It may seem like the simplest question to ask — what is a pop-off valve? The simplicity in the question belies some of the problems that plague commercial/industrial/mechanical settings. Far too often, the terminology used in industries can become fairly interchangeable, leading to confusion within the ranks.

Depending on the industry, said confusion can cause costly delays in preliminary design & engineering stages, let alone project completion. However, confusion with terminology in oil & gas can actually be detrimental to the safety of personnel, if not deadly.

Pop-off valves are often referred to as pressure relief valves (PRVs). While their function is similar, they aren’t quite the same thing. In the most basic sense, a pressure relief valve acts as a safety feature, set to open at a preset pressure so that the buildup of pressure in roustabout work is regulated. However, sometimes this safety feature does not engage, causing a near-immediate threat to drills, machinery, and anyone in the vicinity.

Enter the pop-off valve. It is a last-resort safety precaution aimed as backup to the initial PRV. The big difference between the two types of valve has to do with how they reduce pressure. PRVs engage when a preset pressure is reached in a system. Both the opening and closing of the valve is gradual, so as to keep an immediate depressurization from causing damage. Pop-off valves open because they are being called into immediate service to fix a major problem as quickly as possible.

For those in the oil and gas industry, there is always concern over the sometimes corrosive effects of the raw materials with which machinery & other hardware interact. While inspections are frequent and teams in the field regularly look-out for each other, degradation in critical areas is always of consequence. Pop-off valves can be made in a variety of materials like brass and stainless steel. Choosing the right make-up of the valve starts with knowing the environment in which it will be operating, as well as the materials with which it will be interacting. Of note are valves that can offer exceptional corrosion resistance, be highly durable, and provide a long service life.

Knowing what a pop-off valve does really comes down to understanding what it is. Once a clear understanding of the terminology is had, the work can safely begin. The oil and gas industry faces many difficulties, the least of which is being productive in the field. Having the right team on hand to make the most of all wells, sour or not, is essential. Versatile & highly qualified personnel with experience in all manner of roustabout work is a fantastic start.

The significance of a pop off valve may seem trivial to come companies, but not CCI Culberson Engineering & Construction. Quality service, expertise, and a commitment to safety are what make us stand out from other oil & gas and infrastructure solution providers. Contact us today.