In this post, I want to share with you the applications of ball valves and their examples. In my experience, many oil and gas projects use ball valves a lot. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using ball valves, and what are their applications?
Ball valves are frequently selected for process and aggressive services containing hydrocarbon oil and gas. Ball valves are used for on/off purposes only, not for flow control (throttling).
Ball Valves Application in Seawater Injection Line
Ball valves are the best option for seawater injection for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) that requires high pressure class. Ball valves for this purpose are fabricated in exotic materials, such as 25 chromium super duplex, with size of 12”, 14”, and 16”. The pressure class can be as high as class 1500. Although a butterfly valve is more inexpensive than ball valve, the application in seawater injection line is not recommended, because the fluid is aggressive, contains hydrocarbon, and flows at high pressure. Butterfly valves are also not robust for this kind of application.
Ball Valves Application as Actuated Valves
Actuated ball valves with Emergency Shutdown (ESD) functions are used for blowdown purposes. Blowdown is used to release overpressure in piping and equipment and the routed to the flare. Blowdown valves are usually fail-open (FO).
Disadvantages of Ball Valves
Ball valves are not recommended for fast-opening application. Opening time of fail-open actuated ball valves can be reduced by installing quick exhaust valve on the control panel to release instrument air from pneumatic actuator. However, moving the relatively heavy and large ball requires higher stem torque, thus requires longer opening time.
That’s all about application of ball valves and their examples. I hope you find this short post useful.
- Sotoodeh, Karan. 2021. A Practical Guide to Piping and Valves for the Oil and Gas Industry. Elsevier