A portable valve actuator to actuate pipeline valves

6 February 2020

PVA Applications PVA Sector

midstreamGraphic credit: EnergyHQ

In the oil and gas industry, we can observe three main stages: upstream, midstream and downstream. When upstream focuses on the exploration and production of the oil and gas, the midstream stage is about the safe transportation on thousand of miles of the natural oil and gas thanks to dedicated equipment such as pipelines. 

If we were to put all the pipelines of the world end to end, they would measure 3,500,000 km or 90 times the round of earth! They are generally the most economical way to transport large quantities of oil, refined oil products or natural gas over land. The united states has the biggest network with about 65% of all pipelines in the world on their lands. 

Despite the incredible lengths of the pipes, the fluids must always keep moving at approximately walking speed. In order to do so, pump stations are strategically located, and the pumps make sure that the oil and gas move through the pipeline and on to the next station or to its final market destination. 

pipeantofagastaBy Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0,

These pumping units are often located in remote places designed, built and landscaped to minimize visual impact. 

These units are subject to numerous attacks and damaging accidents that can have serious consequences and result in the death of people and environment catastrophes. This is why security is critical on these pumping / compressor stations. 

Valves in pumping stations play a critical role in protecting high-cost and operational-critical assets, including prime movers, pumps and control and measurement systems. Valve failure will most certainly cause a process shutdown and could potentially result in the destruction of critical infrastructure. More critically, valve failure could result in dangerous conditions or environmental contamination. 

Generally, the preventive maintenance programs of pumping stations performs three levels of inspections. These are weekly inspections, monthly inspections, and a more in depth annual inspection. Each inspection covers the electrical, mechanical, and physical facilities and equipment at each station. Scheduled Preventative Maintenance activities are performed as part of the routine inspections : 

  • Gate valves  
  • Check valves
  • Isolation valves

    This is where the portable valve actuators come into action! Operators must inspect and exercise each gate valves, check valves and isolation valves.  

Modec portable valve actuators are used for the preventive maintenance of the pumping and compressor stations. 


These centers do not use fixed actuators usually for technical reasons or lack of funds. A fixed actuator on each valve would guarantee best performance and put no constraints on the valve, but the cost of this investment is high. As well as the price of the actual materials, there are the costs involved in installation, linking to a power source, and on-going maintenance. In addition, it is not always viable in terms of profitability to install a fixed actuator on every valve. 

Also, some valves simply can’t be motorised by a fixed actuator, because they are an old model or have no power feed.

This is why all the valves inside pumping and compressor stations are mostly manually controlled. There is a very simple solution that can motorise manual valves during preventive maintenance processes and emergency shutdowns,  the Portable Valve Actuator. With this tool, you can open valves and handwheels with a simple, fast procedure. It’s the perfect device for operators, allowing them to work efficiently and in optimum safety.

Also, with a single portable actuator, you can operate all types of valves and handwheels without having to install any equipment. So operators can actuate valves much more easily and quickly with no risk of injuring themselves or damaging the equipment of the station. 

The Modec portable valve actuator has numerous advantages. With three available motorisation feeds (electric, pneumatic and thermal), plus a large range of accessories and torque retention systems, you can count on a reliable, robust and easy-to-use tool to operate your valves during your preventive maintenance in the pumping and compressor stations. 

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Olivier Ben Soussan
Olivier Ben Soussan

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