12 April, 2024

The importance of cleanliness in the oil & gas sector

03 January, 2020

British Fluid Power Association member companies Pall Corporation, Hydac Technology Ltd. and MP Filtri consider the critical part filtration equipment plays within the particularly challenging environments found within the oil & gas sector.

For any hydraulic system, cleanliness is crucial in order for the equipment to function reliably and to avoid unscheduled costly downtime. Moreover, equipment used within the oil & gas sector can face some of the most challenging environmental conditions found in any industry, making effective cleanliness methodologies even more important. Effective filtration systems are the great enablers of fluid cleanliness, and, as Oliver Barnett, offshore product manager – Offshore Sales Division, Hydac Technology Ltd, explains, filtration applications used within oil & gas are relied on for the wellbeing of a wide range of equipment. “Well Head Control Panels (WHCP), for example, can be found everywhere from oil platforms to deserts, and usually require about three small filters for low flow rates on each wellhead running hydraulic oil,” he explained. “They normally need stainless steel cartridge housings for the filters in order to meet the high corrosion resistant requirements for these types of environments.”

Other common applications requiring filtration are hydraulic power units (HPU) used for actuation. Barnett pointed out that these can be found in any kind of offshore/onshore/desert oil and gas application. Lube oil systems commonly found on oil platforms are used for transporting oil from the main tank to the engine. As Barnett explained, stainless steel-housed filters are required for these systems to protect the turbines. Further applications for filtration include installation workover control systems and chemical injection systems.


Some of the more unusual applications for filtration highlighted by Barnett include subsea boosting. “When an oil field is closed down there can be approximately 20 to 25% of the oil reserve still left in the well,” he said. “To extract some of this remaining reserve, an HPU is put on the seabed. An HPU normally has three filters mounted to its hydraulic system. If the HPU is submerged to 3000 m deep 300 bar is required, so the deeper the wells the higher the pressure required. We have seen 1400 bar for filters topside and even a few instances – in the case of testing – 2000 bar.”

Remote operated vehicles (ROV) in seawater is another important but less common application that requires filtration equipment. “Carbon steel filter housings can be used on ROVs, and I’ve also seen aluminum used,” Barnett pointed out. “However, in many cases they are being swapped out for stainless steel in order to extend their lifespan.” He added that another long-term application is subsea control modules (SCMs) used to control each wellhead. These SCMs normally have two or four filters fitted to them, one medium pressure (345 bar) on high pressure (690 bar).

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