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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