A ‘Herculean effort’ and a massive, 50-ton achievement

Transatlantic collaboration, in record time, results in 101,000-pound valve for Valley Crossing pipeline project

It was a Texas-sized solution—involving transatlantic teamwork, grace under pressure and 101,000 pounds of steel.

Enbridge’s 168-mile Valley Crossing Pipeline project will connect Texas natural gas producers with Mexican state-owned utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), and its 37 million customers, when it enters service in October 2018.

To further improve the capabilities of the Valley Crossing pipeline system, an additional large-scale mainline valve was added late in the project—with Enbridge and Italian industrial manufacturer Valvitalia recently teaming up to build that 42-inch-diameter valve, weighing in at a staggering 101,000 pounds, in record time.

“This involved a massive effort on a very tight timeline,” notes Tina Faraca, a Houston-based vice president of project execution with Enbridge.

“Production of this new valve required a Herculean effort, and that’s what we got,” adds John James, a Houston-based Enbridge procurement and supply chain manager.

With an expected capacity of 2.6 billion cubic feet a day, Valley Crossing will provide new market opportunities for the Texas natural gas industry, while helping Mexico meet its growing electric generation needs as power plants move from fuel oil to clean-burning natural gas.

This past spring, to meet Valley Crossing project construction timelines, Enbridge staff actively managed production of the additional valve, working with Valivitalia and its North American distributor, Quarter Turn Resources.

The close collaboration allowed Valvitalia to take a project that customarily demands about nine months—and finish the job in 18 weeks.

“Valvitalia created two daily 12-hour shifts, and added weekend shifts, to make this happen,” remarks Jack Owens of QTR. “Everything was machined in their shop, not outsourced, and the expedited delivery was only possible because of the longstanding relationship between Enbridge, Valvitalia and QTR.”

The mammoth valve was transported by air freight to Houston from Italy, arrived at the construction site in early June, and has since been installed.

“We arranged for coating to be done here locally, which saved time—and our inspectors were on hand at their production facility in Italy to give us real-time feedback,” says James.

“We really leaned on our strategic partnerships with Valvitalia and Quarter Turn. They understood the needs of this project, and they moved us to the front of the line.”