High quality standards form the mainstay of the offshore oil industry’s drive to improve reliability and prevent accidents. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the industry and its suppliers have made huge strides in agreeing use of common quality standards. Before then, there was considerable disparity across different projects. However, one area that is still undergoing change concerns the alloys that are used in the manufacture of high performance instrumentation valves, tubes and fittings. A number of energy companies look set to follow the lead of the Norwegian oil industry by stipulating that instrumentation components for new offshore installations must comply with the NORSOK M650 standard. This conveys the highest possible protection against corrosion – the biggest single threat to system integrity and safety.
Corrosion - the single biggest threat
The Norwegian oil industry has played a pioneering role in the take-up of quality standards through its NORSOK initiative, aimed at improving the safety of equipment used in offshore applications through adherence to stringent materials processing standards. Many of these are now enshrined in international ISO standards. Today, the Norwegian oil industry is internationally renowned for its use of cutting-edge technology and very high-quality standards – and its suppliers have amply demonstrated their adaptability in meeting these demands.
M650 is the key NORSOK standard for instrumentation. It defines the qualification process by which manufacturers verify that they are competent to handle specialist materials and its scope extends from mill to final shipped product. The standard provides additional reassurance to instrumentation OEMs – and end users – that the quality and consistency of material used for the manufacture of a component has not been compromised by any of the production processes. It offers the best available means of ensuring that the corrosion-resistant performance of valves, tubes, and fittings is maintained for the duration of long lifecycle projects.
Initially specified by Norwegian oil companies operating in domestic waters, NORSOK M650 compliant instrumentation is now used by these same companies for offshore applications worldwide, with a growing number of other major international players rumored to be following suit. It is also likely that NORSOK M650 will be incorporated in a future ISO standard, mandating much wider use.
Specify high-performance alloys
To help combat corrosion and stay ahead of the competition, you may already specify high-performance alloys for your latest offshore instrumentation projects. But if your customers stipulate NORSOK M650 compliance as an additional requirement, will you be in a position to respond immediately? Now is the time to re-examine your supply chain and foster a relationship with a partner that will help you to maintain your competitive edge.
Parker is one of the world’s largest suppliers of fluid instrumentation products for offshore applications. It helped drive industry take-up of 6Mo and was first to market with valves, tubes, and fittings manufactured from this alloy that also complied with NORSOK M650. To achieve this, the company produced new raw material specifications for its suppliers, modified its manufacturing processes, test methods and quality management systems, and secured third-party validation by a leading Norwegian energy company.
The range of Norsok M650 compliant products expand
Parker initially offered NORSOK M650 compliant 6Mo versions of its low-pressure (up to 6,000 PSI) instrumentation components, which use compression type fittings, then widened the choice to include 6Mo medium- and high-pressure valves, tubes, and fittings with cone and thread connections from its Autoclave product lines.
The company now also manufactures NORSOK M650 compliant versions of these Autoclave products from 2507 super duplex stainless steel. Developed specifically for use in applications where 20,000 PSI is required, this alloy is ideal for demanding offshore applications.
The range of NORSOK M650 compliant 6Mo and super duplex Autoclave products covers seven standard instrumentation sizes, suitable for use with tubing from 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) to 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) outside diameter, with wall thicknesses up to 0.28 inch (7.15 mm). There is an extensive choice of needle valves, ball valves, adapters and fitting configurations. Standard Autoclave medium- and high-pressure instrumentation components cover pressures from 10,000 to 150,000 PSI; applicable de-rating of the NORSOK M650 compliant versions depends upon valve type and size.
NORSOK M650 looks set to be one of the key quality standards for offshore instrumentation applications. You can help your customers maximise the safety and reliability of topside and subsea equipment by embracing the standard at the earliest opportunity.
Jon Bradbury, Product Manager - Autoclave Engineers, Instrumentation Products Division Europe