Level control most gruelling offshore application

Level control has been identified by Severn Unival as the runaway most challenging offshore valve application. A study of data from the past 15 years shows that the engineering specialist has been commissioned to repair or retrofit more than 1000 OEM level control valves ranging from 1in to 24in bore.
This is more than double the number of valves in other severe or critical offshore applications that have needed similar attention. For instance, choke valves are the next most volatile with over 450 repairs or retrofits completed in the same timeframe. Level control valves play a vital function on offshore oil platforms. They are used in the process of stripping impurities, usually water and gases, from the oil stream before it is shipped from the platform for sale or production.
The stream is sent through a series of separators and it is essential that levels of oil and water are carefully managed. Certain level control applications can put valves under a lot of stress. They can be exposed to severe flashing and vibration, caused by fluctuations in vapour pressure due to the many constituents of the oil. High velocities of flashing vapour can cause extensive erosion of internal components. This exacerbates the erosive qualities generally associated with offshore oil extraction, due to sand and salt content of the stream.
Results can be catastrophic, seriously compromising safety, integrity and reliability. Shrewd repair and retrofit activity can cost-effectively raise the performance standard of aging assets. Technical solutions deployed by Severn Unival can range from simple overhauls to the use of more sophisticated trim designs for specific level control applications. Improving the trim with higher grade materials such as ceramics or tungsten carbide can also enhance the longevity of valves.
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