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HRV celebrates 25th anniversary

A quarter century ago HRV-1 was shipped off to sea.

It made a brief return to Master Flo Houston in 2018, when on its 20th birthday it was brought in for an evaluation and rebuild.

On that occasion, Master Flo personnel were excited to see their first HRV return home again. They even tried to see if the end user would retire the trailblazing valve so it could be commemorated in full. However, technicians found little wrong with it, with lead Master Flo Service Technician Tony Kacala stating at the time that he was “Surprised it was in such good condition.”

The customer requested a rebuild for return to service and with that HRV-1 received new seals, trim, and an updated actuator and off to the field it went. Since then, HRV-1 has been dependably performing its job and living up to its acronym of ‘Highly Reliable Valve’ to the fullest.

HRV-1 back in Houston during its last visit.

The above background info was kindly provided by Master Flo Project Engineer Jason Wipf, who also let us know that five years have now passed since HRV-1 briefly made its way back to Houston for a short visit and some TLC.

That means HRV-1 is now celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, marking a major milestone in the product line’s history.

“The HRV design was intriguing to customers not only because of reliability that came from the proven track record of Master Flo’s choke technology but also because it solved one of the complex issues at that time,” said Master Flo Director of Technology Larry Bohaychuk, one of the team members who worked on the original design.

“The HRV design is an insert retrievable choke which means it uses a retrievable cartridge that contains the trim, stem, bonnet, and actuator that can be retrieved from the body subsea. Although this was a third generation insert retrievable choke for Master Flo, it was the first in the industry to utilize a lightweight, full mechanically operated running tool. The Master Flo designed, compact 30-inch diameter tool used to retrieve and install a choke insert, replaced the very large and expensive running tools common to the industry and stripped a zero from the cost.

“Traditional running tools were the size of an office and cost over a million dollars, so this forced end users to rent the tool when needed. This innovative low-cost design allowed customers to purchase their own running tool instead of renting it from the OEM as needed,” explained Bohaychuk.

HRV-1 doing its job dutifully subsea.

As the inaugural HRV customer, our highly valued end user has also played a major part in the valve’s history.

“They know the importance that technology plays in this industry and recognize our ability to always rise to the challenge,” said Master Flo Aftermarket Account Manager Walter Emmott. “Over the years our relationship with them has driven our organization to leverage our ingenuity to evolve and develop new solutions and technology. These improvements not only unlock more value for the customer but keep our products at the forefront of our industry.”

To get an idea of just how much production HRV-1 has facilitated, publicly available records from the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management show that on one of its two deployments roughly 4.6 million barrels of oil and 8.7 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas have passed through the choke.

Or, as Wipf helpfully puts into perspective:

“If HRV-1’s reported production was used for automobile travel and electrical production, the crude would produce nearly 92 million gallons of gasoline/diesel or 2.3 BILLION miles of driving. For the natural gas  that would be nearly 1 BILLION kilowatt hours of electricity to power modern life. This does not even include other biproducts the remaining 2.4 million barrels of crude made that include everything from asphalt, jet fuel, heating oil, lubricants and modern plastics.”

HRV-1’s nameplate before being shipped off to duty and then upon its return to Houston 20 years later.

As it just so happens, Master Flo Houston recently welcomed two employees from the inaugural end user for choke training a few weeks ago. A wonderful full circle moment that highlights our ongoing collaboration and strong partnership.

In honour of HRV-1 celebrating a quarter century of service, Mr. Wipf has provided some parting words:

“Wherever HRV-1 is producing oil and gas for the world’s energy needs, the folks at Master Flo Valve wish it a happy 25th!”

Two technicians from the end user who deployed the inaugural HRV pose for a photo following their choke training at Master Flo Houston.

Two technicians from the end user who deployed the inaugural HRV pose for a photo following their choke training at Master Flo Houston.

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