VALVES: your supplier can make a real difference

<i>The right supplier can make the difference</i>
The right supplier can make the difference
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Sourcing valves and filters might seem straightforward, but there are times when choice of supplier can make a big difference to the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the supply line.

As most people know, oil reserves are becoming hard to find, and even harder to recover. That’s why fields like Peregrino, 85km off the coast of Brazil are such important and valuable discoveries. Peregrino, which is being developed by StatoilHydro AS, has a recoverable volume of between 300 – 600 million barrels, and the company plans to start producing 100,000 barrels a day in 2010. In fact, seismic studies show that the field extends into a nearby block, extending its potential even further.

Extracting oil from off-shore fields is a complex, expensive and often dangerous job involving construction of fixed platforms and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facilities. Each of these uses the most advanced technologies available and must comply with the strictest quality and safety standards. Every product, from the largest steel leg to the smallest piece of equipment, must meet strict specifications in terms of quality and safety.

Products such as the valves used in a desanding and filtration unit may seem like a relatively small component in such a large project but they are equally critical to its success. In fact, they are subject to extremely rigorous specification and testing processes, including micrographic examinations, dye penetrant and hydrostatic pressure tests. In fact, the criteria is so specific, that many products must even meet special painting requirements – they must be painted with approved paints, by an appropriately qualified person to pre-determined application and test procedures.

Making sure that every product satisfies these strict standards is not easy. But companies such as Econosto UK can help. This is for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the company is one of the UK's premier suppliers of valves and related products and has 25 years experience of working with the oil and gas industries. As part of the Econosto Group, it supplies own brand ECON valves, as well as ranges from globally recognised manufacturers, and is well-placed – possibly even uniquely placed – to meet the requirements of the end user while maintaining a highly competitive price.

For example, an order such as the Peregrino project, with its complex specifications (a large proportion of the valves need to be made of high grade Duplex Stainless Steel to Norsok standards) and vast quantity and range of products – over 400 items from ball valves, gate, globe and wafer check through to high performance butterfly valves in a wide range of sizes – requires a significant level of dedicated management. Few suppliers in the valve industry can offer this but such a resource yields many benefits. One of these benefits is the fact that Econosto can proactively evaluate the contents of a tender and, where required, suggest alternatives which may perform better or have an improved life span, helping to achieve a better overall cost-efficiency of the package provided. Dedicated project management also helps customers manage their projects much more efficiently by minimising man-hours and aiding delivery of the project on time and within budget.

Yet another benefit of dedicated project management – of particular relevance in projects such as Peregrino – is the ability to ensure standards compliance and the highest levels of product quality. Econosto’s team is highly experienced at, and focused on, providing comprehensive documentation packs which include all the necessary paperwork to demonstrate regulatory conformance, materials traceability, standards compliance and performance testing.

Or take change management. An order of this size is a highly dynamic entity: it can change on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis. Unless there is a skilled and committed resource in place to manage this change, and re-source products quickly and efficiently as required, it is easy to lose synchronization with customer requirements and, ultimately, provide a sub-optimal service. And efficient reaction to change is not all that’s required – a good supplier will also ensure that product information is supplied in a format which is consistent with the customer’s project management systems and processes, making it easy for them to work with supplied data at all times.

But this is far from all that sets Econosto UK apart in the industry. It also has access to a global network of suppliers and large stocks, ensuring it can deliver extremely competitive pricing and fast lead-times. It also has the skills and the resource to meet all customer documentation requirements, such as drawings and certification, and to provide customised solutions where required.

Quote

“Econosto’s ability to go the extra mile for its customers, through the use of dedicated project teams and access to global supplies, has played a major role in establishing the company as one of the leading valve suppliers in the world.”

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