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Weir builds one of the largest ever tungsten carbide control valves

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World Pipelines,

Weir Valves & Controls UK is delighted to confirm the design and build of one of the largest ever tungsten carbide control valves – designed to tackle the issues associated with black powder.

Black powder is an undesirable byproduct in pipeline systems within the oil and gas industry. In simple terms, it is a hard powder (not always black) which can cause erosion of equipment, including valves, if not adequately controlled.

The higher velocity flowrates associated with gas systems means that black powder is a particular issue, as it causes any powder in the pipeline to impinge on material surfaces and therefore cause erosion.

One of the most common methods of addressing this issue is to manufacture the globe control valve trim from tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is very hard wearing material and therefore more resistant to erosion than conventional control valve trims made from hardened steels. In short, tungsten carbide is a perfect trim material for black powder applications.

The most recent project, aimed at tackling the issues related to black powder is in Saudi Arabia within the Master Gas System Expansion, Phase II Pipeline – which is located on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, in the Yanbu area, home to one of the largest downstream oil and gas facilities in the world.

The Weir Valves & Controls team based both in Saudi Arabia and Elland (UK) were recently contacted by a customer who wished to order four 750 mm (30 in.) and two 450 mm (18 in.) BV500 globe valves. The 30 in. valves were regarded as the largest globe control valves engineered for black powder applications so far. At the quote stage, the customer wanted Weir to confirm that there would be a minimal pressure drop across the valve.

The customer requested that the valves specified must be provided with a tungsten carbide valve trim in order to protect against erosion. The particular challenge with tungsten carbide of this size is that it needs to be sintered in an oven to achieve its overall hardness. The Weir team worked closely with the customer to capture all key requirements, and was delighted to finally confirm that they had identified a method of production which would meet their needs. The team later discovered that; not only would this trim be one of the first of its size in the industry, but that their team was the only valve supplier who could provide the customer with tungsten carbide of this size.

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