December 2008

Who profits from pipeline?

Regarding the "New Alaskan pipeline …" feature in InTech (August 2008): Who gets the market for this great natural resource?  Is it one more outrageous profit subsidy for the petroleum industry?  Or, as it should be, strictly for the consumption of the U.S. and our friends and ally in Canada? This is not isolationism; it is a necessity. If it more than meets the needs for the U.S. and Canada, then hold the excess in reserve. The country desperately needs lower prices, or will the state of Alaska and the corporations reap the continuing outrageous profits. If history repeats itself, anything which a bureaucracy has control of, the profits rarely stay with the tax payers.

Regnald Spencer



Jim Strothman

Correcting the problem

Excellent "The Final Say" by George Buckbee in the August InTech.

To add, there are occasions when we grapple with problematic equipments, instruments, and systems and resort to a regular maintenance to set it right, and then keep doing it again and again. Once we are able to break through and get a solution to the problem, this saves by way of reducing outage, reducing the repeat maintenance expenses, and reducing the loss in process due to the bad equipment. All these, if properly accounted for, shall definitely be acknowledged and rewarded.

Just for an example, we had a control valve in urea service; the gland packing was glass loaded Teflon rope with square cross section. This valve had a problem of frequent gland leak. We used to repack the gland every opportunity; we procured the packing from OEM, tried local made ones, tried to improvise with grapphited Teflon, but all failed and we kept on packing to arrest the leak. We thought of replacing the bonnet with one having adjustable gland type one so we can tighten gland on line; this proposal was becoming very expensive. In the meantime, while maintaining some other valve in urea service, we noticed use of V-Teflon type packings, which take enough compression and have margin for slight expansion in place. We tried the V-Teflon packing set after arranging some of proper size. It worked and worked well. Now, we almost do not need to pack the valve; there is no nuisance of urea coming out of gland, no stuck-up of the valve due to urea deposits, reduced maintenance, and happy life for our technician as well as operation.

S.K. Bhattacharjee, India