Natural gas is often transformed into liquefied natural gas (LNG). This allows its volume to squeeze 600 times smaller, and become more economical and safer to transport between continents. The actual process behind the liquification however requires temperatures less than -162ºC (323.6 ºF) and this is where safety should always come first.
Safety is also the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Metso. At the location of my work, where the valves for oil and gas applications are produced, we have further specialized in cryogenic testing. This means that we have a special laboratory for ensuring valve reliability in the most extreme conditions, such as the liquification process of natural gas. The process itself is demanding due to the huge temperature and pressure differences.
Metso’s task as an original equipment provider is to guarantee full prevention for environmental hazards happening during the natural gas lifecycle. It is also the demand from the customer’s side, as they are finally responsible for safe operations at the plant. In the cryogenic state-of-the-art laboratory in Hakkila, Finland, we can test valves sized from 4” up to 100” in test temperatures as low as -196 ºC (384.8 ºF) with liquefied nitrogen. The test pressures can also vary up to 200 bar upon request.
According to Jarkko Ilonen, Production Supervisor, Metso Flow Control, the testing follows a procedure agreed upon with the customer. Today, it is possible for the client to follow the full process via Skype from the beginning when submerging the valve into the liquefied nitrogen, all the way to the final inspection. This way both parties can be assured that the safety standards and customer requirements are fulfilled.