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Valve World Americas: Saudi Aramco Investing in Global Energy Security

SAUDI-ARABIA-MAP_150pxA number of interesting and informative sessions took place at Valve World Americas, held June 21-22, 2011 in The Woodlands, TX. We continue our online series of highlights from some of the sessions attended by Valve Magazine editors.

Rajan Hingoraney, Valve Specialist for Aramco Services Company, Houston, discussed Saudi Aramco’s market outlook during one of the Valve World Americas plenary sessions. His positive presentation gave those attending reason for optimism, which added to the positive atmosphere at the conference.

Hingoraney began with a “33,000-foot” overview that helped attendees understand the magnitude of the impact that Saudi Arabia has on the Middle East, from its sheer size-making up about 70% of the land area of the Arabian Peninsula-and the country’s role as a reliable supplier of energy for over 75 years. Saudi is the world’s second largest exporter of crude oil and the largest exporter of LPG; the country manages over 260 billion barrels of crude oil reserves and has the world’s fourth largest gas reserves at 279 trillion SCF. Saudi Aramco has a total crude oil production capacity of over 12 million bpd, over 12,000 miles of pipelines to transport that crude to market and enough refining capacity to refine more than 2 million bpd of crude.

In addition, said Hingoraney, Saudi Aramco has a Master Gas System that has the capacity to process more than 12 billion scf daily. Saudi Aramco has a global track record of joint ventures with other oil companies in Saudi, Korea, Japan, China and the United States. Vela International Marine, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, is a critical link in the supply chain between Saudi Aramco and the rest of the world. Since 1975, Saudi Aramco has produced mega projects in gas distribution (Master Gas System), Field Development (Shaybah and Khurais) and refining (Petro Rabigh, Phase I).

Preparing for the Future

But enough about the past, said Hingoraney, noting that Saudi Aramco is preparing for the future in a very big way. With more than 250 capital projects planned for the next five years, Saudi Aramco will continue to be a major player in the Oil & Gas Industry for the foreseeable future. Those projects will realize development in four major areas, he said.  Oil Production, Gas/NGL Production, Refining and Petrochemicals. In particular, Hingoraney emphasized the 2013 completion of the Jubail Export Refinery specializing in Arabian heavy crude oil and the 2014 completion of the Yanbu Export Refinery each with a 400 million bpd deep conversion capacity. Saudi Aramco also has separate joint ventures with Dow Petrochemicals and Sumitomo to develop additional petrochemical production capacity. KBR is currently doing the FEED work for the Petro-Rabigh Phase II project (Saudi Aramco/Sumitomo). So, the future does indeed look bright for Saudi Aramco projects and the prospect for new valve sales.

Valve Reliability and Standards

Hingoraney’s presentation also included information about Saudi Aramco's valve initiatives, including a valve reliability study and valve standards. In the valve reliability study, Saudi Aramco tested 75,910 valves delivered to their Khursaniyah, Khurais, Nuayyim and Shaybah Projects. Of those 75,910 valves tested, they found 2,730 or 3.6% defective, with 77% of the rejects found to be seat defects (60%) and body defects (17%). The defects seemed to be fairly evenly distributed over all size ranges, with 2, 10, 12, 14 and 16 inch having the highest percentage of defects per number of valves tested. Of course, as Hingoraney pointed out, Murphy’s Law came into play as the failures did not appear until after the valves had passed final inspection.

As a result of the reliability study, Saudi Aramco reassessed certain valve suppliers that had a large percentage of rejects, updated packaging and storage instructions, increased casting quality requirements, increased pressure testing requirements and updated contractor site procedures.

On the topic of valve standards, Hingoraney proposed that API 6A adopt a product specification level (PSL) and performance requirements (PR) concept as found in other standards. “I believe that through industry standards we can achieve quality levels while lowering costs and increasing efficiencies all around,” said Hingoraney, who also moderated a conference workshop on standards.

Gary J. Grauerholz is president of LTP International LLC. He is also a contributing editor to Valve Magazine. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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