Home>Plant & Machinery>Valves>Valve management system

Valve management system

01 November 2017

By preventing incorrect valve line-up with the installation of a valve management system, valve operation specialist Sofis has ensured that tank storage provider Oiltanking Malta has significantly reduced its operational and financial risk exposure.

“Everyone in the oil and gas industry is aware of the risk of incorrect valve line-ups,” David Muscat, assistant technical manager at Oiltanking Malta said. “I really appreciate the help of the whole Sofis team in finding us a good solution to accommodate our needs and getting this project ready on time.”

History shows that, during tank storage operations, incidents of miscommunication or accidental operation of the wrong valve(s) can lead to significant risk exposure for the terminal operator. Oiltanking Malta identified the potential risk and cost associated with incorrect valve line-ups and was looking for a tailor-made solution.

By combining valve interlocks and a key management system (KMS) from Sofis with its existing distributed control system (DCS), Oiltanking Malta has mitigated the risk of incorrect valve line-ups to the maximum possible extent. In addition, operators can now perform multiple valve line-up procedures simultaneously, while valve changeovers are carried out more efficiently.

Tankers are loaded from a specific set of storage tanks. The pipework between these tanks and the tanker needs to be opened, while all remaining pipework is closed off. The DCS tells the KMS which tanks are to be used, and the KMS then releases the keys that operate the manual valves required for the loading procedure. When the keys are used to operate the valves, each valve releases a second key and all second keys are returned to the KMS. Finally, the KMS signals to the DCS that all valves are now in the correct position, and the DCS ensures that loading begins automatically.