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Last updateThu, 20 Jul 2017 3pm

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Monitoring Valve Health via the Internet

Most valve end users are already using smart valve positioners on some control valves, but they may not have time to check the valve diagnostics software to notice if any valves are developing problems. Imagine instead simply getting a weekly report listing which valves need attention.


Studying What Went Wrong

In October of 2016, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its findings into the tragic 2013 explosion and fire at the Williams Olefin Plant in Geismar, LA that killed two workers and injured 167.

The incident occurred during non-routine operational activities that introduced heat to the reboiler, which was offline and isolated from its pressure relief device. The heat increased the temperature of a liquid propane mixture confined within the reboiler, resulting in a dramatic pressure rise within the vessel. The reboiler shell ruptured catastrophically, causing a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion and fire (Figure 1).

17 spr failure 1

The CSB investigation revealed deficiencies in the plant’s safety culture that resulted (among other things) in failure to manage appropriately or review effectively two significant changes. These changes introduced new hazards involving the reboiler that ruptured. The first was installation of block valves that could isolate the reboiler from its protective pressure relief device. The second was the administrative controls Williams relied upon to control the position (open or closed) of those block valves.

FEL: The Preferred Phase for Valve Technical Definition

A typical oil and gas capital project cycle consists of a process of structured stage gates that ensure activities are processed or completed in a logical sequence. Each gate serves as a verification point for deliverables and objectives to be evaluated to determine if they have been completed to a preset acceptable level before proceeding to the next stage.

The Valve Industry’s Role in Climate Change

The world may not agree on all the causes of climate change, but most people realize our actions over the last 150 years have directly contributed to greenhouse gas (GHG) buildup, most notably accumulation of carbon dioxide and methane. The concern about global warming is based on regular measurements and projections that document quantitatively how these GHGs are added to the atmosphere at a rate far faster than natural processes can remove them. Moreover, these gases are transparent when it comes to solar radiation while absorbing infrared radiation expelled from the earth’s surface. This acts like a blanket over the planet and causes the greenhouse effect, which most of the world agrees is affecting our climate.

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