Velan ABV: Conquering the upstream valve market

Velan ABV employees perform NDT and dimensional tests on a 52” ball valve using a ScanArm and 3D digitalization software to maximize the efficiency of the process.

In an interview with Valve World, Velan ABV’s CEO William Toqueboeuf and Vice President of Upstream Emanuele Rivolta provided valuable insights into the company’s success in the upstream valve market. The two executives discussed Velan ABV’s history, key success factors, and vision for the future.

By Melonie Dodaro, Valve World

In the upstream oil and gas industry, valves play a critical role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of complex projects. From offshore platforms to LNG facilities, these valves must withstand extreme pressures, temperatures, and corrosive environments. One company that has consistently delivered reliable valve solutions for these challenging applications is Velan ABV.

This article explores the journey of Velan ABV, an Italian subsidiary of the Velan Group, as it has grown to become a leading player in the upstream valve market. We will discuss the company’s history, its key success factors, and share some insights into how Velan ABV has set itself apart in a highly competitive industry.

20” Class 2500 three-piece forged bolted body high pressure compact ball valve installed in a FPSO unit in offshore service.

About Velan ABV

Velan ABV’s story began in 1999 when the company was founded in Italy. In 2013, the Velan Group, recognizing the potential for growth in the upstream market, acquired the company. This acquisition proved to be a turning point for Velan ABV, as it provided access to the Velan Group’s extensive resources, expertise, and global network. The company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and customer service has enabled it to grow its turnover from around EUR 30 million per year to become a top contributor to the Velan Group, accounting for over 25% of the group’s total turnover.

Success factors

Velan ABV’s remarkable growth and success in the upstream valve market can be attributed to a combination of key factors. These factors have enabled the company to differentiate itself in a highly competitive industry and deliver exceptional value to its customers. Mr Toqueboeuf: “One of the most significant factors contributing to our success has been the strong heritage of the Velan brand. As a subsidiary of the Velan Group, Velan ABV has benefited from the parent company’s reputation for quality, reliability, and innovation. This association has elevated Velan ABV’s own brand recognition and helped to establish trust with customers who are familiar with the Velan name.”

API 10000 FPSO topside compact ball valves

Another critical factor has been the long-term market development strategy, says Emanuele Rivolta, Velan ABV’s Vice President of Upstream. Recognizing the potential for growth in the upstream niche, Rivolta has focused on diversifying Velan ABV’s customer base. By expanding into new markets and building relationships with key players in the industry, Velan ABV has positioned itself as a go-to provider of valve solutions for a wide range of upstream applications such as wellheads, offshore topsides, boarding valves, and more.

Underlying these efforts has been a strong set of company values that prioritize quality, customization, and customer service. “Velan ABV’s commitment to delivering high-quality, tailored products that are engineered and made in Italy has set it apart from competitors who may rely on lower-cost, standardized solutions,” explains Mr Rivolta. “By working closely with customers to understand their unique needs and challenges, we are able to develop valve solutions that meet the most demanding requirements.”

Finally, Velan ABV’s success can be attributed to its focus on flexibility and the empowerment of its employees. By developing a culture of collaboration and innovation, the company has been able to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs. Engineers and technicians are encouraged to take ownership of projects and contribute their ideas, leading to a dynamic and agile organization that is well-positioned for growth.

Expanding into new markets and applications

Velan ABV’s success in the upstream valve market has been fueled by its ability to expand into new markets and applications. By leveraging the expertise and resources of the Velan Group, the company has been able to identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities in the industry.

One of the most significant expansions for Velan ABV has been its entry into the LNG market. In 2016, the company recognized the growing demand for valves in LNG applications and decided to leverage Velan’s extensive experience in cryogenic valve technology. This move proved to be a major success, as Velan ABV quickly established itself as a key player in the LNG valve market. “A notable milestone in Velan ABV’s LNG journey was winning the contract to supply the entire cryogenic portion of the Pluto LNG project in Australia,” continues Mr Toqueboeuf. “This project required the development and delivery of premier valves, including 42” Class 150, 20” Class 1500, and 12” Class 2500 full cryogenic valves. Velan ABV’s ability to meet the stringent requirements of this project demonstrated our technical expertise and manufacturing capabilities in the LNG space.”

In addition to the LNG market, Velan ABV has also made significant inroads in the Middle East. By developing specific products tailored to the needs of major players in the region, such as ADNOC, Aramco, and Qatar Gas, the company has been able to penetrate this highly competitive market. To further strengthen its presence in the Middle East, Velan ABV is currently developing a joint venture (JV) to manufacture valves for Aramco locally in Saudi Arabia. This strategic move will not only provide the company with a local presence but also enable it to better serve other customers in the region.

Engineering and project capabilities

In addition to its ability to expand into new markets, Velan ABV’s strong engineering and project execution capabilities have been instrumental in its success in the upstream valve market. These capabilities have enabled the company to deliver complex, customized valve solutions that meet the highest standards of quality and performance.

The company’s team of experienced engineers works closely with customers to understand their specific requirements and develop tailored valve solutions. This close technical alignment ensures that Velan ABV’s products are optimized for each application, maximizing performance and reliability.

20” Class 2500 three-piece forged bolted body high pressure compact ball valve installed in a FPSO unit in offshore service.

One of the key advantages of Velan ABV’s engineering capabilities is its ability to adapt designs to specific requirements and changing project needs. Mr Toqueboeuf: “In the upstream industry, projects often face unique challenges that require flexible and innovative solutions. Our experienced engineers are skilled at modifying valve designs to accommodate these challenges, whether it’s adjusting materials to withstand extreme temperatures or redesigning components to fit limited space constraints.” This adaptability has been crucial in executing complex projects for end users. For example, when faced with changing requirements during the construction of an FPSO vessel, Velan ABV was able to quickly modify its valve designs to meet the new specifications and the required delivery.

In addition to its technical expertise, Velan ABV is also recognized for its strong project management capabilities. The company’s project managers work closely with customers to ensure smooth coordination and timely delivery of valve solutions.

“By maintaining open communication channels and proactively addressing potential issues, our team is able to minimize delays and ensure successful project execution, minimizing hassle for the customer,” explains Mr Rivolta.

Customers appreciate Velan ABV’s commitment to collaboration and cooperation throughout the project lifecycle. The company’s team is known for its responsiveness and willingness to go above and beyond to support customers. This customer-centric approach has helped Velan ABV build long-lasting relationships with major players in the upstream industry.

Notable products and projects

One of Velan ABV’s most exciting recent developments is the V-flange, the company’s innovative IoT product designed to monitor any quarter-turn manual valve. The V-flange represents a significant step forward in valve technology. By enabling real-time monitoring and data collection, the V-flange will help operators optimize valve performance, reduce downtime, and enhance safety.

Part of a package of cryogenic ball valves from 6-24”, ASME 900 class, temperatures to -196 °C, destined for an LNG project.

A notable achievement for Velan ABV is the successful delivery of a 52” top entry pipeline ball valve for ADNOC, the national oil company of the United Arab Emirates. This project marked a significant milestone for Velan ABV, as it demonstrated the company’s ability to manufacture large-scale valves and solidified its presence in the Middle East market. The 52” valve, one of the largest in Velan ABV’s portfolio, required extensive engineering and manufacturing agility to meet ADNOC’s stringent requirements.

In the LNG market, Velan ABV has made impressive strides with its cryogenic valve offerings. In just five years, the company has significantly expanded its cryogenic valve offerings and today, Velan ABV’s cryogenic valves are used in some of the world’s most prominent LNG projects.
Velan ABV’s project portfolio is equally impressive, with major ongoing projects for Qatar Gas LNG, Exxon Mobil FPSO, and Petrobras FPSOs. These projects require close collaboration with customers to develop customized valve solutions that meet the unique challenges of each application.

In addition to these projects, Velan ABV has also developed several special valve designs that push the boundaries of performance and reliability. These include 16” API 10000 and 20” API 10000 high pressure compact ball valves, which are designed to withstand extremely high pressures, and a 16” modular double block and bleed ball valve in both Class 2500 and API 10000, which offers enhanced safety and redundancy.

Velan ABV’s notable products and projects are a showcase of the company’s technical expertise, manufacturing capabilities, and commitment to customer success. From innovative IoT solutions to large-scale pipeline valves and complex FPSO projects, Velan ABV has consistently delivered high-quality valve solutions that set the standard in the upstream industry.

Vision for the future

Velan ABV’s vision for the future is built on a foundation of innovation, customer focus, and employee development. The company aims to solidify its position as a premium valve manufacturer by developing high-end, high-value solutions that differentiate it from competitors.

A prime example is the company’s line of zero-leakage metal seated valves, designed to provide the highest level of performance and reliability in demanding upstream applications. In addition to product innovation, Velan ABV sees significant opportunities in valve automation and control, driven by the rapid growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). “We plan to expand our offerings in this area by providing customers with comprehensive, smart, and connected valve solutions that meet their evolving needs,” explains Mr Rivolta. “Velan ABV’s V-flange IIoT product and other related initiatives position the company well to capitalize in this area.” To support these growth initiatives, Velan ABV remains committed to its core strengths of customer relationships and employee talent development. The company recognizes that its success is built on close collaboration with customers and a deep understanding of their unique challenges and requirements. By continuing to invest in its customer-facing teams and processes, Velan ABV aims to strengthen its partnerships with key players in the upstream industry and drive long-term growth. At the same time, the company has a strong culture of talent development, with programs in place to support the growth and advancement of its employees.

Top-entry forged ball valves
Double block and bleed ball valves API 10000 and Class 2500 for FPSO topside service

“Looking beyond valves, Velan ABV is exploring opportunities to provide a broader range of IIoT instruments and solutions to help customers optimize their operations and reduce costs,” concludes Mr Toqueboeuf. “By leveraging our expertise in valve technology and growing IIoT capabilities, our intention is to become a one-stop-shop for upstream instrumentation and control solutions.” With a clear strategy and commitment to excellence, Velan ABV is poised to continue its remarkable growth story and deliver exceptional value to its customers and stakeholders. The company’s vision for the future positions it to remain a leader in the upstream valve market for years to come.

Final assembly of an API 6A side-entry ball valve

About Velan ABV

Velan is a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered industrial steel valves for critical applications such as oil & gas, process, nuclear power, defense, sub-sea, and mining. The Group’s Italian subsidiary, Velan ABV specializes in solutions for the upstream sector.

Click here to watch the assembly and testing of Velan ABV’s 52” top-entry ball valve at the Lucca, Italy manufacturing facility.

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