An offshore oil and gas project that will site new offshore platforms in challenging conditions in the North Sea has selected high-reliability valves and tube connection fittings from the Instrumentation Products Division of Parker Hannifin in Barnstaple.

Named after the pioneering Norwegian feminist Gina Krog, the new oil and gas field is located some 250km west of Stavanger, Norway. The offshore platforms for the Gina Krog project will be constructed rapidly. Parker anticipates that this could result in more than £10m of orders over the next 12 months for its Barnstaple facility - which employs over 200 directly and many more at local subcontractors.

Parker estimates that it will supply at least 10,000 individual valves, tube fittings and other components for this project, as well as some 10 kilometres of tubing. These will be used to construct liquid and gas instrumentation systems that will measure parameters such as temperature, pressure and flow to help control gas and oil and processing operations.

As well as manufacturing using high-grade stainless steel materials, this project will make extensive use of titanium and the 6Mo steel alloy in key parts of the fluid tubing systems. These specialist materials are required to combat the threat of corrosion, which is a major problem in harsh offshore environments such as the North Sea.

Parker’s know-how about machining valves and fittings using 6Mo and titanium, and its proven supply chain for these specialist raw materials, were important factors in securing this business. Another key aspect was the global nature of the Parker business, as the engineering and construction work for Gina Krog is taking place in numerous locations around the world.

“In the oil and gas production sector today there’s an intense focus on extending equipment lifetimes and eliminating the threat to reliability that corrosion brings. The know-how that Parker has built up in the area of anti-corrosion materials is bringing us considerable success,” says Parker Hannifin’s Andy Guest. “A large proportion of our production output is now manufactured from corrosion-resistant alloys instead of more conventional stainless steels.”

To help cope with the higher levels of business, Parker has invested around a million dollars in eight further computer-controlled machining centres for the Barnstaple facility. These new machines will be manufacturing many of the tube fittings required for Gina Krog. The automated machines add to the capability of one of the Parker Hannifin’s corporation’s most sophisticated manufacturing businesses worldwide. Parker in Barnstaple manufactures products using advanced build-to-demand ‘lean manufacturing’ principles. It was the first plant worldwide to be awarded ‘Lean Model Plant’ status by the $13bn Parker Hannifin corporation - a major accolade.