Petroleum Production & Refining

Oil refineries employ complex piping networks to transport crude oil—a versatile raw petroleum material used in several of production processes—to different processing units for conversion into other materials, including fuel, oil, distillate, and petrochemical feedstock. Crude oil is also the chemical foundation of a broad range of consumer products, including industrial solvents, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and other chemical products.

One of its most common applications is in the manufacturing of diesel oil, gasoline, and other fuels. Petroleum distillation can produce several grades of oils. Each grade has its distinctive qualities and use cases ranging from use in home heating and stoves and ovens to use as lubricants in vehicles (including trucks, automobiles, aircraft, marine and trains).

As petroleum production and refining processes are crucial to both industrial and commercial applications, ensuring the proper operation of the components and systems which facilitate them, such as valves, is equally as important.

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Industry Challenges

Valves used in petroleum production and refining applications, such as check and control valves, must be engineered to perform dependably in a wide range of extreme environmental conditions, including:

  • Extremely high temperatures (i.e., more than 1,500 F or 816 C)
  • High pressures (more than 25,000 psig)
  • Cryogenic (-150 degrees F or -101 degrees C) or cryogenic for liquefied natural gas (-260 degrees F or -162 degrees C) temperatures
  • Low-pressure environments

In addition to these harsh conditions, the remote locations of valve applications also present design and construction challenges. For example, deep-sea valves operate 10,000 feet (or 3,048 meters) under the sea, while pipeline valves are exposed to the extremely high temperatures, such as are found in the desert. Although valves in these extreme environments remain open or closed for extended periods, they are still required to function properly and reliably, even when not regularly cycled.

Valves used in pipeline systems are required to perform over the life span of a producing oil or gas well, which is largely dependent on several factors, including current economies and recovery techniques. Newly found oil and gas sources in shale formations add to the challenges of designing and construction of valves because the pipelines are required to connect the oil or gas source to a processing facility that is miles away.

Case Studies and Resources

Case Study: The ROI of Reliable DFT® Valves

Critical system components, such as check valves, must have excellent durability to reliably and efficiently withstand pressure, wear, and damage. Although quality and durability are often overlooked in exchange for low upfront costs, the return on investment (ROI) of quality products significantly outweighs the long-term costs of using less expensive, inferior quality products.

The following case study on the reliability of check valves illustrates this concept:

A utility facility recently completed a 20 year ROI study involving DFT check valves compared to swing check valves and found a significant ROI and savings when using quality DFT® check valves. When comparing valve reliability and costs for 150# and 300# valve classes, the 150# swing check valves failed at a higher rate and required replacement four times per year, at the cost of $111,000 over the course of the decade. On the other hand, the DFT® silent check valves needed to be replaced just once every three years, with significant savings of over $94,000. The 300# valves showed similar results.

For further information on the results, view the case study page.

Case Study: Preparing for an Upcoming Plant Outage

Manufacturers across the country often shut down their plants for a couple of weeks once a year to perform necessary cleaning and maintenance tasks to facilitate short- and long-term goals. Careful planning and communication are required for a successful shutdown.

The following case study illustrates our expert’s analysis of one of our client’s plant shutdown preparations:

During a pre-shutdown visit to a plant, a DFT® valve expert  performed an impromptu extended inspection and discovered a potential issue in a methane gas system that was using an 8-inch, 150-pound swing check valve being used. Although not an issue in and of itself, due to the low flow nature of the system, the 8-inch valve was too large and would eventually cause system problems. Our expert recommended a fix, and the client ordered the new valve, scheduling its installation during the next shutdown, to help prevent unnecessary downtime and expenditures.

View the case study page for more on our expert’s inspection and findings.

eBook: The Rise of Chemical Processing in America

Download our eBook, “The Rise of Chemical Processing in America”, to find out how ethylene is made, how it impacts the consumer goods industry, and what it means for the future of manufacturing in America.

eBook: Severe Service Control Valves Explained

Download our eBook, “Severe Service Control Valves Explained”, to learn about severe service control valves and the types of applications that require them. It also includes a helpful checklist for readers to assist in choosing the right service valve replacement.


Petroleum production and refining operations are highly involved processes that require components and systems to meet exacting industry standards. To fulfill and exceed these requirements, professionals utilize different types of control and check valves to control their processes.

At DFT® Inc., we have been manufacturing check valves and severe service control valves for more than 75 years. Our goal is to solve valve problems and prevent valve failures.. We specialize in providing valves that meet our customers’ requirements rather than using off-the-shelf solutions.

Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you with your check and control valve needs.