How does it work: Pipeline Safety

No matter the environment or application, valve integrity is key to pipeline safety. A wide range of valves, actuators, and valve accessories have been designed to keep pipeline processes and transfer points as safe as possible, and reduce the likelihood of environmental exposure or leakage.

Valve failure in a pipeline can be costly. Not only is there cost involved in repairing the valve or pipeline, but there also is lost profit in downtime, and sometimes even legal repercussions for environmental contamination or damages.

Valves

Choosing the right valve for your application is the first step in achieving a safer pipeline operation. Every decision, from valve type to advanced testing and certification requirements can impact performance. If a valve is not accurately matched for the process environment, productivity will suffer. Sometimes choosing the right valve requires working with an expert that can advise on application-specific requirements, and potential design ideas for unique situations. The specialized team of valve, actuator and market experts that make up our Total Valve Care (TVC) solution help from pre-FEED to decommission planning for accurate, cost-efficient valve selection.

Certain applications are straightforward and require reliable, daily-service valves like the Cameron WKM 370D4 trunnion mounted ball valve (for small bore pipelines). The CAMERON T30 ball valve also can be specially engineered for larger bore pipelines and special applications. Ball valves are commonly installed at specified intervals as shutdown points in miles of pipeline. These valves help ensure that in the case of scheduled maintenance or an emergency situation, the pipeline can be securely isolated. “Ball valves can be used for isolation and shutdown applications.” Jeffery Joseph, CAMERON ball valve product manager said, “The ability of our valves to seal under extreme and unique applications proves that the ball valve brands that Cameron offers are of high quality and integrity. One of the biggest advantages is that our ball valve lines can be easily bundled together with its own gearbox and actuation brands to provide a complete system solution for our customers, increasing safety, and reducing total cost of ownership.”

In areas where critical isolation is needed, more specialized, engineered valves should be utilized to ensure that leakage does not occur. Depending on the application and type of service, a wide range of valve types and options are available to fit specific needs. For example, in liquid service near waterways or municipalities, Cameron offers the WKM Pow-R-Seal expanding gate valve for critical isolation. In other situations, like cryogenic service, our TBV ball valve is specially designed for service at very low temperatures.

Ultimately, selecting the right valve for the application is critical. Our experienced engineering and design teams can be a great asset in valve selection.

Actuators

Part of having a reliable valve system in a pipeline is having a reliable operator. Whether it’s a manually operated valve with a gearbox or an automated valve with an actuator, the application and pipeline design need to be taken into consideration. Actuators offer a solution for emergency shutdown situations, and provide remote control in environments that manual operation can be difficult or dangerous. “Actuators have the advantage of operating a valve quickly when responding to an electric signal sent from a remote location or automatically when detecting an abnormal pipeline condition. Whereas manual gearboxes will operate a valve slower, requiring direct human interaction at the valve, which can be impossible to access during an emergency situation.” said LEDEEN actuator product manager, Russ Robertson. Our LEDEEN line of pneumatic, hydraulic, direct gas, and gas-over-oil actuators have been proven in the field for all oil and gas applications to be reliable, safe methods for valve operation.

Accessories

As the global energy industry has grown, it has encountered unique and diverse challenges requiring specialized equipment. Devices that have the ability to lock an automated valve system from operation through mechanical means as well as devices that help compensate for environment changes (such as temperature compensators) can be critical to safe pipeline operation.

Valve accessories like the DYNATORQUE D-Stop partial-stroke test device, which allows for a valve to be partially stroked for testing purposes while in service, and DYNATORQUE D-Lock valve locking device that offers mechanical lock-out capabilities so that a valve cannot cycle, are some of these solutions. A wide variety of easily mounted add-on products are available to the valve user, including temperature compensators, ground position indicators, damper drives, declutch and manual overrides, and a plethora of other options. Many times these accessories can be retrofitted for existing installations.

Measurement Systems

Beyond controlling flow, detecting pipeline and process fluid conditions can help prevent major accidents or exposures to the environment from occurring. Metering technology, like ultrasonic meters, can help detect leakage in a pipeline before major failure occurs, saving time and money. The ultrasonic meter works to detect leaks by using ultrasonic sound waves that penetrate a process fluid and measure the amount of time it takes for the wave to return to a sensor. By monitoring variations in these measurements, flow computers are able to analyze potential leaks upstream in the pipeline, alerting maintenance crews to investigate further.