Control Valves: Why are they Important?

Control Valves: Why are they Important?

By Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Organizations develop a range of hydraulic flow control valves, and regulators perform a variety of critical tasks. Each set determines the smooth functioning of the system.

Fremont, CA: Smooth and safe drilling is not entirely dependent on blowout preventer in the whole operation. A series of mechanisms to control pressure levels in a well and prevent blowouts are unquestionably vital as their absence can potentially endanger personnel and the environment and, along with it, halt the production. The unit is gargantuan in size as it weighs more than 300 metric tons and over sixty feet in height. The unit also has multiple ram and annular preventers and a maze of complex pipework. The main task of a BOP is to essentially shut in a well to prevent a blowout during the drilling process. However, the BOP has numerous integral smaller parts such as valves to actuators, which must function reliably.

Top 10 Energy Technology Startups - 2018The BOP is a multimillion-dollar kit designed to enable drilling activities. The challenging subsea environment makes the BOP inevitably more complex and requires more components than surface stacks. Organizations develop a range of hydraulic flow control valves, and regulators perform a variety of critical tasks. Modern BOPs play multiple roles, such as alleviating pressure kicks while drilling and initiating the closure of BOP in case of an issue. If a critical subcomponent fails, then it will affect the entire BOP stack as it needs to be pulled. A stack pull ultimately means the operation has to shut down for several days, depending on the depth of the water.

The financial repercussions of shutting down the operations are severe for the operators. A scheduled outage for maintenance can easily cost millions of dollars to the operators. However, an unplanned shutdown is different. It requires investigation, diagnosis, and repair, and the producers have to pay for drilling rigs, offshore support vessels, and several other service providers. Additionally, the loss in production also costs several million dollars. Operating in increasingly competitive markets with fewer margins is a significant problem for drilling contractors and original equipment manufacturers (OEM). To gain a contract, an operator must have good uptime ratios. If a control valve fails on a stack it can stop the production, possibly affecting the next potential contract. To devise future product development strategies, feedback from the market and end users is crucial as it also helps in gaining contracts.

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