Underground gas storage has provided one of the latest success stories for Rotork valve actuators in the Baltic country of Latvia. The unique geological conditions in the country are ideal for the underground storage of natural gas, for both the country's domestic use and for gas en-route from Russia to other Baltic countries.
These facilities are being developed to secure the supply of natural gas to Baltic countries by the upgrading of existing facilities. Capacity of the storage site at Incukalns is 4.4 billion cubic metres after reconstruction. This project has involved the installation of 330 IQ and IQT ATEX certified explosionproof intelligent electric valve actuators, in contracts awarded to Rotork's Latvian agency Rino.
The majority of the actuators operate ball valves controlling the receiving of the gas and its injection into the storage wells. Additional IQM modulating actuators are installed on ball valves in the site’s metering plant. All actuators are connected to PLCs and controlled by a centralised SCADA system designed and manufactured by Olimps.
The larger, gas receiving ball valves, in sizes up to 1,000mm, are operated by IQ actuators in combination with IW quarter-turn gearboxes manufactured by Rotork Gears. Smaller ball valves are operated by IQT direct drive quarter-turn actuators.
Experience with Rotork actuators in Latvia, combined with a reputation for quality, ease of installation and value for money, contributed to the decision to specify the IQ and IQT actuators at Incukalns. Equally important, the presence of dedicated and expert local support provided by Rino offered additional assurance to the customer and end-user. The plant upgrade at Incukalns has been carried out by OAO Giprospecgaz, a specialist subsidiary of OAO Gazprom, Russia's largest extractor of natural gas. The four-part project commenced in 2004 and was completed in 2008.