What are actuators?
What are actuators and how do they work? There are four types of actuators that are used today. The most commonly used in this industry are the Pneumatic and Hydraulic actuator.
A hydraulic actuator consist of a cylinder or fluid motor that uses hydraulic power to facilitate mechanical operation. The mechanical motion gives an output in terms of linear, rotary or oscillatory motion. Because liquid cannot be compressed, a hydraulic actuator can exert considerable force, but is limited in acceleration and speed.
A pneumatic actuator converts energy formed by compressed air at high pressure into either linear or rotary motion. Pneumatic energy is desirable for main engine controls because it can quickly respond in starting and stopping as the power source does not need to be stored in reserve for operation.
You may wonder what this means in English? Well, in simpler terms; the main difference between the two is that pneumatic actuators use air to transmit force while a hydraulic actuator will use liquid to transmit force. Depending on the media of your project will depend on what kind of actuator you will need.
This picture shows an example of what a pneumatic actuator might look like with a ball valve. A Pneumatic scotch yoke Automation package along with our ANSI 1500 Trunnion Ball Valve going for Natural gas service.
Upstream, Midstream and Downstream
We have all heard the terms Upstream, Midstream and Downstream, but what do they really mean in the petroleum industry?
The Upstream oil sector is also commonly known as the exploration and production (E&P) sector. The upstream sector includes the searching for potential underground or underwater crude oil and natural gas fields, drilling of exploratory wells, and subsequently drilling and operating the wells that recover and bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface.
The Midstream sector involves the transportation (by pipeline, rail, barge, or truck), storage, and wholesale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products.
The Downstream sector commonly refers to the refining of petroleum crude oil and the processing and purifying of raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil and natural gas. The downstream sector touches consumers through products such asgasoline or petrol, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel oil, heating oil, fuel oils, lubricants, waxes, asphalt, natural gas, and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as well as hundreds of petrochemicals.
New innovation ideas for drilling in the Arctic
Wouldn't it be great if we could prevent icebergs damaging sub sea pipelines? Or safety procedure tailored to meet specific needs of our operators out there?
A model for safe and reliable Arctic operations
Christian Juel Adamsen, Carsten Stegelmann and Johannes Petersen received first prize for an idea which centers on establishing a set of procedures which will ensure that safety, reliability and risks are uncovered systematically in the early design phase of Arctic projects. The aim is to provide operators with comprehensive check lists based on for instance FMECA, RCM and RAM analyses. With maintenance costs skyrocketing in the Arctic, it is of paramount importance to consider this aspect even in the conceptual phase, and to ensure that materials and equipment require a minimum of maintenance.
Deep burial of subsea pipelines
Francesca Del Din and Farzin Hafezparast received second prize for an idea which concerns deep burial of subsea pipelines. When operating in Arctic areas, there is no doubt that safe transport of hydrocarbons is essential. Therefore the pipeline system has to be trenched to allow for ice formation to pass the pipeline wi
Fracking is firmly entrenched in the United States as energy companies explore for oil and gas in new areas, and areas previously thought to be nearly depleted from an economic standpoint. And while there are other forms of fracking available, hydraulic fracturing – fracking with water.
This can also lead to problems as droughts are affecting North America and everywhere around the world, there is shortage of water. For example, it takes about 7.5 million gallons of water to frack a well in Eagle Ford shale Specifically in the United States; 95% of fracking uses water.
One leading alternative that is gaining traction with some companies is fracking with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This technology was developed in Calgary, Alberta by Gasfrac Energy Services a few years ago, and allows fracking to be done with propane, butane or pentane – or mixtures of those gases – as a substitute for water.
Because it does not use water, the LPG technology shows promise as a substitute for hydraulic fracturing, and could possibly reduce the general level of criticism that fracking generates, particularly in dry counties.
Becoming an Offshore Oil Rig Operator
Working on an offshore oil rig is physically demanding, dirty and stressful, but the money is good and the food is great! Shifts are usually 12 hours or longer depending on the job and the environment is hot and loud.
Relatively few offshore rig workers have college degrees, but the majority have extensive industry experience from time spent working on land-based rigs before moving offshore. New oilfield workers typically participate in an extended training or apprenticeship program to learn everything they need to know.
Here are the steps;
Step 1 Graduate from high school or earn your GED.
Step 2 Apply for jobs as an oil rig apprentice, helper or roustabout.
Step 3 Complete your training or apprenticeship program.
Step 4 Work for at least two to three years on a land-based oil rig to gain experience and expertise. Oil companies only hire experienced rig operators to work offshore because of the difficult conditions and the potential ramifications of a serious mistake.
Step 5 Apply to work on offshore oil rigs after you have several years of experience on land-based rigs.
Women in the Oil and Gas industry
In the first quarter of 2013, more women than men entered the oil and gas industry. Specifically, about 3,900 positions were added in the oil and gas sector with about 46 percent of these positions, or 1,800 positions filled by women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Oil and gas companies are actively recruiting women with many launching internal goals for gender representation among senior leadership. BP plc has a goal of raising its percentage of female group leaders to 25 percent by 2020, according to the company's 2012 Sustainability Review. In 2012, 17 percent of the group leaders were female, up from 9 percent in 2000.
Global Valve and Controls Media Containment Bonnet
Global Valve and Controls strive to provide earth friendly options, especially the containment of fugitive emissions being released in the earth's atmosphere. Over 44% of a plant's expense, is due to leaking valves and the replacement of them because of old technology. GVC has a new technology to lower this expense by a substanial decreased cost of ownership.
GVC has been manufacturing an accessory, the Media Containment Bonnet, since 2004. The MCB is unique because of the installation, maintenace and application, as an option to our ball valves. The following highlighted reasons to incluse this accessory for $300 - $500.00 at time of purchase of the ball valve series are as follows:
- Increases the longevity of the ball valve. A standard increased life expectancy of a leaking ball valve, with the GVC MCB application, is an extra three years.
- No down time due to the shut down of a plant or pipeline because of the removal of a leaking valve. Within 10 mins, the MCB is installed with no tools other than a wrench is necessary.
If you are interested in an instructional video or a lunch and learn instructional demonstration, please call Global Valve and Controls at 1-866-965-8GVC (482) or email Lparker@gvcintl.com.
Pneumatic actuators in the arctic
“Sub-arctic climates experience temperatures from 100° F (38° C) in the summer to –60° F (–51° C) in the winter. While there is nothing spectacular about the high end of the range, the low end impacts the functionality of pneumatic actuators”
You may ask, how exactly does the temperature impact the pneumatic actuators that are in the fields right now? There are a few things you have to consider.
First, the actuator housing is steel, thus the housing becomes brittle. This does not necessarily mean it becomes weaker but a sudden impact or an imperfection can result in a sudden fracture at these temperatures because the temperature is below the brittle transition temperature of steel.
Secondly, the “precipitation-hardened shaft material has also become brittle and may fracture given an impact load. If, for example, the driven valve resists opening and then breaks free, the resulting sudden impact may cause the actuator shaft to fail.”
There are many solutions to these issues, but the best would be to call your actuator mfg to discuss how to avoid any fractures caused by these temperatures. Just like the manufacture should know what to do, the users of the actuators should know what to do as well. If you are not able to get in contact with your manufacturer, here are a few steps you can take:
“First, and most obvious, users should shelter the actuator from weather extremes where possible. Second, users must assure a dry air supply, at least 15° F (–9° C) below the lowest temperature that may be experienced since ice plays havoc with air flow and mechanical motion. Finally, users should assess the recommended actuator and whether all possible precautions have been incorporated by the supplier.”
Clearly, pneumatic actuators can perform their intended functions despite having to operate in extreme temperatures. However, they need to be designed and manufactured properly, and users need to take responsibility to keep them functioning correctly.
Shell fined for air quality violations while drilling
MersShell has agreed to pay $1.1 million for air-quality violations from the vessels it used to drill two oil-exploration wells in Arctic waters off Alaska last year, federal regulators said
Shell will have to pay the civil fines for Clean Air Act violations that were discovered during inspections of the Discoverer and Kulluk drillships. The agreement requires Shell to pay $710,000 for 23 violations that inspectors said occurred on the Discoverer. Shell has spent about $5 billion on its Alaska offshore program, including $2.1 billion in a 2008 Chukchi lease sale.
Workers needed in the Oil and Gas industries
Estimates suggest that the UK alone will require in excess of 120,000 skilled personnel over the course of the next decade to fully realize the renewed investment in the North Sea and recent shale discoveries.
The United Kingdom is currently struggling with finding skilled workers for the open positions they currently have. As many as 120,000 more positions will open up in the future for the new North sea shale findings.