With an increasing demand for energy in the long term but quite unstable in the short term, the oil and gas industry is facing many challenges in its complete value chain, from production to logistics and final distribution. With the severe drop in oil barrel prices that we have seen in the last few months and the unprecedented financial constraints associated, companies in the industry are subject to a permanent urge for optimization and improvement of their processes in order to increase efficiency while respecting strict safety standards that are linked to the dangers of the products handled.
No need for a major “technological revolution” or massive investment to improve safety, efficiency and competitiveness! Smart and small improvements in technology, organization and working methods can also lead to good results.
Valves enable to control the flow of a liquid or a gas in a closed environment. They are numerous in the Oil and Gas industry and should always be accessible and operational in the case of hazards requiring immediate action.
To ensure this essential safety condition, the thousands of valves that are found in a petrochemical and gas complex are subject to programs of complete and precise preventive maintenance, which consist primarily of regular operation to avoid jams, and if need be, to carry out maintenance.
Those that are regularly operated for process management remain in good condition and, in the event of a malfunction, they pose such a huge and immediate threat that maintenance is immediately carried out. But what about those (in much larger quantities) which are not regularly operated although they are dedicated to stopping or modifying the flow in case of a problem (isolating a section of the process, creating a by-pass, or simply stopping a part of the process). These are usually the valves that one “forgets” to operate regularly. The reasons for that are quite obvious: They do not cause problems (for good reason: We do not use them!), they are not motorized and require time and effort to be manually actuated, they are often inaccessible … As a consequence, they jam more than others, and become even more difficult to operate. This causes a vicious cycle that ends with them becoming completely inoperable.
This situation can become very dangerous! Indeed, if a major problem occurs and requires the opening or closing of these valves, it will be impossible to do so and the consequences could be critical, to both people and material.
A portable actuator is used by the operator on all the manual valves or even on the motorized valves but whose motor has failed. In this way, it is not necessary to equip each valve with an expensive actuator which, moreover, will only be used once in a while for a few of them.
But be careful of the choice of motor for this portable actuator!
This article shows you the advantages of portable pneumatic actuators in the oil and gas industry !
By providing operators with a simple way to carry out preventive maintenance of the valves, maintenance costs are instantly and significantly reduced, but also the human costs (accidents linked to the manual handling of valves that are jammed, inaccessible or simply too hard) and operating costs (reduction of break downs). But above all, the safety of the entire site is assured.