Global Valve and Controls
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

 

 

 

11Apr/17Off

Life on an oilfield

The biggest reason why life on an oilfield is so attractive is because it pays very well. But what does that really mean? Sure it sounds like fun and payday can be rewarding but lets take a look at what makes life challenging working on one. Sometimes these oil field men will call these places, "Man Camps", as there are literally no women.

First, someone who works in the oilfield spends majority of their time there so many people live in small houses, or have room mates that share the space ideally.  However, many companies can not afford to house their workers in fancy homes. Some have to find their own housing and will stay in a horse trailer, an abandoned container, or even in the back of their pick up truck.  There is no such thing as arriving to work at 8am and leaving by 5pm. Working on the oilfield, means 90 hours plus rain or shine. Sometimes more, maybe less depending on what you are doing. But as every oil field veteran knows, there is a harsh tradeoff, beyond the grueling labor. Some men work hundreds of miles from their families, others live in primitive conditions or face the real risk of being maimed. Its basically a work, eat, sleep routine. When its time to go home, its just sleep time.

But the lure of big checks is still bringing waves of workers. In Dimmit County, population 10,000 before the boom, more than 1,000 oil field jobs were added in 2011. Around the 20 Eagle Ford Shale counties, at least 7,000 jobs have been added in two years.

The average for a truck driver in the oil field is about $25.00. Many non oil companies pay less, so the reward is definitely great for many of these men but sad for the wives and families back home. My wife doesn't like the hours, but she's happy for what I bring home. I expect to make over $100,000 this year. The oil field is a great place. 

A common stereotype that is often heard is that on their off time or break time you can these men siting, smoking or even drinking singing songs. Companies are now far more safety-conscious and less tolerant of misbehavior. Most do background checks, provide training and have zero tolerance for drug use or alcohol abuse. Still, some who have no education or degrees can make up to $160,000.00 per year. You can see how that is truly rewarding among many folks.

http://www.chron.com/business/article/High-paying-oil-field-jobs-come-at-a-price-3465378.php

Find all your flow control needs right here

5Apr/17Off

Will the Solar Power industry take over the Petrochemical industry?

After oil sky rocketed down around the world, a new technology emerged in Norway which focuses primarily on offshore solar power. When oil started going down in 2014, many engineers lost their jobs and are still looking for work in the O&G industry. The downturn brought, Øyvind Christian Rohn ideas on how to create a new renewable source, even possibly create more jobs than the O&G industry supplies. He created the idea of having offshore solar power technology.  The idea is to have the "technology that will have solar farms that can float on the ocean surface, with their power transmitted back to land. Since physical space is limited in population centres, especially in areas of high growth such as South East Asia, its idea is to use the ocean’s surface around the world."

In Norway, The petrochemical industry is still hierarchy but according to Rohn, "It is becoming the long-term solution for the world because it is abundant energy and costs have gone down rapidly." The solar industry is still very new technology and is currently being used at 1% but the idea is growing very fast. In fact, the municipal county in Oslo is offering households a subsidy of 30% of the investment to install solar panels in their homes.

Cost is not the only thing that many people factor in the challenge is that they have grown up with the idea of having the O&G sector. People have worked in the industry, thus has become part of their culture. The main challenge would be to switch to green energy.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/mar/28/oil-and-gas-norways-fossil-free-energy-renewables-oslo?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

3Apr/17Off

Pipeline valve gets vandalized

Damage to the Dakota Access Pipeline

There is so much controversy regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline, not just local but nationwide.  It has finally begun to have oil flow through few months ago. The pipeline is not 100% finished as it still has almost 5% of construction left just below Lake Oahe in North Dakota.  Every morning contractors inspect the pipeline to make sure all the valves are working properly, and to make sure there are no leaks. Recently, a hole burnt on the pipeline was found. The damage to the pipeline valve will cost roughly between $30,000.00 and $60,000.00.

It is very expensive to fix as the pipe itself is 30" thick. “They observed a small burnt hole in the pipeline,” says Chief Deputy Chad Brown. “At that time there was no oil or spilling coming out or anything like that.” Chief Deputy Brown says the hole is just below one of the curved parts of the pipeline, and it’s only about the size of a dime."

The damage is no accident. It is reported that this is the first time that a pipeline has been vandalized. The authorities in the area have started investigations as a few leads have come up, but currently there have been no arrests.

Fresh painted Thru Conduit Gate Valves

http://www.kdlt.com/2017/03/21/deputies-found-hole-oil-pipeline/

 

29Mar/17Off

Fracking in the Permian Basin

Fracking in the Permian Basin

 

The Permian Basin is found in a large part of West Texas as well as Southeast of New Mexico. It was named Permian because it has one of the worlds thickest deposits of rocks Permian geologic period. The Permian Basin is actually composed of three basins which include the Midland Basin, Delaware Basin and the Marfa Basin. Many people do not know but the Permian Basin is the largest petroleum producing basins in America. To get an idea of how large this basin really is, currently, nearly 2 million barrels of oil a day are being pumped from the basin, which still contains an estimated 43 billion barrels of oil and 18 trillion cu ft. of gas.

Companies working in the Permian face two challenges when it comes to water: getting enough water for fracking and getting rid of underground water released by fracking. Water injection is part of the fracking process and currently there are disputes on what needs to be done with the wastewater. Water is beneficial to fracking, by sending a mixture of water, sand and certain additives into a deep-rock formation at high pressure. Soon after the fracturing occurs, water returns to the surface as “flowback” or wastewater. 

What they used to do what inject the water back into the ground, but there are studies that show this has actually been linked to earthquakes. Oklahoma is a prime example, because of this Oklahoma has limited wastewater injections.

Water poses problems for the energy industry in the Permian

 

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

13Mar/17Off

A world without drilling

Are we ready to stop drilling?

What would happen if all the drilling for oil and gas stopped all over the world? Is that even possible? It is very hard to imagine as we have well over 700,000 oil wells! I found this fascinating as there is already a plan put in place in the UK, called NEST or National Employment Savings Trust, recently announced it was moving 10 percent of its investments toward firms that work to reduce climate change and create more environmentally-friendly methods of energy use. NEST will be focusing more on renewable energy such as solar and wind and less on extracting energy which is a sign of climate change. It sounds a bit dramatic to stop all the drilling all of a sudden but further research shows there might be something that both sides can agree on.

The method is to find a plan which is not as expensive and reduces pollution. Washington State University researchers recently published findings indicating they have found a better method of conducting a significant catalytic reaction frequently used in the oil and gas industries. If it’s widely adopted, the energy savings and reduced pollutants could be impressive. Their method is to place a small amount of carbon within the catalyst that breaks apart the carbon and hydrogen in methane. The increased amount causes the creation of nickel carbide. One of the researchers at WSU also noted that the current process is very wasteful and that converting methane without the burn that produces gas would benefit energy providers and the environment. A win-win for both sides!

It is very hard to tell if the new process will affect the global market and how it will affect as businesses have not yet started using this new method of extracting oil.

To read more information about this new method, please visit this website: http://www.theenergycollective.com/mnichols/2400104/new-research-help-save-oil-gas-money-environment

Valves such as our GVC BV6000 is a an example of a valve that can be used in oil wells for drilling. http://gvcintl.com/products_threaded_and_socket_weld_valves.html

 

 

11Mar/17Off

Pipeline needed in Alaska for billions of oil

The last time I saw an article online about a large oil discovery was not very recent. In fact, the last time that a major oil find was made was actually in 2009 in Venezuela. Recently, there has been a huge onshore oil discovery in Alaska! "Spanish oil company Repsol said Thursday that it discovered 1.2 billion barrels of oil in Alaska." It has been thirty years since there has been a large find such as this. The oil discovery was made near the village of Nuiqsut in North Slope. The oil find in Venezuela was large but this is by far the largest. According to the company who found the oil, production is scheduled to start as late as 2021 and they will be extracting as much as 120,000 barrels of oil per day. The company Repsol partnered with Armstrong Oil is definitely lucky to have found such a large amount of oil, back in 2001, they discovered two other areas in Alaska filled with oil but since sold the areas. The company quoted "Alaska has significant infrastructure which allows new resources to be developed more efficiently."

This news can definitely bring some relief from when the oil prices went down even though they are slowly recovering. For example, last year there was a freeze in the hiring process and all out of state travel was ceased. I am hoping this news will turn things around especially in Alaska. Interesting enough, the company also said they are very surprised a find this large discovery as the oil basin was often called, "an aging basin", also known to be on its last legs.  Alaska Governor Bill Walker said in a statement. "We must all pull together to fill an oil pipeline that's three-quarters empty."

http://www.businessinsider.com/repsol-onshore-oil-discovery-alaska-2017-3

 

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