The oil and gas industry covers a vast range of range of facilities - onshore facilities, offshore facilities such as: offshore platforms, FPSO’s, tanker vessels, drilling rigs etc. One should not forget the need for valves subsea as well. Oil and gas facilities operate in some of the world’s most extreme climatic conditions including subsea. Subsea valves are used in sub-marine environments, which can range in depth from shallow water (typically down to a depth of 75 meters) to deep water (down to 3500 meters).
Hence such an industry uses a large range of valve types both manual and automated, with the range including: ball valves, butterfly valves, globe valves, block and bleed valves, check valves, choke valves, breather valves, relief valves, needle valves, plug valves and special design valves.
Valves on an oil and gas facility may provide several functions, provide safety, facility and environmental protection and/or providing a control function.
Careful selection of valves has to ensure they are suitable for both their environment and intended application, their may be comprises on material selection dependent on design life requirements verses cost.
Due to the hazardous and hostile environments combined with extreme processing conditions, the valves on an oil and gas facility most likely will be procured in a large range of different materials, carbon steel, stainless steel, duplex, super duplex, brass etc. With corrosion resistant materials used extensively in the fire fighting, ballast control, cooling, water flood, sea water lift and many other critical systems.
There are a number of important requirements in the specification of valves in the oil and gas industry where applicable to name a few: need for valves to be sized suitably for operating conditions, control fast enough, suitable fire rating, meet Pressure Equipment Directive PED requirements, have correct hazardous area and ATEX certification, correct ingress protection IP rating, meet Safety Integrity Level SIL ratings.It should never be overlooked but testing and documentation are fundamental parts of the procurement process. Testing at the manufacturer’s facilities is important and removes the potential requirement for any re-test, in turn ensuring the valve package is certified and ready for delivery. Documentation and certification is key to ensuring components can be traced, and ensures in the valve can be maintained and operated in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.