The Valve Manufacturers Association held its annual Technical Seminar & Exhibits at the Hilton NASA Clear Lake in Houston, March 8-9. More than a dozen speakers presented on a variety of topics that centered on “Prevailing Challenges and Solutions for the Oil & Gas/Petrochemical Industries.”
Ron Manson, director of application engineering for Cameron Valves and Measurement, spoke about the qualification standards on performance type testing for valves used top side and in facilities. With 34 years in the valve industry, Manson’s experience gives him firsthand knowledge of how the complex and often conflicting requirements national and company specifications affect valve manufacturers.
Manson pointed out how many oil companies and countries had different qualification requirements, creating layers of standards that must be met when supplying valves to the various oil companies, most of which operate in several different countries. A brief summary of the requirements just for topsides from a few countries includes:
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE
- API 6A: Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment
- API 17D: Design and Operation of Subsea Production Systems – Subsea Wellhead and Tree Equipment
- API 591: Process Valve Qualification Procedure
- API 622: Type Testing of Process Valve Packing for Fugitive Emissions
NBR 15827: Industrial Valves for Installations of Exploration, Production, Refining and Transport of Petrol Products – Requirements for Design and Prototype Test
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ORGANIZATION
ISO 15848-1: Industrial Valves – Measurement, Test and Qualification Procedures for Fugitive Emissions
GOST R 53402: Valves. Methods of Monitoring and Testing.
The most onerous testing is required by Australia. There, subsea valve qualifications are being used on critical platform valves and onshore isolation valves and all onshore facility valves are to be qualified per ISO 15848-1. Global demand for valves to be qualified is spreading from project to project from Angola to Qatar. Add to these requirements the additional and varying standards that must be met for companies like Shell, Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil.
With costs and potential for overlap and duplication associated with each level of standards, Manson was encouraging attendees to work toward one qualification standard. He laid out a way forward, to form under ISO or API a new work group to expand the fugitive emissions standard or to create a new performance standard. He stressed how important it was to do this quickly and do it now—otherwise subsea standards will migrate in to fill the void. With a standard qualification, these goals can be met:
- Confirm ability to seal against through leakage over a given number of cycles
- Confirm seals perform at maximum and minimum temperatures
- Validate valve operating torque/thrust at ambient, maximum and minimum temperatures
- Determine fugitive emission performance at ambient, maximum and minimum temperatures
- Prove environmental containment
- Prove robustness/stability of metallic trims
- Prove soft seal combinations
How would these goals be met?
Manson recommended the formation of three qualification groups, for example, by materials classes. These would include carbon & low alloy steel, austenitic alloys and duplex alloys. There would also be temperature classes and seal classes. A range of qualifications was suggested, for example, coverage for a single-model design, a pressure class and size, seal classes, material and temperature.
Ultimately, rigorous testing and qualifications standards are needed, he said, but it is in the best interests of all concerned to work together to develop a standard that will satisfy the requirements of all countries and companies. Manson encouraged people to volunteer to participate in a work group to assure that the interests of their company and country are represented.
About the presenter: Ron Manson is Director of Application Engineering at Cameron Valves & Measurement. Ron graduated from Strathclyde University in Scotland in 1974 with a Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for a short time in nuclear power stations and for the past 34 years has been in the valve industry. He has extensive experience in all areas of valves, such as, subsea, topside and pipeline. Ron became a professional Chartered Engineer and member of the British Institute Of Mechanical Engineers when he was 26. He represented the UK through the British Standards Institute on Euronorm valve committees. He has actively participated in the ISO committee, which wrote the new pipeline valve standard and has made a significant contribution to API in their 6D committee.
Ron’s broad experience is used in Cameron’s Flow Management Solutions group, evaluating for clients valve solutions and what type of valve and trim should be used for the service conditions. Ron’s international role gives him firsthand knowledge of the effects complex and conflicting requirements and specifications have on valve manufacturers.