Offshore oil and gas producers use hydraulic power to operate much of their subsea equipment. This equipment includes valves, cylinders, motors, manifolds, blowout preventers and remote operated vehicles to name a few. Pressure regulators in Hydraulic Power Units (HPUs) help ensure the required hydraulic pressure is available for this equipment.
One of the challenges in pressurizing this equipment is the time it takes for the hydraulic pressure to reach the right level given the distance the fluid must travel in subsea and downhole equipment. It may take hours to pressurize umbilicals running from the surface to the subsea equipment.Emerson’s Wendell Love shared a presentation with me about the TESCOM 50-4000 Series regulators, which control high-pressure water glycol fluids. To address the time lag challenge, this series of regulators includes integrated bypass valves, which decrease pressurization time.
Regulators on a production HPU or wellhead control panel can have a 40-70% failure rate during startup due to the massive pressure differential upstream and downstream of the regulator. This bypass valve also extends the service life of the regulator by helping the pressure regulator avoid the high initial differential pressure.
This quick 1:47 YouTube video, Hydraulic Power Unit Regulator, show how this bypass path works in startup mode and how the control regulator takes over when the pressure differential upstream and downstream of the regulator drops. This bypass mode allows for up to 33% faster startups than traditional pressure regulators.
Oil and gas production coming online sooner coupled with fewer pressure regulator failures may mean financial performance improvements in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars for an offshore platform.