For me, the offshore industry is one of the most interesting sectors we deal with. All the technical equipment that is needed and has to be tested and installed all around the world, in some cases at the most remote and isolated locations (somehow) never ceases to amaze me.
At the same time, there is this constant public eye, hanging around observing what is going on, perhaps similar to the Sword of Damocles. As long as the production is working according to plan, without any hiccups, everybody is happy and does not spare a thought for the work that has been done offshore. However, when events like the Deepwater Horizon and the troubles in the North Sea happen, the public comes down on the oil companies with the fury of a Greek titan.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression here or make the two aforementioned incidents appear less disastrous but, looking to the future, there have been some great new technical developments along with new regulations and improved standards. And these new developments and standards also enable the oil & gas sector to move forward and to advance into even more remote places such as the arctic oil and the oil sands areas.
Several years ago, these regions were off limits due to costs and due to the fact that the right equipment was simply not available yet. But now, with the increasing demand for oil & gas from all around the world (especially from the emerging markets), companies can push the boundaries further and enter these regions.
To reach these goals and the resources of those locations, valves play an important part. And the manufacturers of valves, actuators, and valve parts, know this challenge. They actively seek to come up with new products, new developments, enhanced technologies, and new systems and networks to raise the quality and safety level of the oil and gas production, in other words to make the lives of the EPCs and end-users easier. Another part of this is that service and training have become more important too as the technologies are more refined and complex than they used to be.
So, when bringing all the above together, the products, the services, and the training, it is quite obvious that the oil & gas industry remains an active, challenging and ever-evolving industry and the new and/or extended standards and regulations should make the lives of both the valve suppliers as well as the end-users/EPC contractors easier.
Editor-in-Chief of Valve World magazine