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Commercial-in-Confidence

Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2


Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Fi nal Report

AEA-HOIS(94)P2

AEA Technology
Petroleum Services

Safety Related Aspects of In-


service Inspection of Valves
M Wall and D H Saunderson

November 1994

COMMERCIAL - IN- CONFIDENCE


This document contains proprietary information.
The contents may be communicated by recipients,
as necessary to other employees of the AEA but
may not otherwise be disclosed without prior
permission which should be sought from Industrial
Technology Commercial Department, Harwell,
Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA

Review initiated and sponsored


by members of Harwell
Offshore Inspection R&D
Service (HOIS)

AEA Technology
Petroleum Services
521 Harwell, Didcot
Oxfordshire OX11 0RA

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 i


Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Fi nal Report

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 ii


Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Fi nal Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This review addresses the safety-related aspects of in-service inspection of valves


including current practice and potential developments. By inspection we mean the
application of non-destructive testing methods (NDT) as opposed to simple
diagnostic testing of function. Although valves are extensively inspected during
manufacture, very little inspection is currently applied in-service. In contrast to this,
process pipework is monitored and inspected for corrosion or erosion damage at
routine intervals and significant advances have been made particularly in
development of non-intrusive methods.
Current strategy for valve maintenance is for removal and refurbishment of valve
internals during planned workovers. The limited in-service inspection (ISI) carried
out for valves is usually restricted to ultrasonic wall thickness measurements of the
valve body. Maintenance may be supplemented by visual inspection, leak detection
systems and vibrational monitoring. Top-side valves are generally perceived by
operators to be reliable components, though there is a paucity of published data to
support this on a statistical basis. The need for a subsea isolation system is part of
the safety case. The poor perceived reputation for reliability of subsea safety valves
(SSIV's etc.) has historically limited their wider application. Unanticipated failure
of valves between workovers is not uncommon, although usually affecting operation
and function rather than integrity. Such failures are often associated with
unexpected conditions such as vibration, impact loading or variations in local
process conditions. The primary safety issues for valves are considered to be
leakage, failure of seals, external fire damage, excessive vibration and catastrophic
failure of valve-internals particularly in hydrocarbon lines preventing proper
operation.
Operators are unlikely to consider additional inspection of valves between
workovers unless the benefits are clear. Any decision is likely to be based on a
balance between economic and safety considerations or driven by regulatory
changes. Potential safety benefits and economic implications of improved
inspection have been assessed: the primary potential economic benefits being
reduced downtime, reduced maintenance and extended intervals between
workovers. Potential safety benefits include early identification of unexpected
problems, reduced risk, knowledge and flexibility to respond to current plant
conditions and status, feedback on effects of changes in production and process
conditions, and reduced disruption to plant operation and protection (by unnecessary
removal of cladding, fire protection etc.).
There is a paucity of published information on valve failures and reliability in
offshore plant certainly insufficient to allow statistical analysis. There would be
benefits in collating such information from different operators and HSE as was
undertaken by UKOOA in their datasheets on corrosion. In most cases failures
will not be reported outside the operating company unless there is a legal
requirement, the usual action being replacement and return of the failed valve to the
manufacture. It is understood UKOOA maintain a database on choke-valve
failures. Additional consideration should be given at the design stage to accessibility
of process plant for maintenance and inspection. Removal of fire-protection and

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 iii


Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Fi nal Report

cladding may be required for inspection or maintenance and may not be adequately
replaced, with safety implications.
Many process systems have several units running in parallel, so maintenance
shutdown and valve renewal is relatively straightforward. Areas where inspection
could have impact are: i) valves which have significant influence on production
such as main oil line valves, main separators and choke valves, ii) emergency
isolation valves including ESDV's and SSIV's if inspection can be demonstrated as
a feasible option, iii) where there is a single valve on line, iv) where it negates the
need to remove fire protection of cladding, v) assessment of valve status
(open/closed/blocked, partially closed etc.) , vi) measurement of actual flow and
process conditions allowing less conservative assessment of maintenance intervals,
vi) assessment of actual condition of seals and valve internals, viii) improved
monitoring of leaks and vibration.
Potential inspection technology that could be applied or developed for valves has
been reviewed, categorised into methods for assessing valve status, integrity and
operability. The particular applications considered in detail include:
1. Definition of actual valve status (open/closed/partial/leaking/blocked)
2. Measurement of flow and process conditions
3. Vibrational analysis
4. Condition of seals and valve internals
5. Leak detection
6. Inspection of valve body
7. Valve-blockage by hydrates, wax or scale
8. Firewater deluge systems
9. Crevice corrosion of flanges
10. ESDV's, SSIV's and other riser valves.
There are special issues for subsea plant including reliability of actuators and
control systems, enhanced corrosion, and increased prevalence of hydrogen
embrittlement. There is no history of reliability in subsea operation. Development
of inspection methods for monitoring condition of subsea valve installations could
increase confidence and, for example, encourage SSIV use.

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 iv


Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY I
1. INTRODUCTION 1
2. VALVE TYPES AND APPLICATION 2
3. HAZARDS AND SAFETY ISSUES 3
3.1. Regulatory Guidelines 3
3.2. Prioritisation of Hazards and Risks 3
3.3. Damage Mechanisms 4
3.4. Incidences of valve failures 6
3.5. Safety Issues 8
4. VALVE MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTION 10
4.1. Pre-Service Inspection 10
4.2. Current practice for In-Service inspection (ISI) of Valves 10
4.3. Methods for In-Service Inspection (ISI) and Monitoring (ISM) 12
4.4. Prioritisation of Inspection Requirements 14
5. POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS IN IN-SERVICE-INSPECTION(ISI)
FOR VALVES 15
5.1. Adequacy and Reliability of Current Methods 15
5.2. Potential Inspection Developments for topside Plant 16
5.3. Inspection Methods for ESDV's and SSIV's 19
5.4. Special Requirements of Subsea Plant 19
5.5. Physical factors affecting ISI 20
5.6. Organisational factors affecting inspection 21
6. CONCLUSIONS 22
7. REFERENCES 24

Annex 1 Vibration and noise in valves


Annex2 Example of manufacturing tests and NDT requirements in operator
valve procurement specification

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Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

1. INTRODUCTION

This is the second of three safety-related reviews undertaken since 1993 by the
Harwell Offshore Inspection R&D Service. The first review [Reference 1] dealt
with the broader aspects of inspection for internal corrosion in topside pipework
and vessels.
This review is more specific and addresses the safety-related aspects of in-service
inspection of valves, including current practice and potential developments. By
inspection we mean the application of non-destructive testing methods (NDT) as
opposed to simple diagnostic testing of function. Valves are extensively inspected
during manufacture, but at present very little inspection is applied in-service. This is
in contrast to process pipework where monitoring and inspection are routine and
significant advances have been made particularly in development of non-intrusive
methods. The strategy adopted by most operators for valves is for maintenance
and replacement of valve-internals during planned workovers. For valve systems
integrity is not the only safety issue; valve status and operability are also of concern
and are areas where non-intrusive inspection methods could offer benefit.
This study is concerned primarily with safety and not with the wider issue of
efficient plant operation. There are cases where malfunction of valves could effect
operation but present no significant safety hazard. These are outside the scope of
this study. There are many more where there are both operational and safety
consequences with the balance between these varying considerably. In this study
the significance is related to the extent to which inspection practices impinge on risk
to safety of personnel from a failure or malfunction.
From a safety standpoint emergency shutdown valves (ESDV) and sub-sea
isolation valves (SSIV's) are of prime importance. This is highlighted in the report
on Piper Alpha [Reference 2] and the strict guidelines and regulations now applying.
Inspection of subsea isolation valves is extremely difficult. For this reason this
review is focused on valves in topside plant. The special requirements of subsea
isolation valves and subsea installations are addressed as a separate issue.
Electronic control systems are not evaluated in this review, but should be noted as
an area where reliability of operation is a key and recognised concern with
implications to safety. For example, weaknesses in the valve control system were
identified as contributing to the EKOFISK North Sea blowout in 1980 [Reference
3
].
Section 2 of this report considers the main valve types and applications. Hazards
and safety issues are addressed in Section 3 including potential damage
mechanisms and factors affecting prioritisation of inspection requirements.
Inspection is introduced in Section 4 where current practice is reviewed. Potential
inspection developments are evaluated in Section 5. For valve systems it is difficult
to wholly separate economic and safety issues; benefits in both areas are needed if
operators are to move from current industry maintenance practice.

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 1


Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

2. VALVE TYPES AND APPLICATION

Within a typical topside plant there may be several thousand valves, ranging from
simple ball and gate valves to more complex choke-valve designs for multi-phase
environments. These may be manually or automatically actuated. The primary
applications of valves include control, isolation, shutdown, blowdown and safety
relief. As an example, the valve types used by BP in a recent topside production
plant are summarised in Table 1, classified by size and type. Globe and ball valves
are mainly used for shutdown and control, with extensive use of ball and gate
valves near the well-head. Choke valves are used for flow control and pressure
changes but may also be used for shut down within specified allowances on leak
rate. Butterfly valves are not yet extensively used offshore. Valve selection is
installation specific and will take account of pressure, flow conditions and internal
and external environments. Schematic diagrams of the main types of valve design
are shown in Figure 1. Valve designs are continually improving, particularly to meet
the more severe conditions of marginal and high pressure fields (e.g high CO2 , high
H2S, high pressure, high temperature or multi-phase environments). There have
been improvements in ball-valve design to remove features leading to erosion, for
example in the 'orbit' design where a cam separates and resets the ball and seat.
Choke-valve design has evolved significantly: external-cylinder/internal cage (VCI)
designs are now favoured by many operators because of improved resistance to
erosion and greater controllability. Newer butterfly valve designs offer weight
savings over ball valves combined with the ease of operation given by quarter-turn
designs. From a safety standpoint it is important to ensure that these advantages are
not at the expense of reduced sealing capacity. There are specialised designs of
valve under development such as vortex choke valves which do not rely on moving
parts.
Since Piper Alpha there has been considerable evolution in the design and
application of emergency isolation valves. The generic terms for these are
emergency shutdown valves (ESDV's) and sub-sea isolation valves (SSIV's). more
specific terms may be used to describe particular valve designs including: annular
safety valves (ASV's) , topside isolation valves (TSIV's) and surface-controlled
subsea safety valves (SCSSV's). The interest in this area is highlighted by over
350 published references in the Engineering Index since 1988, with a significant
number, then and earlier, focusing on reliability and risk assessment [References
45
, ]. For example, Shell have installed SSIV's extensively in the UK Sector for
lines with large hydrocarbon inventories and with the potential to jeopardise the
integrity of manned installations [Reference 6]. Duplicated oil and gas isolation
valves have been fitted in Piper Bravo in response to legislative changes
[Reference7] and subsea emergency shutdown valves were fitted on the Texaco
Tartan Platform oil and gas export pipelines in 1989 [Reference 8].
The usual classification for valves is in terms of valve type. Potentially more useful
classifications from an operational standpoint are in terms of production system,
application or process conditions (e.g. high pressure/low pressure,
oil/gas/multiphase, sour/sweet). Alternative classifications of valve types on this
basis are given in Table 2.

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Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

3. HAZARDS AND SAFETY ISSUES

3.1. REGULATORY GUIDELINES


The HSE Offshore Installations Guidance [Reference 9] contain no specific
regulations concerning valves. However, various HSE guidelines, Statutory
Instruments and Safety Notices have implications to valve safety; for example
Safety Notice PED/5 on risk assessment. There are legislative regulations covering
re-certification of Xmas Trees. Under new regulations following the Cullen report
any hydrocarbon leak exceeding agreed limits has to be reported to HSE. There
are guidelines on acceptable leak rates which are fed into the emergency shutdown
regulations. Some operators have argued for higher acceptable leak rates to avoid
unnecessarily up-rating valves. HSE at Bootle maintains a database on hydrocarbon
leaks which is being used to evaluate the scope of the problem. A full listing of
HSE safety notices is available to operators from HSE on CD ROM. Paper copies
are also available.
The Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Container Regulations (SI 1989 No.
2169) [Reference 10 ] now apply to both onshore and offshore installations. These
apply to single phase gas systems and not to multi-phase lines or vessels and cover
loss of integrity such as deterioration of the body and metallic parts. Leakage is
also covered. The main requirement is that an inspection plan is in place, sufficient
to satisfy the HSE. The PSR regulations contain no guidelines on frequency or level
of inspection. NCSIIB certification covers these inspection requirements.
Emergency Shut-down Valves (ESD) are covered by Statutory Instrument SI 1029.
Design and selection of valves is covered by various API specifications. API
Standard 6A Rev 16 (1989) covers design of valves, flanges and blowout
preventors, whereas API RD14E on practice for piping systems covers selection of
valves. API specifications on high pressure equipment are also relevant. Most
operators have their own specifications requiring rigorous testing and inspection at
the procurement stage.

3.2. PRIORITISATION OF HAZARDS AND RISKS


Many of the factors affecting risk for valves (contents, pressure, temperature,
hazards to personnel, consequences) relate to the topside system in which they are
installed. There are some special issues for valves. Valves represent a perturbation
in the flow line and as such can be prone to specific problems such as enhanced
corrosion or erosion, vibrational damage, leakage and crevice corrosion. A detailed
assessment of potential damage mechanisms is given in Section 3.3 below.
All safety cases are necessarily plant specific. Emergency Shut Down valves
(ESD, SSIV, ASV), hydrocarbon and gas-lines, separators, chokes, high pressure
lines, high temperature lines and some control valves are likely to be classified as
high risk. In contrast to top-side, pipework the risk-assessment for valves must
take account of loss of function or failure to operate as well as loss of integrity. For
this reason main-line valves controlling flow from more than one well, single -valve
isolations, regions of pressure differential, safety relief systems and valves in safety
systems may also be prioritised as higher risk. Detailed risk assessments of valves

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Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

have been carried out by HSE and AEA Technology's Safety and Reliability
Directorate (SRD) in relation to Safety Case work. Several companies have in-
house risk assessment methods for assessing the case for installing SSIV's and
modelling their reliability.
An important reason for current inspection of valves, as opposed to maintenance, is
as part of the corrosion management strategy. Traditionally this selection for
inspection has been based on anticipated corrosion rate. Current and evolving
practice is to target inspection based on a broader perception of risk taking also into
account consequences and potential hazards.

3.3. DAMAGE MECHANISMS

Valves in topside process plant can encounter severe conditions during operation.
The local stresses and environment will fluctuate and alter during the lifetime of the
plant away from those anticipated in design. The exact process conditions are not
always known. Changes in conditions downhole or elsewhere in the process plant
can have knock-on effects on local plant conditions. Sand-erosion and souring are
increasing problems in production fluids from many older wells in the North Sea.

Careful selection of materials and appropriate valve design is needed to minimise


problems in service. The main damage mechanisms affecting valves in offshore
process plant are summarised below and in Table 3. This table also summarises
some of the key safety issues discussed later in Section 3.5. The damage
mechanisms may be separated into those affecting valve integrity and/or those
affecting function or operation. The extent to which each of the listed problems is
important in a given situation depends on the fluid, the nature of the flow, the
operating conditions and the details of the valve. It should be noted that flow
features and contents may be significantly different during start-up operations than
during normal steady operation.

1. Poor operability from blockage of pressure balancing ports: Pressure


balancing ports are required on high pressure valves to ensure that the two
sides of the internals (upstream side and downstream side) are exposed to
similar pressures. Stiff operation and excessive wear of internals can result
from these ports becoming blocked (for example by sand, hydrates or wax).

2. Stem seal degradation: Pressure balancing leads to the whole valve


experiencing the pressure of the upstream flow line. Hence, the seals
surrounding the stem which connects the internals to the actuator, must contain
the difference in pressure between the valve and the atmosphere outside.
Seals can fail by extruding or hardening and cracking.

3. Noise and acoustic fatigue: This is of particular relevance to valves


encountering two-phase flows and to valves which are operated for extended
periods in a partially open state. The most sensitive components are
unsupported stems or needles and components made from or coated with hard,
brittle materials.

4. Vibration: Vibration leads to repeated cyclic stress loading of components


which may result in crack development and propagation, creep and ultimately in
AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 4
Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

failure. Vibration is caused by flow instability and leads to severe problems if


this excites the natural resonant frequency of the valve and surrounding
pipework.

5. Erosion by droplets or solids: Fluid moving at high speed causes metal


surfaces to be eroded away. The presence of sand or droplets makes things
much worse because of their greatly increased momentum compared with pure
gas phase. Regions containing seals or where seals bear against metal
surfaces are particularly sensitive to erosion.

6. Cavitation erosion: Cavitation erosion occurs when liquid phase enters the
choke, suffers a severe pressure drop which leads to local boiling, followed by
pressure recovery as the outlet is approached which results in the collapse of
locally formed gas bubbles. Their collapse has a profound eroding action which
may also set up severe vibration. The flow appears to be single phase liquid at
both inlet and outlet making this situation relatively difficult to diagnose.

7. Erosion of downstream pipework: This is similar to 5 above but the damage


is transferred downstream to spools and pipework. The flow downstream of a
valve is that of a highly turbulent jet which forms a conic profile with distance
away from the valve. The point downstream of the valve at which the nominal
edges of the jet impinge upon the wall of the pipe is often found to erode much
more rapidly than other parts of the pipework. The distance downstream of the
valve is a function of the valve setting and will therefore move relatively little if
the valve is operated in the same position for long periods of time.

8. Corrosion: Corrosion of the metal by means of chemical and/or


electrochemical reaction. Particularly a problem if bimetallic couples are
present and the fluid is an electrolyte (i.e. contains water and ions such as H+
or Cl-).

9. Corrosion-erosion: synergistic mechanism in which corrosion is enhanced by


erosion. Erosion increases loss of material and can remove protective films or
corrosion products rendering material susceptible to continued corrosive attack.

10. Hydrogen embrittlement: Metals are porous to hydrogen migration such


that damage is not restricted to the surface of parts whic h are exposed to the
flow. Hydrogen embrittlement may reduce toughness and ductility, produce
hydrogen damage such as micro-cracking or blistering (HIC, SOHIC) in the
material or lead to hydrogen assisted cracking (HAC).

11. Stress corrosion cracking (SCC): A form of corrosion by the presence of


sulphide or chloride ions which leads to crack initiation and growth in the metal.
Formation and crack propagation is greatly accelerated by an applied stress
(e.g. pressure). Related mechanisms such as sulphide stress cracking (SSCC)
and hydrogen assisted cracking (HAC) are also included here.

12. Build up of scale: This leads to poor repeat setting, stiff operation of the
actuator, blocking of pressure balancing ports and failure of the valve internals
to seat correctly when the valve is closed.

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Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

13. Clogging of Ports: Valves often have a number of ports through which fluid
flows from the inlet to the outlet under normal conditions. If the incoming fluid
contains a material capable of forming a blockage (e.g. wet sand, hydrates,
waxes) then a port may become blocked and the distribution between the
remaining ports will be changed. This leads to increased erosion of the
remaining ports.

14. Projectile damage: Materials which are extremely resistant to erosion are
generally more susceptible to brittle failure due to impact by objects (e.g.
pebbles, nut and bolts) or impact of the part itself against a hard surface (e.g.
seat). For example, ceramic (WC-Co cermet) components have been used in
choke valves to enhance erosion resistance. Whilst generally these materials
perform well, isolated cases of catastrophic failure of such components by
projectile damage have been reported by several operators.

15. Water-hammer: Sudden closure of a valve in pipework can lead to formation


of a wave of compression or rarefaction (shear) carried in the fluid. The
pressure rise in such a wave can be very large producing considerable dynamic
loading known as water-hammer. This can raise stresses above design limits
producing pipe failure or loss of valve integrity.

16. External fire damage: many valves contain polymeric seals. External fires
can damage such seals causing leakage. This is of particular concern from a
safety standpoint in hydrocarbon lines.

Figure 2 illustrates potential sites for some of these types of damage in the case of
an internal cylinder/external cage choke valve design. Photographic examples to
illustrate erosion and corrosion damage mechanisms are shown in Figures 3 to 7.
The first two figures are taken from the UKOOA datasheets on corrosion which
includes 3 examples of damage to valves amongst the 45 samples examined
[Reference 11]. Not all the damage mechanisms are illustrated due to the paucity
of such information available. As with other plant failures such information is often
treated as confidential by operators and safety authorities or by the manufacturers
because of commercial requirements or potential liability. Many of the damage
mechanisms discussed in the first Safety Review [Reference 1] on topside
corrosion are also relevant here. A more detailed appraisal of mechanisms and
morphology of corrosion, hydrogen embrittlement and stress-corrosion cracking
(SCC) may be found there.
It is well recognised that pressure and temperature differentials and flow patterns
can cause problems such as erosion-corrosion or hydrate formation downstream of
valves particularly choke-valves and in multi-phase systems. Galvanic corrosion,
crevice corrosion and bolt failure are common problems for flanged joints. Welded
and threaded joints can also be preferential sites for degradation.

3.4. INCIDENCES OF VALVE FAILURES


The scarcity of published information on failures in industrial plant was noted above
and in the first safety-related review on internal corrosion [Reference 1]. This
paucity of relevant data for reliability assessment also applies to offshore structures
and is true of valves. It is understood that the Offshore Supplies Office (OSO)

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Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

maintains a database specifically on choke-valve failures. In the context of valves,


a number of potential categories of failure can be considered:
Loss of Integrity: catastrophic or progressive failure of valve body, seals
or externals leading to leakage or pressure release. Affects the integrity
of the valve and may have safety implications.
Loss of Function (operational failure): Failure, clogging or damage to
valve internals not affecting the integrity of the valve but requiring a stop in
production and replacement of parts. This has economic implications and
may have safety implications if it affects the only valve on the line or the
failure is sudden.
Component Wear: Wear or damage to internal parts due to erosion,
corrosion, vibrational damage or other causes is of economic concern as
this will dictate the length of production operation between service intervals
for the valve.
Where failure involves loss of integrity it is likely to come within the remit where it
has to be reported to the safety authorities. Reporting to HSE is a specific
requirement for valve leakage exceeding permitted levels. Where the failure has
no perceived safety implication it is unlikely to be reported outside the company and
may not be investigated in detail if it more economically acceptable to replace the
valve or component. In many cases the valve will be returned to the valve supplier
for repair or replacement and the manufacturer has no incentive to report the
failures more widely.
A survey of engineering and metals databases between 1969 and 1992 showed 169
references relating to cracking or failure of valves in the oil, gas and chemical
industries. A high proportion of these reports concerned petrochemical or chemical
plant. There were 36 references related to choke valves indicating their reliability
to be a particular area of concern. Also significant were problems with electronic
control systems, particularly in relation to subsea valves. A number of references
related specifically to modelling and considerations of valve material or design and
not to failures as such. The problems reported included galvanic corrosion, erosion,
erosion-corrosion, cavitation, sour-gas cracking in high H2 S fields in the Middle East
[Reference 12], excessive vibration, stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of valve
bodies, fatigue of adjacent pipework, and erosion-corrosion and hydrate formation
downstream of choke-valves. For example Reference 13 describes severe
erosion-corrosion problems in a hot-rolled weldable 0.2% C steel flowline
downstream of a choke valve in a high production oil well in Libya. This was
attributed to sudden pressure drop, high flow rate, high water cut and high gas to oil
ratio. The mechanical failures leading to the EKOFISK North Sea blowout in
1980, discussed in Reference 3, included weaknesses in the valve control system.
With improvements in the reliability of conventional ball-valves, the operational
focus has shifted in recent years to choke valves which often have to sustain more
severe conditions of flow and pressure. Significant improvements in reliability have
been sustained by the introduction of external-cylinder/internal cage (VCI) designs,
such as that illustrated in Figure 2, in place of earlier needle and disc designs.
Operational problems are still encountered with chokes. In 1992 an informal survey
of operators was carried out by AEA on choke-valve operation and failures.
Anecdotal information compiled from this survey is summarised in Table 4. As

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Commercial-in-Confidence
Safety Related Aspects of In-Service Ref: HOISP(94)2
Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

would be expected, erosion and vibration feature strongly. Many problems related
to the older needle and disc designs. Impact damage to or loss of valve internals
was reported by several operators reflecting the difficult balance in achieving good
erosion resistance without affecting toughness. The cermet materials used now in
valves to give high erosion resistance have low impact toughness and can be
susceptible to brittle fracture under impact loading, for example from foreign bodies
in the flow stream.

3.5. SAFETY ISSUES


Some of the key safety issues for offshore valves are summarised in Table 3. A
primary concern is failure of seals and valve leakage particularly in hydrocarbon
lines. For example, a US survey in 1976 [Reference 14 ] of refinery plant showed
9% of valves and 25% of valves installed in gas-lines leaked hydrocarbons. This
was only a marginal improvement on 20 years earlier. Hydrocarbon leakage in
offshore plant above agreed limits has to be reported to HSE. External fires are of
particular concern for valves in high pressure and hydrocarbon lines because the
high temperatures could cause seal failure leading to leakage and explosion risk.
Many critical valves, particularly near the Xmas trees, will have passive fire
protection fitted. A high proportion of valves also serve the function of pressure
containment and any mechanism leading to loss of valve integrity or leakage may
have safety implications.
The effects of vibration on valves are covered in depth in Annex 1. Vibration can
cause damage by a number of mechanisms including resonance induced large
deflections, fatigue, fretting wear, extreme loading (e.g. water hammer), plastic
deformation causing improper operation (e.g. bolt stretching on flanges causing
flange opening or loss of alignment of valve internals). Vibration can also combine
in synergy with other effects such as cavitation to give enhanced damage rates.
Water Hammer, described in Section 3, is of particular concern. The high stresses
associated with water-hammer have the potential to exceed design limits leading to
pipe failure or loss of valve integrity. For this reason most valves, notably ESDV's
and SSIV's have gradual closure.
High pressure process plant is more complex to install and maintain and requires
more costly specification. There is a strong incentive to reduce pressure quickly
and operate as much of plant as possible at low pressures. Nevertheless there will
be pressure barriers between high and low pressure parts of the system. In order
to provide protection and allow lower pressure operation there has been a move in
recent years to install High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS). The
integrity of any parts of the HIPPS system is of concern as failure could damage
lower pressure plant. Failure of the high pressure/low pressure interface in the
separator plant was a prime cause of the explosion at the BP Grangemouth oil
refinery on 22 March 1987, References [15] and [16], giving a reported loss of 78.5
million dollars. Because of the potential hazards to personnel from release of sour-
gas, operators of plant containing sour environments may choose to rely on the
HIPPS system in place of blow-out.
Operating conditions of the process plant and other topside systems will vary during
the lifetime of the plant and may differ to the design specification. The exact
process conditions may not be accurately known. This may have safety
implications if it leads to damage over and above that allowed for between

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maintenance intervals. Loss of function is an issue for safety systems such as the
firewater mains. The latter can only infrequently be tested because of the risk of
corrosion to nearby plant. Where the valve status (closed/open/partially open)
differs to that anticipated there is the possibility of damage or leakage to adjoining
systems.

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4. VALVE MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTION

4.1. PRE-SERVICE INSPECTION


Valve components will usually be subject to inspection following manufacture in
accordance with British Standard (BS) or ASME inspection procedures. There is
little published information on the specific procedures adopted. A review of pre-
service inspection of different valve types is given by Chauvin in Reference 17.
This includes visual inspection, magnetic particle inspection (MPI), radiography,
dye-penetrant methods and ultrasonic inspection.
Most operators specify detailed proof testing of fully assembled valves at the
procurement stage, for example based on procedures such as those in the
Engineering and Electrical Manufacturers Association (EEMUA) publication 170.
This typically could include:
• Anti-static test (electrical continuity)
• Hydrostatic back-seat test
• Hydrostatic shell test (body integrity)
• Hydrostatic disc strength test
• Body cavity relief test
• High pressure hydrostatic seat test (seat leakage)
• Operating torque/force test
• High pressure air shell test
• Air seat test
dependant on the valve type and design specifications. The duration of hydrostatic
tests in air or water is defined and strict limits are set on leakage or visible
deformation. Torque testing and testing of actuators is usually specified at
maximum rated operating pressure. Typical test durations during hydrostatic
testing and permissible leakage rates specified by one major North Sea operator are
shown in Table 5. A typic al operator specification for proof-testing of valves (pre-
service testing of integrity and pressure containment) is reproduced in Annex 2.

4.2. CURRENT PRACTICE FOR IN-SERVICE INSPECTION (ISI) OF


VALVES
An informal survey was carried out mainly amongst members of the Harwell
Offshore Inspection R&D Service of the current practice for top-side in-service
inspection of valves. Questions were asked about the types of valves used,
procedures in use and the frequency of inspections. The information gained is
summarised below and in Table 6.
Operator A carried out planned maintenance of critical production valves
(i.e. those carrying oil and gas) on a scheduled basis. ESD valves were
tested in accordance with regulatory guidelines.

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Operator B operated the blow-down valves on a 6-monthly basis. Riser


ESD valves were tested every 3-months and pressure tested each year.
Operability and leak testing of riser valves is covered by Statutory
Instrument 1029. Selected control valves were inspected as part of a
planned maintenance system including visual inspection every six months
and calibrated each year.
Operator C carried out valve maintenance by replacement during
workovers. Cast valve bodies were generally considered over designed
and not subject to deterioration, however, some valves were inspected
visually. Corrosion, fatigue and leaking-through were not seen as problems.
Seat wear and abrasion could be a problem.
Operator D tested ESD valves visually and for function on a 4-monthly
basis and pressure tested ESDV's yearly.
Operator E routinely tested for erosion downstream of chokes. Ultrasonic
wall thickness measurements were made of chokes yearly and compared
with warehouse values on spare chokes for wall loss against corrosion
allowables (defined in terms of minimum allowable wall thickness MAWT).
Operator F shutdown the main separators and critical areas of plant yearly
for maintenance. They had experienced problems in the mid 1980's with
erosion downstream of choke-valves on sand-producing wells and
inspected wall-thickness ultrasonically in these areas weekly. The erosion
problem was solved by change from a disc choke to an internal
cylinder/external cage design. Galling of valve components and fatigue
due to vibration were quoted as problems together with leakage and
degradation of seals by aromatics. These problems were controlled by
design changes and refurbishment of seals with new materials such as
Viton A.
One operator also gave details of their procedures applied for in-service inspection
of onshore gas plant to meet the requirements of the Pressurised Systems and
Transportable Gas Container Regulations (PSR). Much of this plant was in excess
of 20 years old and typically would be visually inspected every 3 years with detailed
NDT of valves operating above 7-bar every 15 years. It is common for crack-like
defects to be found in such plant on NDT inspection but in most instances such
defects were not found to be significant to operating conditions. A current
reassessment of plant in the context of the above regulations includes re-definition
of inspection plan, visual inspection and operations check in-line, a 7-point review
procedure on plant usage, limited NDT on-line and detailed NDT of valves taken
out of service. There are significant differences in valve application between
onshore and offshore gas plant. Most valves onshore are operated well below the
design specification (e.g. 25 bar rated valve used at 3 bar) and there is lower
potential hazard to personnel. Offshore process conditions are often more severe (
multi-phase, high-pressure, corrosive, erosive). Valves offshore are usually
operated much closer to their design specification, particularly given the economic
pressures to uprate plant, increasing exploitation of marginal and difficult fields (e.g.
high-pressure, high temperature) and variability in process conditions over the
lifetime of plant.
It is clear that very little in-service inspection is currently used other than wall
thickness measurements of valves considered potentially susceptible to corrosion or
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erosion damage. Valves are generally perceived by operators as components of


high reliability. Most maintenance is carried out during planned workovers.
Unexpected vibration and leakage are recognised problems. These are addressed
by vibrational monitoring and leak-detection systems and/or visual inspection
although no mention of this was made by sponsors. Subsea systems are usually
inspected visually by ROV; access can be difficult for more detailed inspection.
Reliability of valve actuator systems subsea is a recognised problem.
To supplement this information directly from operators, surveys of published
information were made in the European Space Agency (ESA) Energy and
Engineering Index and in the National NDT Database at Harwell. Of 400
references on offshore valves in the ESA database only 20 mentioned inspection:
Most of these related to topside and subsea shutdown valves (ESDV, SSIV),
subsea marking or pipelines. Only 4 references referred specifically to topside plant:
which included a paper on evaluation of clad Xmas tree equipment and gate
valves in sour-gas environments [Reference 18] and a paper on camera monitoring
of fires in refineries and following valve or pump failures [Reference 19]. The
National NDT Database had 53 references on valves, 6 related to in-service
inspection. 5 of these were on acoustic leak detection and ultrasonic surveillance of
valves for leaks, one covered acoustic and magnetic monitoring of valves to check
valve disc motion and internal impacts or vibration. There was an additional
reference on tomography. It is clear from these surveys that inspection of valves is
not a widely considered topic Any inspection that is carried out for valves is in
general not reported.

4.3. METHODS FOR IN-SERVICE INSPECTION (ISI) AND


MONITORING (ISM)
The methods currently applied for in-service inspection and monitoring for valves do
not differ markedly to those used for other topside plant and vessels. These are
reviewed in that context here before considering potential developments that
address specific requirements of valves.
Visual inspection: For internal damage, visual inspection is restricted to
maintenance shut-downs when access inside plant is possible. Remote Visual
Inspection (RVI) techniques using endoscope and optical fibre technology are
applied to inspect internal condition in valves opened up for maintenance.
Otherwise, in-service visual inspection is carried out to look for signs of leaks,
excessive vibration etc.
Diagnostic Tests: After change out of internal components during workovers
diagnostic tests may be made on valves to ensure that they are properly assembled,
sealed and seated, and operation is satisfactory. Error in reassembly of valves is a
possible cause of leakage and has safety implications. Such diagnostic testing is
important but does not lie within the remit of the present review, which seeks to
address application of NDT methods.
Vibrational Measurement: Unanticipated vibration is usually apparent from
visual observation or acoustic noise. Accelerometers are routinely used on topside
plant to monitor vibration as part of condition monitoring.
Leak detection: A number of acoustic devices are available for monitoring for
leaks. Sniffer devices are also applicable to hydrocarbon lines. Limits are set on

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allowable leak rates and leakage above certain levels needs to be reported to HSE.
Some operators have agreed limits on acceptable leak rates with HSE above these
originally recommended rates. Such deviations from normal practice need to be
justified as part of the safety case for the installation.
Ultrasonics: Together with radiography, ultrasonic inspection is the major NDT
technology in use for detecting and measuring internal metal loss and cracking on
topside plant including valves. Routine manual measurements of wall thickness are
made using, typically, 5MHz piezo-electric contact compression-wave probes with
either an A-scan display UT set or a digital read-out instrument. Increasing use is
reported of scanning frames to produce thickness contour maps of areas of the
order of 1/10th of a square metre or more automatically. An advantage of scanning
frame mapping is that attempts to monitor the progress of corrosive metal loss by
comparison of measurements at successive inspections do not rely on precise
location of the probe at the same points each time. Alternatively UT probes can be
left in place for periodic interrogation. For example, 'FLEXIMAT' is being
developed as a means of leaving an array of relatively inexpensive transducers
permanently bonded to susceptible components and such monitoring methods may
be very well suited to valves. The pulse-echo shear-wave method is used to
inspect susceptible regions for cracking. Recently, the ultrasonic time-of-flight
diffraction (TOFD) method has been applied to surveys of weldments for cracking
and for weld root erosion/corrosion. Such methods have application for valve
bodies. All these methods require direct access to the valve external surface to
couple the probes to the metal. This presents a problem where the valve is clad in
thermal lagging or fire protection.
Radiography: Radiography has a well-established position for examination of
metal components for both metal-loss and cracking and is routinely used for
manufacturing inspection of valve bodies. Radiography has the considerable
advantage that it can operate through thermal lagging and other types of coating
without requiring their removal. However, there are operational drawbacks in that
other IRM activities may be disrupted by the need to restrict operations because of
the radiological hazard. Low energies can be used to profile the outer surface for
detection of under-insulation corrosion. The thickness of metal to be penetrated
for examination of the inner surface or internals requires much higher energy
sources. Application of radiography in the field for examination of valve internals is
not straightforward. The use of radiography on topside plant is increasing as
improvements in equipment, particular in sensitivity of detectors, reduces doses and
the needs for radiological protection.
Tangential radiography is capable of giving good radiographs of the profile of the
inner surface to check for evidence of pitting, erosion and "localised" uniform
corrosion. The performance of radiography with respect to crack detection and
sizing is variable. It depends on accessible orientations of the source and film
(detector) lining up with the direction of planar defects such as cracks.
Eddy Current: Traditional eddy current testing faces two problems in relation to
ISI for internal corrosion or erosion damage to valves. The first is that cracks
induced by internal damage will open on the remote surface and the second is that
most valve bodies are of ferritic steel so that depths of penetration of eddy currents
in the 100 kHz range are measured in microns rather than millimetres required for
wall-thickness measurements. For wall thickness monitoring and detection of

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larger area internal corrosion and erosion, low frequency (DPEC) and long transient
eddy-current techniques (TEMP) are being developed. These can have the great
advantage of allowing significant stand-off from the component-wall so that they
can operate though lagging. The transient method appears to be more sensitive to
internal damage, but does not discriminate between internal and external metal loss.
Both these methods face problems dealing with anything other than cylindrical
geometries and would be difficult to apply to valves.
Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL): Magnetic flux leakage methods such as MPI
have limited potential for valves because most of the potential damage is internal.
Larger scale MFL methods are the basis of a number of pipeline inspection pigs,
but with the possible exception of SSIV's, valve internals preclude the possibility of
using internal inspection vehicles.
Thin-layer activation (TLA): Thin layer activation is a quantitatively accurate
means of measuring loss of metal during corrosion and/or erosion processes.
However, it requires the activation of the surface in question by means of
irradiation which cannot, in general, be carried out in-situ. Its main use is therefore
for specialised studies rather than as a general monitoring tool with typically a
square cm of surface being irradiated. In TLA the corrosion rate is measured
quantitatively by measuring changes in radiation levels with time. Application of
TLA to monitor valve erosion has been proposed for high pressure marginal fields.

4.4. PRIORITISATION OF INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS


Prioritisation of regions for corrosion monitoring and wall-thickness measurements
has conventionally been made on the basis of anticipated corrosion or erosion rates.
Valve bodies will have defined corrosion allowables based on design considerations.
It is current practice to use a broader perception of risk taking account of
consequences, contents and potential hazards to personnel and plant. A
complimentary approach is Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) where
inspection is targeted at areas of lowest historical reliability or where improvements
would have the maximum impact on overall plant reliability.
Service intervals for maintenance of valves and replacement of internals will
depend on a number of considerations including past service history, knowledge of
current process conditions and overall maintenance schedules for different regions
of process plant. Where valve degradation is a significant rate-affecting-step there
may be economic advantages in extending maintenance intervals.

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5. POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS IN IN-SERVICE-


INSPECTION(ISI) FOR VALVES

5.1. ADEQUACY AND RELIABILITY OF CURRENT METHODS


Current strategy for valves is for removal and refurbishment of valve internals
during planned workovers. There is limited inspection and maintenance may be
supplemented by visual inspection, leak detection systems and vibrational
monitoring. Topside valves are generally perceived by operators to be reliable
components, though there is a paucity of published data to support this on a
statistical basis.. Subsea safety valves (SSIV's etc.) have a poor perceived
reputation for reliability and this is a factor limiting their wider application.
Unanticipated failure of valves between workovers is not uncommon, usually
affecting operation and function rather than integrity. Such failures are often
associated with unexpected conditions such as vibration, impact loading or
variations in local process conditions. In most cases such failures will not be
reported outside the operating company, the usual action being replacement and
return of the valve to the manufacture.
The safety benefits and economic implications of improved inspection are
summarised in Table 7. The main safety benefits are knowledge of actual valve
status and condition, reduced risk, and more limited disruption to protection
(cladding, fire protection etc.) or plant operation. The primary potential economic
benefits are reduced downtime, reduced maintenance and extended intervals
between workovers. Maintenance costs are not insubstantial, for example £1.7M
annually is reported as being spent in 3 Ninian Field platforms on maintenance of
Xmas trees [Reference 20].
In the context of valve inspection it is difficult to consider safety and economics in
isolation. Indeed this balance is reflected in HSE guidelines on risk assessment
through the ALARP principle ('As Low as Reasonably Practicable'). Many
process systems have several units running in parallel, so maintenance shutdown
and valve renewal is relatively straightforward. Operators are unlikely to consider
modifications to current practice for inspection of valves unless the benefits are
clear (for example in increased safety, improved production, reduced cost) or they
are driven by regulatory changes. On-line monitoring methods are potentially very
attractive, particularly where they provide information on actual valve status,
condition and plant process conditions. With these constraints in mind we would
see the areas where improved inspection technology is most likely to have impact
from a safety standpoint as:
i. Valves which have significant impact on production such as main oil lines
and main separators. Choke valves would be perceived here as lower
priority economically as they only control flow from individual wells. As
choke valves operate at very high pressure on-line inspection is potentially
difficult.
ii. Emergency shutdown valves (ESDV's, SSIV's) if a viable inspection
method was available.

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iii. Where there is a single valve on line and failure could have safety
implications and impact on production costs. It is conventional now to use
double block and bleed arrangements on flow lines.
iv. Where maintenance currently involves removal of fire protection or
protective cladding.
v. Assessment of actual valve status (open/closed/blocked, partially closed
etc.). Valve status is difficult to determine, particularly in subsea valves
because of the unreliability of the position indicator system, and could have
implications to safety.
vi. Assessment of actual flow and process conditions allowing better control
and less conservative assessment of maintenance intervals. This has both
safety and economic benefits.
vii. Assessment of condition of seals and valve internals. This would minimise
the chance of unexpected failure and may allow extended intervals
between workovers.
viii. Improved monitoring of leaks and vibration.
Inspection methods with the potential to meet these needs or improve current
maintenance strategy for valves are discussed in Sections 5.2 to 5.4

5.2. POTENTIAL INSPECTION DEVELOPMENTS FOR TOPSIDE


PLANT
Inspection and condition monitoring are usually considered in the context of
ensuring plant integrity. For valves, status and operability are of equal importance.
Potential inspection needs classified in these three areas are summarised in Table 8.
Inspection developments likely to have the most immediate impact are discussed
below:

Inspection of valve status (open/closed/partial)


Valves are frequently fitted with position indicator systems. If these are considered
to give a reliable indication of actual valve status then use of more complex NDT
methods is unlikely to be justified. Radiography could be used but is likely to be
costly and not easily applied. This would make it only suitable for critical
applications such as main line and choke valves or emergency shutdown valves
where loss of function was suspected: this can be very important when valves are
used to isolate sections for downstream maintenance. Acoustic monitoring and
thermography both have potential in this area. An acoustic monitor could be used
to assess valve status on the basis of the acoustic signature, either with the sensor
held near or permanently bonded. The noise signatures may be quite complex and
show variability. Neural network techniques may have application here giving a
'learning capability' for recognising signatures associated with different or unusual
valve operating conditions. There may be temperature differences if the valve
was partially or fully open. This could be sensed directly using thermography or
remotely using a simple temperature monitor. Ultrasonic flow-meter and erosion
monitor technology also has potential application here. Existing instrumentation on
plant (e.g pressure or vibration monitors, flowmeters) may already give the potential
to diagnose unusual valve conditions.

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Flow and process conditions


New ultrasonic flow-meter technology under development for downhole use has
potential application here giving information on the phases present and flow rate.
This technology is primarily designed for tubulars and application to more complex
valve geometries may be difficult. However, monitoring of changes in flow
conditions either side of a valve may be sufficient to identify valve problems.
Neutron techniques could be used in dual-phase oil-gas and multi-phase mixtures.
Thermography could give temperature profiles within the valve. Analysis of debris
may give guidance on erosion rates.

Vibrational analysis
This is currently a major area of condition assessment. Vibrational monitors are
extensively used in topside plant and the technology is continually being developed
in DTI and other joint industry programmes. Acoustic monitoring and neural-
network techniques for pattern-recognition have application here.

Condition of seals
Neutron radiography has been used to inspect seals in valves, but is expensive. The
steel body is relatively transparent to neutrons. The elastomeric materials used in
seals are generally opaque to neutrons and easily discriminated. Conventional
gamma and X-ray radiography would have insufficient discrimination but inspection
would be possible using a high-energy Betatron or portable neutron source. Further
development is required of portable neutron sources before they could be
considered a practical proposition for on-line use on offshore process plant. A less
expensive solution would be to monitor pressure changes on valve-closure using a
series of pressure monitors around the seal and listening to the acoustic signature of
the flow. Neural-network techniques could be used to characterise and recognise
flow-signatures associated with particular seal conditions. Other potentia l solutions
include use of fluorescent dye inside the seal to reveal leaks or detection using a
hydrocarbon detector.

Condition of valve internals


The ability to assess condition of valve internals may be of particular value for
choke valves which are susceptible to erosion and impact damage. Currently this
is possible only on shutdown using remote visual inspection (endoscope) technology
and requires opening of the valve. Modern designs of choke valve allow easy
replacement of wearing components or may have replacement modules: under
these conditions only in-service non-invasive inspection methods are likely to be
needed. Ultrasonics is possible if the valve is fluid filled using multiple reflections
but may be complex to analyse. Thin Layer Activation (TLA) which requires
irradiation of the internal surface has been proposed to provide permanent
monitoring of corrosion/erosion but the cost and complexity mean it is only likely to
be worth using for complex, high pressure or marginal fields. More innovative
solutions would be application of Smart Technology using a sealed fibre-optic to
monitor pressure, temperature and give visual imaging. Wear of valve seats and
seals is an important concern in deciding maintenance intervals.

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Leak detection
Leak detection methods are already widely used to detect any external leakage of
hydrocarbons and other production fluids. This has been referred to above with
respect to condition of seals.

Inspection of Valve Body


Ultrasonic wall thickness measurements are currently used where corrosion or
erosion are anticipated, although there is usually sufficient design margin for these
mechanisms not to be a major concern. Inspection needs to be considered at the
design stage as restricted access and unfavourable shapes can make inspection
difficult. Radiography is used at the time of manufacture and could be used in
service. For small valves conventional sources may be sufficient. Larger valves
may require higher energy Betatron or Co60 sources. There are safety aspects to
using radiography on the platform and shielding is required. Cheap permanently
bonded ultrasonic probes such as in the FLEXIMAT system, developed by AEA
supported by BP, may offer an effective on-line solution for valve body condition
assessment.
Apparently simpler solutions would be purpose built wall-thickness gauges or
monitors, or use of a hammer or tapometer. The latter technology is not new and
its lack of current use suggests that practical implementation and interpretation of
data from such methods is not straightforward. For subsea applications hydrogen is
a genuine concern. Ultrasonics (pulse-echo, TOFD) or eddy-current technology
(e.g.. LIZARD) for external cracks may be necessary for crack detection if the
valve body material is found not to be HIC resistant.

Valve-blockage by hydrates
Radiography, ultrasonics, flow measurement or temperature measurement by
thermography all have application here. As the problem is unlikely to be restricted
just to the valve, potential problems may be identifiable by inspection of adjacent
pipework.

Firewater deluge systems


From a safety standpoint this is recognised as an area of concern as the valves
cannot easily be tested because of the corrosion risk to other parts of plant by
deluging with sea water. Debris may also be carried down the lines during testing
which may affect future operability. Further advice is needed from operators to
establish to what extent this is considered of concern and the specific problems that
have been encountered in plant experience. Ultrasonics or radiography could be
used to check valvecondition but not operability. Increasing use of corrosion
resistant fibre-reinforced-plastic (FRP) composites for these components present
new problems to inspection.

Scale build up in valve


Trials of the AEA ultrasonic caliper suggest that well bonded scale may not be
evident on ultrasonic inspection. Modifications to valve design, radiography using
gamma-wave transmission to discriminate scale, or inspection of adjacent pipework
both sides of valve may be most appropriate solution. Low-frequency eddy-
current is possible as a method for scale detection.

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Crevice corrosion of flanges


Flanges present a complex geometry for inspection but are potentially amenable to
both ultrasonic and radiographic inspection. For simple flange designs ultrasonic
inspection using compression probes may offer the most suitable approach. For
more complex geometries or where greater discrimination is required, TOFD could
be best suited. The time-of-flight diffraction (TOFD) technique is well documented
as a means of locating and sizing crack-like defects but it is also sensitive to the
presence of corrosion pitting and general erosion/corrosion. Normally TOFD is
considered as a twin probe technique, but single -probe time of flight diffraction can
provide useful data in awkward test geometries when there is some room for
scanning. In this form it is slower than two-probe TOFD but this may not be a
handicap when specific regions are to be inspected. The ability of TOFD to find
both cracking and pitting may be an advantage in this task. The technique has been
used in similar situations but an evaluation of the likely performance in respect of
flanges is recommended. In operation this form of TOFD would provide accurate
estimates of the depth and location of the tips of any corrosion developing at the
flange face. The precision of the technique will be similar to that quoted for the
normal crack sizing applications.

5.3. INSPECTION METHODS FOR ESDV'S AND SSIV'S


The complexity of some ESDV's and SSIV' designs makes inspection difficult. To
make inspection a feasible option is likely to require specialised development. The
most promising technology currently available is the ultrasonic caliper designed for
logging of internal corrosion and wall thickness of production tubing. Conceptual
designs have also been produced for external vehicles for riser inspection in
deepwater TLP's (e.g Exxon EDIPS system) which could be deployed for valve
inspection. Some development of these technologies would be needed to allow
inspection of SSIV's and ESDV's. Inspection of actuators is possible externally by
visual methods or using ROV. At the current stage of development we believe
improvements in the reliability of actuators and control systems are likely to produce
much greater safety benefits for emergency shut down valves than application of
NDT methods.

5.4. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS OF SUBSEA PLANT


In both the UK and Norwegian sectors there is a growing use of subsea
installations which are subject to planned visual inspection by ROV. The special
problems of immersion in sea water have led to innovative designs and the
application of newer corrosion resistant alloys (CRA's) such as duple x (22Cr) and
super-duplex (25Cr) stainless steels. Two particular problems encountered in the
subsea environment are corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement. Corrosion is
usually controlled by cathodic protection using impressed anodes such as Galvanol.
A consequence of Cathodic protection is the evolution of hydrogen which in
susceptible alloys can produce hydrogen embrittlement or crack growth under static
loads by hydrogen-assisted-cracking (HAC). Hydrogen cracking is not uncommon
in subsea plant and is usually associated with incorrect material heat treatment or
specification, or with unanticipated problems arising from application of protective
coatings or surface hardening treatments. The location of subsea plant away from
personnel reduces the potential hazard but also makes it much more difficult to

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assess and maintain the condition of the plant. Any repair or inspection requires
ROV hire or use of divers and may be costly and slow to implement.
Access to subsea components such as bolts and flanges for inspection and repair is
not straightforward or cheap and needs careful consideration at the design stage.
In the context of valves, reliability of actuators and control systems is an important
issue. There is a limited history of reliability in subsea operations. Development
of methods for monitoring condition of subsea valve installations could increase
confidence. Currently most inspection of subsea plant is carried out by visual
inspection using divers or ROV. Leak detection is straightforward subsea, but any
leakage is undesirable on safety and environmental grounds.

5.5. PHYSICAL FACTORS AFFECTING ISI

Access and design for inspection and maintenance:


The premium on space on an offshore platform means that there is often very
limited physical access to components requiring inspection. Even where access is
possible, the conditions may be such that operator fatigue and discomfort
significantly reduces the performance of inspectors. This problem was commented
on by a number of respondents to the recent HOIS survey of current practice in
ISI. Top-side valves, particularly near the tree and near hydrocarbon lines may be
protected by insulation, fire protection or steel cladding. Maintenance or inspection
may cause breakdown or damage to this protection installed during construction of
the process plant. This may have potential safety implications. The design of valve
systems for access, inspectability and maintainability was mentioned by a number
of HOIS sponsors as an area worth consideration.

Coatings
Most components on the platform will have been given some form of coating for
protection against external corrosion. Where these are thin and in good condition
they are unlikely to hinder ultrasonic methods, for example, but where they have
degraded they will prevent satisfactory coupling of the probes to the component and
may require removal before the inspection can be carried out. A danger then is
that in-situ re-application of the coating leaves a sub-standard job with the risk of
accelerating the deterioration of the outer surface.

High temperatures
During operation high temperatures are likely to be encountered. These not only
present a problem to the inspection personnel, but may affect the inspection
equipment as in the case of conventional ultrasonic probes with polymeric
components. In the case of electromagnetic techniques such as eddy currents, the
temperature of the steel alters the electrical conductivity and to some extent the
magnetic permeability.

Thermal lagging (cold and hot)


As with top-side pipe-work and process vessels a hindrance to inspection of valves
is the presence of thermal lagging. This is usually to avoid heat loss from hot lines.
Removal of sections of the lagging to allow access to the surface for UT inspection,
for example, is time consuming and costly. It also raises the chance that protection
against under insulation corrosion afforded by the lagging and its surrounding sheet
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cleading will be compromised by the difficulty of making an adequate repair.


Inspection methods that avoid the need to remove the lagging are therefore very
desirable.

5.6. ORGANISATIONAL FACTORS AFFECTING INSPECTION


In most cases inspection is carried out with the plant in a shut-down state, usually
as part of a planned IRM programme. Although some techniques allow
measurements to be made under operating conditions, safety hazards associated
with working plant and poor working environments due to noise, high temperatures,
etc., often prevent access. Although the physical environment may be far safer
with the plant shut-down, there are other pressures arising from the need to keep to
tight time schedules. Radiographic techniques, for example, that require the
evacuation of a whole area of the plant are particularly disruptive.
There are also pressures on carrying out and reporting the analysis of the inspection
data because the results may call for remedial action to be added quickly to a tightly
planned existing programme of repair and maintenance. Possible adverse effects
of these pressures on care and integrity need to be taken into account, particularly
where the inspection involves a high level of subjective judgement as in the case of
the assessment and reporting of visual and manual inspection. Because of these
factors, fully or semi automatic applications of inspection techniques which are
more consistent in data collection and objective in interpretation are to be preferred.

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Version: 2.0 Final Report

6. CONCLUSIONS

1. Current strategy for valves is for removal and refurbishment of valve


internals during planned workovers. There is limited in-service inspection
(ISI) carried out for valves, usually restricted to ultrasonic wall thickness
measurements of the valve body. By inspection we mean the application of
non-destructive testing methods (NDT) as opposed to simple diagnostic
testing of function. Maintenance may be supplemented by visual
inspection, diagnostic monitoring, leak detection systems and vibrational
monitoring. Top-side valves are generally perceived by operators to be
reliable components, though there is a paucity of published data to support
this on a statistical basis. Subsea safety valves (SSIV's etc.) have a poor
perceived reputation for reliability and this is a factor limiting their wider
application.
2. Unanticipated failure of valves between workovers is not uncommon,
usually affecting operation and function rather than integrity. Such failures
are often associated with unexpected conditions such as vibration, impact
loading or variations in local process conditions.
3. The primary safety issues for valves are considered to be leakage, failure
of seals, external fire damage, excessive vibration and catastrophic failure
of valve-internals. Safety is of particular concern for hydrocarbon lines.
4. Operators are unlikely to consider additional inspection of valves between
workovers unless the benefits are clear. Any decision is likely to be based
on a balance between economic and safety considerations or driven by
regulatory changes.
5. There is a paucity of published information on valve failures and reliability
in offshore plant, certainly insufficient to allow statistical analysis. There
would be benefits in collating such information from different operators
such as was undertaken by UKOOA in their datasheets on corrosion. It is
understood UKOOA do maintain a database on choke-valve failures. In
most cases failures will not be reported outside the operating company
unless there is a safety requirement, the usual action being replacement and
return of the valve to the manufacture.
6. Potential safety benefits and economic implications of improved inspection
of valves have been assessed: the primary potential economic benefits
being reduced downtime, reduced maintenance and extended intervals
between workovers. Potential safety benefits include identification of
unexpected problems, knowledge and flexibility to respond to current plant
conditions or status, feedback on effects of changes in production and
process conditions, reduced disruption to plant operation and protection
(cladding, fire protection etc.) and lowered risk.
7. Many process systems have several units running in parallel, so
maintenance shutdown and valve renewal is relatively straightforward.
With increasing pressure on inspection and maintenance budgets, operators
are unlikely to consider additional inspection unless: the benefits are clear
such as increased safety, increased production, increased reliability in

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operation, reduced cost; or they are driven by regulatory changes. Areas


where inspection could have impact are: i) valves which have significant
influence on production such as main oil line valves, main separators and
choke valves, ii) emergency isolation valves including ESDV's and SSIV's
if inspection can be demonstrated as a feasible option, iii) where there is a
single valve on line, iv) where it negates the need to remove fire protection
of cladding, v) assessment of valve status (open/closed/blocked, partially
closed etc.) , vi) measurement of actual flow and process conditions
allowing less conservative assessment of maintenance intervals, vi)
assessment of actual condition of seals and valve internals, viii) improved
monitoring of leaks and vibration.
8. Potential inspection technology that could be applied or developed has been
reviewed, categorised into methods for assessing valve status, integrity and
operability. Areas covered in this assessment include: inspection of valve
status (open/closed/partial/blocked), measurement of flow and process
conditions, vibrational analysis, condition of seals and valve internals, leak
detection, inspection of valve body, valve-blockage by hydrates, wax or
scale, firewater deluge systems, crevice corrosion of flanges and
ESDV's,SSIV's and riser valves.
9. Additional consideration should be given at the design stage to accessibility
of process plant for maintenance and inspection. Removal of fire-
protection and cladding may be required for inspection or maintenance and
may not be adequately replaced with safety implications.
10. There are special issues for valves in subsea plant including reliability of
actuators and control systems, enhanced corrosion and increased
prevalence of hydrogen embrittlement. There is little history of reliability
in subsea operation. Development of inspection methods for monitoring
condition of valves in subsea applications could increase confidence and
may encourage more widespread use of SSIV's.

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Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

7. REFERENCES

1 Saunderson D H and Wall M; Safety-related aspects of topside inspection


for internal corrosion, AEA Technology report HOIS(93) P4 (Revised),
March 1994.
2 Cullen, The Hon. Lord: The public enquiry into the Piper Alpha Disaster,
HMSO 1990.
3 Golan M and Waloen A O: Some operational and equipment failures in the
EKOFISK North Sea blowout, University of Trondheim (Norway): ASME
Paper n-80-Pet-89 for meeting Feb 3-7 (1980).
4 Engen G and Rausand M (STATOIL- NORWAY), Reliability studies test
SCSSV's in the North Sea: Pet. Eng Int.56(2) p30, February (1984).
5 Comer P J, Clements F and Van Der Graf: Assessing the risk of riser and
pipeline failures on offshore installations; Proceedings of the first
International Conference on Health Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas
Exploration and Production; Society of Petroleum Engineers, Ed. Richardson
T X, p657-665, Technical Paper SPE 23279, The Haque (Netherlands) 11-14
Nov (1991).
6 Newman W.J, Kontua T Y and Aldeen A: Pipeline isolation using remotely
activated spheres, Proceedings of 25th Offshore Technology Conference
(OTC), Volume 4, p971-480, 3-6 May (1993)
7 New Piper B reflects Piper A safety lessons, Oil and Gas journal (United
States), v. 91(8), p35-36,. 22 February (1993).
8 Dawes A. : Installation, commissioning and operation of subsea emergency
valves in the Tartan field, Proceedings of the European Petroleum
Conference EUROPEC 90, Part 1, 21-24 Jan (1990)..
9 Offshore Installations: Guidance on design, construction and certification,
Fourth Edition, DEn publication, ISBN 0 11 412961 4, Her Majesty's
Stationary Office H.M.S.O January (1990).
10 Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Container Regulations; SI 1989
No. 2189.
11 UKOOA Corrosion Sample Datasheets (ref. CSDS.MAS).
12 King J A and Badelek P S C: Performance of valve materials in wet H2 S
and CO2 contaminated hydrocarbons, Proc. Conf. Corrosion 982-
International Corrosion Forum, NACE, Houston USA, p 134 (1982)
13 El-Arabi M and Azur A: Flow-line failure resulting from erosion-corrosion in
a high production oil well, Materials Performance 24 No. 9 p19-22
september (1985)
14 Morgester J J, Frisk D L, Zimmermann G L, Vincent R C and Jordan G :
Control of emissions from refinery valves and flanges, Chem Eng. Prog. Vol
75 No. 8, p40-45, August (1979).

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Version: 2.0 Final Report

15. Martin D: Risk and the human factor. BP Grangemouth explosion, Process
Engineering Vol 72 No. 6, p53-54 , June (1991).
16. Shioji Y: Fire casual caused by explosion of hydrocracking system in Britain,
Anzen Kogazu Journal of Japan Society for Safety Engineering), Vol . 30
No. 1, p57-63, January (1991)
17 Chauvin R J: Non-destructive testing of valves: Materials Evaluation, 39
1088 (1981).
18 Sisak W A and Gordon J R: Laboratory and field evaluations of clad Xmas
tree equipment, SPE Production Engineering, Vol 6 No. 1, p45-48, February
(1991).
19 Pate-Cornell M E : Fire Risks in oil refineries; economic analysis of camera
monitoring, Risk Analysis Vol. 5, p277-278, December (1985).
20 Hansen P A and Freeland A: Ninian field wellhead/tree commodity action
team and manufacturing alliance relationship, Proceedings of the 1992 SPE
drilling conference p511-521, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) USA,
Technical paper IADC/SPE 23899 (1992).

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3 25


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Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

1
Saunderson D H and Wall M; Safety-related aspects of topside inspection for internal
corrosion, AEA Technology report HOIS(93) P4 (Revised), March 1994.

2
Cullen, The Hon. Lord: The public enquiry into the Piper Alpha Disaster, HMSO 1990.
3
Golan M, Waloen A O: Some operational and equipment failures in the EKOFISK North
Sea blowout, University of Trondheim (Norway): ASME Paper n-80-Pet-89 for meeting Feb
3-7 (1980).
4
Engen G, Rausand M (STATOIL- NORWAY), Reliability studies test SCSSV's in the North
Sea: Pet. Eng Int.56(2) p30, February (1984).
5
Comer P J, Clements F and Van Der Graf: Assessing the risk of riser and pipeline failures
on offshore installations; Proceedings of the first International Conference on Health Safety
and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production; SoSociety of Petroleum
Engineers, Ed. Richardson T X, p657-665, Technical Paper SPE 23279, The Haque
(Netherlands) 11-14 Nov (1991).
6
Newman W.J, Kontua T Y and Aldeen A:: Pipeline isolation using remotely activated
spheres, Proceedings of 25th Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), Volume 4, p971-480,
3-6 May (1993)
7
New Piper B reflects Piper A safety lessons, Oil and Gas journal (United States), v. 91(8),
p35-36,. 22 February (1993).
8
Dawes A. : Installation, commissioning and operation of subsea emergency valves in the
Tartan field, Proceedings of the European Petroleum Conference EUROPEC 90, Part 1, 21-24
Jan (1990)..
9
HSE Offshore Installations Guidelines, 4th Edition (1990).
10
Pressure Systems in Transport Gas container Regulations (PSR)
11
UKOOA datasheets on corrosion of topside plant..
12
King J A, Badelek P S C:Performance of valve materials in Wet H2S and CO2
contaminated hydrocarbons, Proc. Conf. Corrosion 982- International Corrosion Forum,
NACE, Houston USAp 134 (1982)
13
El-Arabi M and Azur A: Flow-line failure resulting from Erosion-Corrosion in a high
production oil well, Materials performance 24 No. 9 p19-22 september (1985)
14
US Survey of leakage in refineries 1976.

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Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
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Table 1
Summary of valves used in recent topside production plant, classified by type
and size (Source BP)

Valve Type Valve Size TOTAL

1/2" 3/4" 1" 11/2" 2" 3" 4" 6" 8" 10" 12" 14" 16" 18" 20" 24" 28" 32"

Ball 43 415 694 281 573 70 93 65 33 49 11 15 21 8 11 3 - 1 2386


Butterfly - - - - - 42 89 28 35 14 10 45 - - - - 1 - 264
Check - 43 166 12 63 27 21 19 15 12 9 6 2 1 6 - - - 402
Gate 80 427 461 199 81 6 4 4 9 - - - - - - - - - 1271
Globe 52 8 20 14 15 8 6 2 4 - - - - - - - - - 129
6Mo * - - 3 - 3 4 5 10 12 - - - - - - - - - 37

TOTAL 175 893 1344 506 735 157 218 128 108 74 30 66 23 9 17 3 1 1 4488

* considered as distinct type for classification purposes by operator.

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Table 2
Alternative classifications of valves in offshore production plant by valve type,
system, application and environment.

Valve types Topside systems


1. Ball 1. Well-Head
2. Gate 2. Gathering System (Inlet
3. Check manifolding)
4. Butterfly 3. Separators
5. Globe 4. Other Process Oil and Gas
6. Diaphragm 5. Gas handling
7. Choke 6. Water treatment and
a. Needle Injection
b. Disc 7. Safety Systems
c. Internal-Cage/ External 8. Utilities (Potable water,
Cylinder compressed air etc.)
9. Flare
Valve application Environment
1. Isolation 1. High Pressure
a. Emergency Shut Down 2. Low Pressure
(ESD) 3. Hydrocarbon
b. Subsea safety isolation 4. Gas
(SSIV) 5. Crude
c. Topside Shutdown (TSIV) 6. Condensate
d. System Shutdown 7. Multiphase
2. Control 8. Water
a. Wellhead control 9. Sour
b. Blow-down/ 10. Sweet
depressurisation 11. Chemical
c. Choking of flow
d. Process Control
e. Flow Regulation
f. Pressure Control
3. Safety Relief
4. Intervention
a. Wireline usage
b. Chemical treatment/
Injection
c. Monitoring

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Table 3
Summary of areas of safety concern and damage mechanisms affecting offshore valves

Areas of Safety Concern Damage Mechanisms


1. Valve Leakage 1. Blockage of pressure balancing
2. Vibration ports
3. External Fire Damage 2. Failure of stem seals
4. Poor operability 3. Noise and acoustic fatigue
5. Loss of Integrity 4. Vibration
6. Loss of Function 5. Erosion by droplets or solids
7. Water Hammer 6. Cavitation-erosion
8. 'Knock-on' effects 7. Erosion of downstream pipework
9. High Integrity Pressure Protection 8. Corrosion
Systems (HIPPS) 9. Corrosion-erosion
10. Change in Operating Conditions 10. Hydrogen embrittlement (HIC)
11. Actuators and Control Systems (cf. 11. Stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
Ekofisk Blowout 1980-Reference 12. Scale build up
3) 13. Clogging of ports
12. Responsibility for inspection 14. Projectile damage
15. Catastrophic damage to valve
internals
16. Water hammer
17. External fire damage

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Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
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Table 4
Summary of anecdotal information on choke-valve failures.

Operational Problem Operator


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Loss of valve internals √√ X √√
Catastrophic damage to √
internals from foreign bodies.
Excessive vibration √ √√ √
Erosion √ √ √* √ √* √ √ √
Cavitation-erosion √ √ √
Erosion/wear of ceramic √ √√ √
components
Cracking of ceramic √ √ √
components
Metering damage √*
Fatigue
Stress corrosion cracking X
(SCC)
Sour-gas cracking X
Hydrogen embrittlement X
Clogging of flow apertures √* √* √*
Consistency of flow rate √
√ encountered X not encountered √√ primary problem
Blank - not quoted as problem * particularly if sand present

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Version: 2.0 Final Report

Table 4
Typical hydrotest durations and permissable leakage rates for procurement
testing of offshore valves (reproduced from British Standard).

Hydrostatic Shell Test Minimum Durations


Valve Size Minimum Test
(Inches) Duration
(Minutes)
Upto 4 incl 5
6 to 10 incl 5
12 to 18 incl 15
20 and above 30

Hydrostatic Seat Test Minimum Durations

Minimum Test Duration


(Minutes)
Valve Size Stabilisation Test
(Inches)
Upto 4 incl 2 min 2 min
6 to 10 incl 5 min 5 min
12 to 18 incl 15 min 5 min
20 and above 30 max 5 min

Maximum Permissible Seat Test Leakage Rates

SEAT TEST RATE 1 RATE 2 RATE 3


(ml/min) (ml/min) (ml/min)
Hydrostatic 0.006 x DNmm 0.0006 x DNmm No visually
detectable leakage
Low pressure 1.8 x DNmm 0.018 x DNmm for the duration of
Air at 6 bar and 1 test
bar
DNmm Nominal diameter of valve in millimetre
RATES 1 to 3 refer to risk rating of valves from general purpose valves (RATE 1)
to critical valves (RATE 3)

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Table 5
Current Practice for Offshore Valve Inspection.

VALVE TYPE INSPECTION SCHEDULE

ESDV's / riser valves: Tested visually and for function 3-4 Months
Pressure tested yearly
Blow-down valves: Tested 6 monthly
Control Valves: Tested as part of planned maintenance - Visual inspection at
6 month interval, Calibration tested once a year
Choke Valves/high risk Ultrasonic wall thickness measurement used as part of
systems: corrosion management strategy. Thicknesss compared with
warehouse values on spare chokes.
Subsea valves Visual inspection by ROV or diver
Other process system Most maintenance by replacement in planned workovers.
valves

Table 6
Potential safety and economic benefits of in-service inspection

Safety
1. Identifies unexpected problems
2. Flexibility to respond to current plant conditions
3. Knowledge of current valve status and conditions
4. Feedback on effects of changes in production and process conditions.
5. Less disruptive to plant operation and protection
(cladding, fire protection etc.)
6. In-situ assessment of valve condition (Without removal)

Economic
1. In-situ assessment of actual valve condition (Without removal)
2. Extended time between workover.
3. Valve specific and targeted maintenance.
3. Reduced downtime
4. Targeting of maintenance and inspection

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Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
Version: 2.0 Final Report

Table 7
Potential applications of NDT inspection to offshore valves,
classified in terms of valve status, integrity and operability.

Determination of valve status Determination of valve integrity


1. Assessment of valve status 1. Non-intrusive inspection
(Open, Closed, Partial, blocked, 2. Condition/integrity of seals.
leaking). 3. Condition of valve body.
2. Assessment of flow and 4. Leak detection (external and
process conditions internal)
3. Vibrational measurements. 5. Crevice corrosion of flanges.
6. Caliper or Pig Inspection of
pipeline, ESDV's and riser valves.
7. Inspection of welds and adjacent
pipework.
8. Inspection of Subsea Plant
Determination of valve operability
1. Condition of valve internals.
2. Remote methods for visual inspection.
3. Inspection of actuators.
4. Valve blockage (e.g. scale, wax, sand, hydrates).
5. Operability of firewater deluge systems.

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Version: 2.0 Final Report

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Commercial-in-Confidence
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Inspection of Valves Date: 21 Nov 1994
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ANNEX 1

Vibration and Noise in Valves

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ANNEX 2

Example of Manufacturing Tests and NDT Requirements in Operator Valve Procurement


Specification
(To be included. Permission being sought)

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Figure 1
Schematic diagrams illustrating main types of valve in topside process plant of
offshore installations ( standard gate valve not shown).

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Figure 1 (Continued)

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Figure 2
Schematic diagram of internal cage/external cylinder choke valve illustrating potential
regions for damage to valve in service

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Figure 3
Wall thickness loss due to combination of CO2 corrosion and erosion in choke-valve body.
High CO2, high pressure production fluids. (Source UKOOA corrosion datasheets - Sample 2)

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Figure 4
Example of corrosion and erosion failures in topside valves: (a) Preferential weld corrosion on
inlet flange of oilwell choke valve, (b) material loss by erosion in turbulent flow downstream of a choke
valve (Source UKOOA corrosion datasheets Samples 1,33).
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Figure 5
Severe erosion failure in valve -spool downstream of choke-valve in sand producing well, North Sea,UK
Sector. Loss of wall thickness was first evident by external perforation (marked). The erosion pattern is
indicative of swirling in the flow.
AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3
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Figure 6
Example of cavitation-erosion on disc exposed to flow.

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Figure 7
Erosion of painted elbow eroded at Vg 30 m/s, Vl 8 m/s annular flow.

AEA Technology hois(94)p2.doc 3