Global Valve and Controls
1Aug/17Off

Underwater pipeline

Do you know what the worlds longest gas pipeline  and how long it is? According to Google, "The Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) is a 2,475km-long natural gas pipeline built to transport natural gas from Algeria to Italy via Tunisia and Sicily." While it is true, that is the worlds longest pipeline built on land, there is also a pipeline nicknamed Giant Serpent that lies underwater and is the worlds largest underwater gas pipeline. The name Giant Serpent actually comes from Norse mythology and is located on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The pipeline is owned by ExxonMobil, Stat oil and Royal dutch shell. "The pipeline has a length of 1,166 km (745 miles) and delivers 26 billion cubic meters (900 billion cubic feet) of natural gas to the UK National Transmission System each year."

As you can imagine building the Giant Serpent was not an easy job and thank goodness for todays technology as it would have been impossible. A underwater machine was use to survey the bottom and engineers were able to print out a map to use. One of the challenges when it came to building the immense pipeline is that the sea bed was not flat but instead hilly and there were areas where it would drop down 3-4 miles which made water pressure a significant factor when it came to designing and building the pipeline. Another machine was used to move the seabed and make it more flat so that pipe can be laid down without causing destruction. "With an understanding of the features and hazards, design engineers went to work on plans to allow a 44 inch pipe, with 1" thick walls, to negotiate the terrain while minimizing impact on fisheries and ecosystems." The pipeline was built using 100,000 pipe sections, each coated in asphalt to reduce corrosion and a stability coating of concrete.

The Giant Serpent took 3 years to build starting in 2003 and ending in 2006. Since then, Norway and the UK have benefited tremendously from the natural gas pipeline.

World’s Longest Under Water Gas Pipeline, 1166km “Giant Serpent”

 

 

24Jul/17Off

Natural gas and Crude oil

Natural gas has grown far more popular than regular gas because it is said to be more cleaner and greener. But is it really better? Did you know that methane is the main chemical in natural gas and its potency is far greater than that of CO2 which is found in regular gas. Methane also makes up 25% of todays global warming. Although regular gas stations are found throughout the country, stations that contain natural gas are only just popping up. Most of the vehicles today the we drive  only use regular gas as natural gas is still a very new commodity. There are vehicles such as city trucks (trash and recycling buses) that are currently using natural gas instead of oil. It is also interesting to read that even though natural gas is the best option between the two gases because it is better for the environment, it is also the less expensive one.

A positive outlook on crude oil "is a relatively efficient international market, in which the product moves around the globe in tankers that can be diverted from one destination to another almost instantaneously in response to shifts in demand." On the other hand, natural gas is not global. Meaning, There is a limited trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG), which can be transported in tankers, but mostly natural gas must move in pipelines over land.

More efforts are being made to use natural gas  than oil, for example, In the state of Alaska there is a plan to build a pipeline that would take natural gas from the North Slope to an Alaskan port, where it could be liquefied and shipped to Asia. It is a slow start but more and more pipelines will be built to transfer natural gas.

Natural gas trunnion ball valves, double block and bleed valves in service for a compressor station

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2017/07/20/investors-squeezing-oil-gas-developers-to-cut-methane/#2442774a4be1

http://gvcintl.com/about_gvc.html

 

10Jul/17Off

Robots will be used in pipeline inspections

I've blogged about it before but now its official, robots are finally coming to aid in the pipeline inspections. There are currently 4 robots that were produced by a Russia based company, Diakont, which says that its pipeline crawlers—Remotely Operated Diagnostic Inspection System or RODIS crawlers—supply highly accurate data and they do it in real time, which helps with timely decision-making. Interestingly, 3 of the 4 robots have girl names and the 4th a boy name, as it is said the girl robots are more flexible and are able to "crawl" under the pipeline, whereas the boy can not. Besides cleaning and inspecting the pipelines to make sure everything is working correctly, these robots are able to go inside and inspect from within. Even going as far as inspecting the valves such as our Api 6D Trunnion Ball Valves are properly attached and there is no damage. The first pipeline to use the 4 robots will be the 40-year branch of the Trans-Alaska pipeline system at the Valdez terminal. The robots can examine up to 1,800 feet of pipes with diameters ranging between 8 and 55 inches.

The company, Diakont says, This is not the first-time robots will be used for internal pipeline inspection, replacing the so-called smart pigs, or pipeline inspection gauges, that rely on magnetic sensors to detect corrosion and cracks. The robots named, Gary, Fiona, Dee and Alice are supplied with a clean pipe,  flushed with hot water and detergent.

The future for these robots look very bright as they can be used in all kinds of pipelines including offshore and natural gas as well as underground and under water as these types of jobs are very dangerous.

API 6D Trunnion Ball Valves, Full Port F316 Body and Trim ANSI 900 shipping out to a customer. These Double Block and Bleed Valves can be found in a Pipeline.

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Oil-Pipelines-To-Be-Inspected-By-Robots.html

24Apr/17Off

Natural gas pipeline leaks

We know that when a pipeline leaks oil the surrounding areas are in trouble whether it is in the ocean contaminating the animals and their habitat or on land damaging the water source for the cities nearby. Would a natural gas leak from a pipeline be any different or worse? Research shows that when there is a natural gas leak it could lead to irreversible changes. When natural gas is leaked which is mostly methane gas ( a powerful greenhouse gas as you may know that is more powerful than carbon dioxide), contributes to changing the environment.

Gas leaks are no different from stage to stage and therefore should be looked at and fixed immediately in stage one rather than waiting for the leak to get worse. The gas utilities’ pipe systems are just one link in the national gas supply chain that brings gas from the well to your home. Leaks are an issue at every stage, starting at the wellhead. Unfortunately, not all leaks are fixed and here is why; there are certain rules that govern what utility companies can and can not do. For one, they must inspect the pipeline if there are any leaks but there are other rules governing how—and how much—they can charge customers make it hard to invest in the major pipeline upgrades needed to prevent leaks. 

I believe the problem is not that there are not enough workers to fix these leaks, in fact, A new report shows that business is booming for those who work to stop leaks in natural gas pipelines across the country. But that the cost of the job is too expensive for many companies to consider which is a problem as we all know the leak will only get bigger no matter what it is. According to the report, unmitigated leaks cost an estimated $1.3 billion in lost natural gas each year. 

https://www.edf.org/climate/methanemaps/leaks-problem

 

15Apr/17Off

Will the Trans Alaskan pipeline survive?

The Trans Alaskan pipeline is one of the largest pipeline systems in the world. It is 800 miles long and starts on the North slope of Prudhoe Bay and ends in Valdez. Abbreviated "TAPS", The Trans Alaskan Pipeline System opened up in 1977 and since has had oil flow through. Although, the pipeline was built to out last the most extreme cold conditions that Alaska brings, no one for saw that once oil slows down there would be problems. The line now moves a quarter of the volume it carried at its peak. And as the flows slow, the risks are rising.

Just how much less has the Trans Alaskan Pipeline System been producing? Alaska’s output was 565,000 barrels a day last month, down from a peak of more than 2 million in 1988, according to state data. This doesn't mean that Alaska hasn't had any new oil discoveries since the pipeline was put in, simply it is more expensive to drill in the region because of weather conditions in comparison to the lower 48 states where it is much cheaper such as West Texas.

Why is "slow oil", necessarily a bad thing? Lower volumes mean crude travels more slowly through the pipeline, losing heat along the way. And at low temperatures, crude behaves badly. Ice crystals form that can damage pumping equipment. 

What is being done to keep it flowing? Alyeska heats oil at Pump Station One to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with a goal of keeping it above 37 degrees by the time it reaches the export terminal at Valdez, Alaska. 

The joint partnership between the three, BP, Exxon and ConocoPhilips have spent around $200 million upgrading the equipment around the pumps at station one. Every four days, a device known as a pig, a sort of industrial Q-Tip, is sent hurtling through the 48-inch-wide pipeline to scrub out debris. This process is not as cheap as it might sound, as yes it does help the oil from freezing but it also comes at a higher transportation cost. The big three oil giants have also been experimenting by using other techniques to keep the oil moving at a maximum speed. For example, injecting water into the ground ( similar to fracking) to speed up the oil process but how much longer can that go on?

Cryogenic valves for NEGATIVE 380 F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-10/pipeline-built-to-survive-extremes-can-t-bear-slow-flow-of-oil

 

 

 

20Mar/17Off

The oil and gas sector is threatened by cyber attacks

Technology is growing fast and more threats toward oil and gas companies are being discovered. While the industry of cyber security grows, there are many people who are wondering if whether new technology is what is really needed. It is hard to say exactly how many threats companies face as many companies are not required to report it. In fact, the Power, Chemical and Nuclear industries must obey the cybersecurity laws but when it comes to the Oil and Gas sector, federal law does not impose such standards. Companies such as Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66 and even Kinder Morgan are a few of the largest oil and gas companies who get cyber threats every day.

“Charles McConnell, at Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, said oil companies tend to rush to deploy new computer technologies that make operations more productive, but only afterward considering ways to defuse online threats.”

The problem is that the equipment that is being used currently was signed 10 years ago and the equipment was designed decades ago without security features. Efforts over the years to link computer networks to devices that monitor pressure or control valves have exposed operations to online threats. There are as many as thousands of sensors and controls in oil and gas facilities that reman open and vulnerable to cyber attacks.

There are steps that are put in place to help ward off hackers such as the Coast guard who has a joint partnership with the Houston police. The coast guards patrol the waters for unprotected wireless signals that hackers may use to access the facilities. The Gulf of Mexico has one of the largest concentrations of pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the country that are being attacked on a daily basis.

 

http://www.voanews.com/a/hackers-drawn-to-energy-sectors-lack-of-sensors-controls/3751090.html

16Feb/17Off

Information about the Dakota Access Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline facts

Who owns the pipeline? It is a joint venture between Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics Partner and Philips 66, Enbridge and Marathon Petroleum.

What are some of the valves that the pipeline might use? Trunnion Ball Valves are the most popular, but Gate Valves, Globe Valves, Check Valves can also be found.

How much will the pipeline project cost? Roughly 4 billion dollars.

How much oil will the pipeline carry? 470,000 to 570,000.

What is the main purpose of this pipeline? It is very controversial but the main principle that has been recorded is that the pipeline will free up the rails which can carry more grains and consumer friendly goods.

Where is the pipeline located and where will it pass through? The pipeline route runs from the northwestern North Dakota Bakken and Three Forks sites. It starts in Stanley, North Dakota, and travels in a southeastward direction to end at the oil tank farm near Patoka, Illinois.

Is pipeline safer than rail? Although trains can get derailed, it is very rare. This perhaps will never get answered as pipelines too can have problems but as long as they are properly maintained the risk should be low.

Will the Dakota pipeline be the only one in the area? No, there are actually 7 other pipelines that are located near Lake Oahe.

Is the Dakota Access Pipeline near completion? Since President Trump has signed the papers regarding the pipeline, it should be completed sometime this year.

Global Valve Controls ANSI600 Expanding Gate Valves

Source: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/28/512096744/as-trump-reboots-pipeline-expansion-an-unexpected-delay-emerges

 

13Feb/17Off

Aberdeens first oil and gas technology center opens up

Great news for Scotland, as a new technology center will open up in Aberdeen. The area has been long over due for a new facility as there is untapped oil in the North sea. "The research and development hub will help create new technology for the North Sea and back innovative projects." the centers first task will be to cut the cost of drilling wells to at least half as well as the maintenance that comes along with it. It will also find a way to drill where oil is available and has been untouched. It is estimated that about 20 billion barrels of oil and gas can be taken from the North sea. This will also boost the economy as it once the center opens up, they will be hiring hundreds of employees.  The technology center will focus on making the UK continental shelf more economical and support the decommissioning center as in the past companies would just abandon the active wells.

 

https://stv.tv/news/north/1380369-new-180m-oil-and-gas-technology-centre-opens-in-aberdeen/

23Jan/17Off

IT makes a difference in our industry

It doesn’t matter if you are working with pipelines, rigs, valves or the person sitting behind the desk doing all the paperwork. The backbone of the company, the industry, that makes the company run is the IT people sitting behind the desk (some in the field), making everything work. IT in the industry has always been a big part of the company, but now than ever their work is more recognizable. Industries now consider, “digitalization as a way for companies, large and small, to work smarter and do more with less.” Few examples are;

More oil and gas industries are now all using the slogan, “Work smarter with less,” especially ever since the downturn of oil, companies had to look for new ways to grow their business without hurting. Many upstream companies are using smart sensor technology which collects larger amounts of data.

“The unpredictability of the market has meant that industry has reduced spending on large-scale maintenance and the modification of assets the longer a company delays asset maintenance, the more potentially hazardous it becomes from a safety, environmental and operational standpoint.” The IT crew jumps in to implement quickly which means there is quicker time to value especially the big projects.

New technology to extract resources. When all the layoffs began, it was hard for a company to continue working on the big projects, as they could not afford to lose people, but also could not afford to pay anyone. IT has created new technology that allows companies to have less people although continuing to work. This is where the slogan, “work smarter with less,” comes in.

2017 is presenting oil and gas companies with new challenges as the industry moves further into uncharted waters. Organizations must balance budget cuts and reduced headcounts with increasing pressure to realize value faster than ever before, and exploit new opportunities.” This is where the IT people are making a difference in the world.

GVCINTL 16" ANSI 2500 Automated the IT has a strong influence in automation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.energyvoice.com/opinion/128176/opinion-four-trends-fuelling-oil-gas-industry-2017/

16Jan/17Off

Is offshore drilling good or bad?

Oil drilling has been criticized from the very beginning. Talk of how it is bad for the environment and the health of nearby towns is ongoing. We keep reading all the negative sides, but the positive information is never published. There is talk of offshore drilling, but it is very controversial and no one can decide if it’s bad or good. What is the difference between offshore and onshore drilling? Offshore drilling happens thousands of feet underwater, with that said you can pretty much figure out what onshore drilling consists of.

What is the negative side of offshore drilling? “Whenever oil is recovered from the ocean floor, other chemicals and toxic substances come up too -- things like mercury, lead and arsenic that are often released back into the ocean. In addition, seismic waves used to locate oil can harm sea mammals and disorient whales.” However, did you know that technology has made this process safer than what it used to be? From 1975 to today, offshore drilling has had a 99.999% safety record.

“Believe it or not, more oil actually spills into U.S. waters from natural sources and municipal and industrial waste than it does than from offshore oil and gas drilling.”

On a positive note, since we have started drilling offshore, we are less dependable on other countries such as the Middle east to provide oil and petroleum for the rest of the country. This stabilizes our economy more than ever. Another good thing about offshore drilling is that it created hundreds of jobs for those who do not have any. Especially when oil prices hit a low and thousands were laid off, this is a big deal. Offshore drilling plays a big part in the turnaround in our economy.

GVCINTL API 6D Valves ready to go!

 

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/offshore-drilling-controversy2.htm