Low oil prices hurt valves and actuators marketby Yasmin Helal on Mar 14, 2017
While valves and actuators are utilised in a variety of industries, the oil and gas sector remains the largest revenue generator for this market. Due to several factors, the sector is expected to see further development. This will be fuelled by the increased investment in pipeline installations and the rise in exploration and production (E&P) activities. Other factors that are expected to contribute to this growth include the growing energy demand and rising urbanisation. In addition, due to the improved health, safety, and environment (HSE) standards, the requirement for monitoring and controlling remote sites from centralised locations is a yet another growth driver.
When it comes to the upstream sector, valves located at the top of the well control the flow of crude oil or natural gas from high pressure injection systems to choke valves and blow-out preventers. In the midstream sector, pipelines require compressors along the way for the smooth transportation of oil and gas resources, where valves are required to protect the equipment while applying minimal restriction to the flow.
“General valves are used for isolation, block, throttling, bleed or control,” said Andrew Hoxley, global oil and gas industry manager, Pentair Valves & Controls. “Examples of uses are to isolate complete onshore facilities, mobile offshore production units, custody transfer, pumping and compressor stations, sections of pipelines, bypass systems and individual pressure vessels. Valves are also used for individual process equipment, such as compressors, pumps, control valves, gauges, and flowmeters.”
Controlling the flow
In some applications, it is only necessary to either open or shut a valve. Depending upon the valve design and the application, it may be convenient to operate it by hand. However, there are many applications in which it is impossible for a technician to physically operate the valve without some external assistance. The hand operator is thus replaced by an electric, pneumatic or hydraulic assisted actuator.
“Actuators should be used wherever a valve requires automated operation due to location access restrictions or where the valve contravenes safe operating standards for manual operation even when a gearbox is added,” Ben Townsend, product specialist at Sofis, told Oil & Gas Middle East.
A control valve is a valve combined with an actuator used to control fluid flow by adjusting the area of the flow passage as directed by an independent signal from a controller fed by pressure, temperature sensors and meters. This enables the direct control of flow rate and the consequential control of process quantities such as pressure, temperature and liquid level within the process system.
According to Saurabh Pathak, senior marketing manager – MEA, Flow Solutions, Emerson Automation Solutions, “The control valve manipulates a flowing fluid, such as gas, steam, water, or petroleum compounds, to compensate for the load disturbance and keep the regulated process variable as close as possible to the desired set point. Mainly, the control valve is designed to control the process variable to maintain it in the acceptable range.”
On a global level, the industrial valves and actuators market is expected to grow steadily with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 6% by 2021, according to analysts at the global market research company Technavio.
The study, released early this year, revealed that certain geographical regions like Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will be some of the major revenue contributors to the market within the predicted period.
Similar trends were also predicted by earlier research. In September 2016, Transparency Market Research said that the opportunity in the global valves and actuators market stood at $74.37bn in 2015 and is anticipated to be worth $124.30bn by 2024.
The market, the study said, has been led by valves which account for a share of about 75%, while the actuators segment is expected to contribute with a CAGR of 5.89%. In terms of valve type, recent studies also showed that ball valves dominate the overall valve segment, accounting for 20% of revenue share in 2015, whereas pneumatic actuators take the lead on the actuators segment.
Meanwhile, the use of gate valves in the oil and gas industry is expected to experience significant growth, the research forecasted. The oil and gas application segment also emerged as the largest slice of the pie with a 22% revenue share.