Friday, January 24, 2014

Challenging offshore North Sea project will use special anti-corrosion instrumentation from Parker!

An offshore oil and gas project that will site new offshore platforms in challenging conditions in the North Sea has selected high-reliability valves and tube connection fittings from the Instrumentation Products Division of Parker Hannifin.

Gina Krog 1847-1916
Named after the pioneering Norwegian feminist  Gina Krog, the new oil and gas field is located some 250 km west of Stavanger (N). The offshore platforms for the Gina Krog project will be constructed rapidly. Parker anticipates that this could result in more than £10m of orders over the next 12 months for its Barnstaple facility - which employs over 200 directly and many more at local subcontractors.

Parker estimates that it will supply at least 10,000 individual valves, tube fittings and other components for this project, as well as some 10 kilometres of tubing. These will be used to construct liquid and gas instrumentation systems that will measure parameters such as temperature, pressure and flow to help control gas and oil and processing operations.

As well as manufacturing using high-grade stainless steel materials, this project will make extensive use of titanium and the 6Mo steel alloy in key parts of the fluid tubing systems. These specialist materials are required to combat the threat of corrosion, which is a major problem in harsh offshore environments such as the North Sea.

Parker's know-how about machining valves and fittings using 6Mo and titanium, and its proven supply chain for these specialist raw materials, were important factors in securing this business. Another key aspect was the global nature of the Parker business, as the engineering and construction work for Gina Krog is taking place in numerous locations around the world.

"In the oil and gas production sector today there's an intense focus on extending equipment lifetimes and eliminating the threat to reliability that corrosion brings. The know-how that Parker has built up in the area of anti-corrosion materials is bringing us considerable success," says Parker Hannifin's Andy Guest. "A large proportion of our production output is now manufactured from corrosion-resistant alloys instead of more conventional stainless steels."

"Our products have a performance edge because we always focus on adding value to industry-standard instrumentation products by employing unique features and superior materials and quality to design-out potential failure modes and improve reliability," adds Ian Huggins, General Manager of the Instrumentation Products Division of Parker Hannifin. "This is particularly relevant in the oil and gas marketplace which is doing all it can to improve safety and reliability, and it's helping our business to flourish even in the face of intense competition from low-wage Asian economies."

Turnover at Parker's Barnstaple facility has grown significantly in the last two years alone - largely as a result of being selected as the instrumentation supplier to major engineering projects for offshore platforms. North Sea oil and gas production continues to be a major business opportunity as production innovations continue to increase the volumes of oil and gas that can be extracted from existing and mature fields. As a result, lots of offshore platforms are being refurbished and extended. Parker's share of this market has grown so much that it believes it is the largest supplier of fluid instrumentation components in the North Sea sector today.

Another interesting aspect of the latest North Sea project order will be the specification of tube connectors for critical parts of the fluid tubing system that are able to withstand higher working pressures. This is being met by Parker's new Autoclave product line, which is the result of an acquisition in 2012. Although these products are manufactured at a sister factory in Wexford, Ireland, both the R&D and customer service departments for this advanced product line have recently been relocated to Parker's Barnstaple facility for efficiency. The ability to offer instrumentation solutions for both conventional pressure ranges and higher pressures is also helping Parker to win more business.

To help cope with the higher levels of business, Parker has invested around a million dollars in eight further computer-controlled machining centres for the Barnstaple facility. These new machines will be manufacturing many of the tube fittings required for Gina Krog. The automated machines add to the capability of one of the Parker Hannifin's corporation's most sophisticated manufacturing businesses worldwide. Parker in Barnstaple manufactures products using advanced build-to-demand 'lean manufacturing' principles. It was the first plant worldwide to be awarded 'Lean Model Plant' status by the $13 billion Parker Hannifin corporation - a major accolade.


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