What is ‘OPEC’?

You might have heard something in the news recently about OPEC or OPEC Plus but you’re not quite sure what people are talking about. Other than the fact that this term is used in the context of oil, namely foreign oil, a large number of people have no idea what OPEC is! Don’t worry because you’re not alone! Let’s dive in:

 

What is OPEC?

OPEC is an acronym for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries which is a group of now 13 nations who are the major exporters of oil in the world. The 2020 countries in OPEC are:

    1. Iran
    2. Iraq
    3. Kuwait
    4. Libya
    5. Algeria
    6. Nigeria
    7. Venezuela
    8. Saudi Arabia
    9. United Arab Emirates
    10. Equatorial Guinea
    11. Gabon
    12. Congo
    13. Angola

 

That’s the basic gist of it as far as members, but why was OPEC formed in the first place? What are the benefits of having such an organization in the world? Read below to find out more about OPEC as well as its function, the countries that left, and more!

 

What You Need to Know About OPEC

OPEC was founded in 1960 as oil demand around the world started to exponentially grow year by year and reaching new heights every decade. The organization was formed at a critical moment as various under-developed and developing nations began to pump and export crude oil and petroleum. This opened up avenues for market manipulation which could have dramatic effects on barrel prices around the world and subsequently financial markets associated with them.

 

Therefore, OPEC was founded as a measure to implement sound policies and metrics for how much oil can be pumped and sold. Ultimately this allows the world markets to keep a good eye on the petroleum industry as well as to measure aggregate supply and demand. This in turn prevents any dramatic spikes or fluctuations, allowing producers and purchasers to have a solid economic relationship.

 

The founding members of OPEC include some of the largest oil exporters in the world, including Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. Throughout the years almost a dozen nations have joined OPEC, of which Qatar was the first non-founding member to join in 1961. Ironically, Qatar is also the first country to leave the organization in an effort to focus more on its huge natural gas potential. This year, Ecuador left as well, leaving just 13 nations in OPEC.

How Does OPEC Work?

The headquarters for the organization is in Vienna Austria as its executive branch carries out the mission which as they describe it is “to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic, and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.”

 

It’s important to note that OPEC considered itself an intergovernmental structure and based on its slogan, the commitment to consumers, buyers, sellers, producers, and investors is taken into account. Currently being led by Nigeria’s own Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the organization is open to new members as long as they share and uphold the same values and frameworks as the other nations. Of course, you also have to be a large oil exporter to be considered as a new member… that kind of goes without saying.

 

Is OPEC Too Powerful?

There is of course growing concern around the world regarding the motives of OPEC nations as well as the undeniable power the organization has, not only on matters relating to oil export and petroleum production but also overall financial markets and even geopolitical influences around the globe.

 

According to OPEC’s website, members are in hold of most of the world’s oil reserves, which at the moment constitutes a tearjerking 79%. With oil still the number one source of energy around the world, you have to think to yourself: how much power does the OPEC really have and how far does it extend?

 

It could easily be argued that OPEC nations can and are motivated to artificially increase the price of a barrel of crude oil to exponentially grow their own profit margins on massive exports. It’s no secret that most of the OPEC nations do not fully embrace democracy and all her values. So it’s not entirely farfetched to assume that the leaders of these nations are highly motivated to control supply by lowering or increasing daily barrel output.

 

Also, keep in mind that most of these nations were developing or none-developed countries before they started to integrate modern technology and export oil around the world. That being said, their cost per barrel extraction is relatively higher than for instance in the United States or Canada. Therefore, all roads point to a potential mutual interest bordering on conspiracy, or at the very least a highly motivated need to keep oil prices at levels many would consider expensive.

 

Does this mean that the OPEC is too powerful and that member countries will amass political strength over the next few decades? Not likely. It’s true that up until recently crude oil prices had been steadily rising with prices around $60 per barrel. However, this unprecedented growth was rather short-lived as prices briefly dropped to below zero during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

That’s right! Oil prices dropped into negative numbers where suppliers were actually paying buyers to take the stuff off their hands. Still, this sudden drop impacted everyone across the board… not just OPEC countries but the U.S., China, Russia, and Canada as well! The real secret lies in how the oil is pumped.

 

While most countries pump out oil by drilling vertically, the U.S. uses fracking technology which allows for oil to be extracted horizontally, thus dramatically increasing the amount of oil that can be pumped out. This allows the States to maintain the lowest cost per barrel rate among any country on earth at just $36. At the current crude oil price of around $40, it really only allows the U.S. a small margin of profit, or at least minimize the financial losses.

 

So even with the majority of the world’s oil reserves, OPEC nations can’t hope to maintain a sustainable economy based on oil production alone, nor can they hedge their bets on becoming a dominant world power without modern fracking technology and consistently high oil prices over the next few decades.

 

Why Aren’t the U.S., Russia, and China Part of OPEC?

Now you may be wondering why three of the largest oil exporters and producers are not among the OPEC members. While there may be a number of political or ideological reasons for this, the simplest answer is that these countries want to remain independent sources for oil production and export in an effort to control their own supply chain and remain free to conduct business as beneficial to them not to OPEC or the world.

 

There you have it! Everything you would need to know about the fundamentals of OPEC, what it is, the members, and how they operate around the world. Now keep a close eye on oil prices as the world works through the rest of crazy year!

Give us a call at 281-484-8325 or shoot us an email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns on your order.

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What Is Crude Oil?

What Is Crude Oil?

The 2020 decade went off with a bang! Seems like every month has some breaking news story. One thing that was almost overshadowed by the overwhelming amount of information was the extreme price volatility of crude oil, leaving many wondering:

What is Crude Oil? At its very core, crude oil is simply unrefined petroleum, a raw natural resource, and commodity that is a type of fossil fuel and when refined can be used as gasoline, fuel, diesel, and other petroleum products.

Of course, there is more to it than that. Read below to find out more about crude oil and why the world and the markets go crazy over this resource.

What Is Crude Oil?

Crude Oil Composition

Crude oil is the primary source of energy production as the world stands today. It’s referred to as a fossil fuel due to the fact that it was created almost 400 million years ago from decaying organic remains like algae and plankton at the bottom of the oceans! Add some intense heat and pressure and pop it in a sediment covered oven for a few million years and you have yourself crude oil or “black gold”. The actual composition includes mostly oil hydrocarbons some nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen and very little iron, copper, and nickel.

Seems pretty straight forward right? Not exactly. You see, after millions of years of “cooking” the oil is in its raw form. It requires extraction and refinement before it can be used as jet fuel, gasoline for your car, or turned into some other petroleum product.

The Business of Crude Oil

As the Industrial Revolution really took off large economies around the world started to feel the need for more and more energy which is where the drilling and refinement of crude oil became one of the defining traits of any developed country. Those nations with the best drilling capabilities and most reserves are among the wealthiest economies today. Of course, this comes at no surprise considering crude oil is the most widely used energy source at the moment.

Today the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia lead the world in old production; however, this was not always the case. The U.S. in particular had a relatively large production shortage making them an energy importer. They relied heavily on the OPEC (or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) which was founded in 1960 and included nations like Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and others. With so much economic leverage these countries started to grow at exponential rates.

Crude Oil Pump Jack

This cycle continued into the 21st century when the United States developed a method of extraction widely known as fracking. Previously, drills allowed companies and countries to pump out crude oil vertically but fracking allowed for horizontal extraction as well which greatly increased the surface area from which oil could be released. This opened new allies for the United States who in recent years has become energy independent and is one of the largest oil exporters in the world. This step has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the influence and power of OPEC.

Investing in Crude Oil

Ok so now you know the basics and you’re thinking to yourself, “I could make some serious money off this thing!” Now before you go out there and start filling barrels up with oil and storing it in your garage you should know there are a few ways you can invest in oil and filling barrels is not your best bet.

There are several ways you can invest in oil, the most popular of which is purchasing futures or spot contracts. In doing so you invest in crude oil as a speculative asset or you hedge it against other positions. Commodity contracts for instance reflect the current price of a barrel of oil and they can be bought or sold on spot markets for the given market value.

Futures Contracts

Futures contracts on the other hand don’t take place immediately, instead, they act as an agreement to buy or sell barrels of oil at a set amount. This agreement is covered by a margin payment that makes up a certain percentage of the entire contract value. In most of the North American market, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude or New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) are used for oil contracts.

Oil prices have gone from highs of $60 per barrel to current lows of around $36. In fact, recently oil price plunged to zero and beyond into the negative. Meaning, producers were paying buyers to get rid of the commodity! A number of reasons impacted this major volatility including the fact that no one really needed oil. People stopped going to work and oil tankers pretty much stayed at sea, no economies were buying.

Luckily, prices have since rebounded but not all the way. This leaves many nations, who’s drilling capabilities aren’t as modern as the United States for example, in a financial crisis. The cost per barrel extraction in the U.S. is around $36, whereas in other developed countries like Canada it can be as high as $42 with some less developed countries drilling oil at over $50 per barrel.

Concerns with the Oil Industry

So where’s the bad news? Crude oil has its drawbacks both as a long-term investment and in terms of its environmental impact. It’s no secret that the use of oil in cars, jets, ships, and factories is significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and adding to climate issues. In recent decades this has become one of the most controversial political topics.

On one hand, the oil industry employs tens of thousands of people worldwide and when you consider the various industries that depend on oil, then you are looking at more like millions of jobs. Transitioning from economies that rely heavily on crude oil money is a difficult and long process. Still, many scientists and politicians warn of the dire consequences that extreme climate change could have on our lives including environmental catastrophes like the rise in sea levels and species-extinction to even economic issues like mass migration and displacement.

Due to the quickly growing segment of renewable energy sources, many analysts speculate that crude oil may not be a good long term investment. What can be said for certain; however, is that oil is still very much a needed and important resource that quite literally makes the world economy go round!

Give us a call at 281-484-8325 or shoot us an email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns on your order.

Don’t forget to check out our other free online resources!

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Flange Facing Considerations

Flange O’Clock – Episode 3

Join our host John Barnett as he explains and demonstrates many of the different Flange Facing Options available, including Raised Face, Flat Face, Ring Type Joint, Small & Large Male & Female, and Small & Large Tongue & Groove. Thank you for watching and we hope you found our video helpful! If there’s anything else you’d like to know, leave a comment and we’ll get your answer ASAP!

Feel free to check out Episode 1 about the 6 most common flange types here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9zHq0N-VoA&t=18s

You can also watch Episode 2: Pipe Flange Pressure Classes Per ASME B16.5 here: https://youtu.be/K5Ly-g_VvOM

Welcome back to Flange O’Clock.

Today, we’re going to be discussing several different flange facing options. The face of a flange is the side opposite the hub that faces the bolted connection of the main flange flange fitting or flange valve. The most common face is the Raised Face flange, such as the one I have here. On this Class 150 flange, we have a 1/16 inch raised face. On flanges in Class 400 and higher, the raised face is a quarter-inch tall.
For more information regarding pressure classes, please see our previous video titled “Pipe Flange Pressure Classes.”

Raised Face and Flat Face

The raised face is intended to decrease the surface area of the seal, thus concentrating the surface pressure applied when mating the flange.The result is a stronger seal. The raised face has a machined serrated finish that will bite into the gasket whenever pressure is applied. Another option with a similar method of use is the flat face, sometimes called full face, which has a machined face across the surface of the flange with serration going from the OD all the way to the ID of the flange. These serrations then bite into the gasket just like they do with the raised face but, you have more surface area. The serrated face typically comes with either phonographic or concentric grooves.

Phonographic and Concentric Serrations

The phonographic groove is a continuous spiral from the outside of the face to the ID, or in the case of most blinds, to the center of the flange. I’d say think of a record but, since you’re watching this on the Internet in the 2020s you might not remember such things. Concentric facing is sometimes required for vacuum surface and looks similar to a bull’s-eye. To protect the serrated finish on the face of the flange, we have available face protectors like these. Our flanges are always shipped to protect the faces through shipping but, if you’d like you can ask for plastic snapping protectors that go into the bolt holes
like this and they will protect the serrations on the face from being dented or scratched. Sometimes the face is damaged in such a way that it will derate the flange so protecting the flange face is very important.

Ring Type Joint & Gaskets

There is also the ring type joint, or RTJ, that is used when a metal to metal seal is required or desirable. The metal ring gasket sits inside the groove of each face and as the flanges are bolted together the ring is crushed and deformed into the flange of groove creating a strong metal to metal seal. These are useful in high temperature and high pressure applications but also available in all pressure classes, like this 150# that takes an R-15 gasket.

Alternate Flange Facings

As we’ve seen so far the most common flange facings are designed to work with identical faces such as raised face with raised face, RTJ with RTJ and flat face with flat face. Other flange facing options are available that we refer to in the back of our catalog as “Alternate Flange Faces.” These are tongue and groove and male and female, each of which are available in either small or large configurations. In this case, we have a small tongue with a small groove we have a small male with a small female.  Note you’ll need special gaskets in each of these cases.

Note that everything we’ve covered so far on facing has not addressed the type of flange. Most of these are available in all types. So when calling out the facing required please remember to include all other required descriptors like size, pressure class, the flange type, the schedule  (if it’s a weld neck or a socket weld) and the material of construction.

So whether you need a 1/2″ 150# Flat Face Slip On in A105, a 12″ 600# RTJ Weld Neck Extra Heavy in 316, or a 60″ 300# Raised Face Blind Series A in F11 or some oddball in inconel 625.

We’re here to get you the flanges you need when you need them.

Call or email us today!

If you still need help deciding which is better for your project, pipeline, or job, feel free to call (281-484-8325) or  e-mail the Texas Flange sales office anytime from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

You can also drop a quick question or inquiry into our quick contact form.

With our decades of expertise, we can help you get the flanges you need!

If you’d like to learn more about flange specifications, types, uses and more feel free to peruse our informational blog posts, free 3-D and CAD drawings, or flange charts.

The Differences Between Forged Flanges and Cast Flanges

Are Flanges Forged or Cast?

Flanges can either be forged or cast. Both manufacturing methods have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the application you have in mind for your flange. Here at Texas Flange, we primarily deal with forged flanges due to the outdated nature and lower standard of quality of cast flanges. Below, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both forged steel flanges and cast iron flanges.

CAST IRON FLANGES

Casting Process for Flanges

Casting is the process in which the metal is heated until molten then poured into a mold or vessel to create the desired shape. They are often used in cases that are too large, complicated, or other wise not suitable for forgings. Some of the advantages of flanges manufactured in this way include lower costs of production, the ability to make more intricate parts at lower costs, as well as having no true upper limit on size when it comes to your part.

There are, however, some drawbacks to cast iron flanges. The most important of these being how susceptible they are to internal defects. Due to this, cast flanges are not suitable for high pressure applications or applications in which the probability of corrosion is high. Despite advancement of casting technology and computer optimization of the casting process and designs, it is still difficult to meet the standards required for petrochemical industry applications.

FORGED STEEL FLANGES

Forged Flange

Forging is the application of mechanical and thermal energy to steel billets or ingots to cause material to change its shape while still in solid form. Forgings offer consistency in composition and structure.  Due to the nature of the production of forged flanges, the production costs are higher than that of cast flanges. Though they cannot have the complex shapes that cast flanges can be made in, their internal structure is more compact and therefore seldom have the defects the often affect cast flanges. Forging eliminates defects found in casting such as shrinkage, porosity, cavities, or cold pour issues.

Generally, forged flanges are stronger and more reliable than cast flanges because the grain flows of the steel are altered, confirming to the shape of the part. The tight grain structure of forgings makes the pieces mechanically stronger, and more resistant to general wear and tear than cast flanges. The higher quality, reliability, strength, and durability are why we deal mostly in forged flanges rather than cast flanges.

Here at Texas Flange, we offer forged flanges from 1/2″ nominal pipe size to 203″ OD in over a dozen different material grades. We value quality and strive to ensure that you are getting the right part for your application at a price and lead time that works for your business. Our salesmen work with you to ensure this. If you need a flange, give us a call at 281-484-8325 or send an e-mail to [email protected] to begin your inquiry.  While you’re here , feel free to peruse our free informational blog postsfree 3-D and CAD drawings, or flange charts.

A Note On Studding Outlet Flanges and Pad Flanges

Studding Outlet Flanges

Studding Outlet Flanges are usually designed to be installed in the inside or outside of vessels and tanks. The curving of the outlet should be ordered to fit the curvature of the shell, head, or pipe. These flanges can come in sizes from ½ inches to 24 inches, and the pressure ratings of 150# to 2500#. (All classes 150# – 300# should have a raised face of 1/16” and classes above that should be ¼” raised face. They can be ordered in Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, and alloy steel. A common alternative name for studding outlets is “pad flange.” To clarify, the pad flange and the studding outlet are the same part and pad flanges are not a variation of studding outlet.

Studding outlet flanges are made to order items offered in a variety of configurations. The most commonly used studding outlet flange in the industry is the flat bottom type. We also offer them in a shell mount, head mount, or alternate radius in order to set the flanges flush with your vessel. The least common outlet flange is the tangential mount, which is offset from a center line and therefore lacks symmetry. Though the mount detail is relatively complex, this typically does not affect the lead time compared to other flange styles.

If all your requirements are Flat Bottom, it may seem odd to add the extra expense of radiusing the backside. This is done to avoid restricting the flow of material through the line or tank that the studding outlet is attached to. The standard will always be to supply them Flat Bottom, but if you ever need the back side radiused, be sure to ask your sales representative.

If you think your next project needs a studding outlet, give us a call at 281-484-8325 or shoot us an email at [email protected] and one of our salespeople will work with you personally to ensure you get the part you need

How To Read A Material Test Report

What is a Material Test Report (MTR)?

Material test reports (MTR) are often also referred to as certified mill test reports, certified material test reports, mill test certificates, inspection certificates, certificate of tests. An MTR is a quality assurance document used in the metals industry that certifies a material’s chemical and physical properties and states a product made of metal (steel, aluminum, brass or other alloys) abides by an international standards organization (such as ANSI, ASME, etc.) specific standards.

Here is an example MTR from Texas Flange:

Sample Texas Flange MTR

While each mill typically has a different layout for their reports, the information on them is generally the same. A mill test report should include the following:

Product Description and Specification

A material’s size and dimensions will be included on an MTR and displayed as material dimensions. This will change depending on the raw material. For example, metal plates are measured in thickness, while pipes are measured in diameter.

The product specifications refer to the ASTM and ASME standards applied to a particular material. For example, metals used in pressure and vacuum applications are required to meet specific product specifications. ASTM standards have a prefix including the letter “A”. Standards from the ASME have an “SA” prefix.

Heat Code ( Commonly referred to as “Heat Number”)

MTRs should include heat codes, or heat number, for traceability.  Each code references a “heat”; a single grouping of forgings created from the same piece of billet in one forging session. Essentially, the heat code is the “DNA” or “fingerprint” of sorts for our products. Heat codes identify the physical and chemical composition of our flanges or custom components.

Along with the “heat”, mills forge an extra piece, often referred to as the “test piece” or “coupon”. Subsequently, this piece then undergoes “crashing” or destructive testing per ASME code to obtain physical traits. Chemistry values include the percentage of alloying elements such as Carbon, Chromium, Nickel, Sulfur, Phosphorus, Aluminum, and other alloys.

Physical Properties

Material Test Reports include physical values with respect to the requirements of the material. For example, some flanges undergo heat treatment processes like normalization or quenching and tempering, and as ASME flanges in pressure classes 400# and above require ASTM A105 carbon steel flanges to be heat treated automatically per code, this information would be included in the report.

Chemical Properties

MTRs include a breakdown of the material’s chemical properties. Depending on what alloy you’re purchasing, the chemical makeup of the metal will need to fall within required ranges.

Here at Texas Flange we provide all flanges or other components with MTRs per EN10204 3.1* at no additional charge. We ship Material Test Reports with your order or email copies directly to you at your request. Additionally, if you need a Certificate of Conformance for your order, we will provide this free of charge as well. Quality is critical in our service of providing materials for pressure vessels, refineries, offshore and onshore rigs, pipelines, and a seemingly endless number of alternate industrial applications. Therefore, our number one focus is making sure you get the flanges you need per your requirements. We take that responsibility very seriously.

Give us a call at  281-484-8325 or shoot us an email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns on your order.

Don’t forget to check out our other free online resources!

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Pipe Flange Pressure Classes Per ASME B16.5

Flange O’Clock: Episode 2

Join our host John Barnett as he explains and demonstrates what pipe flange pressure classes are, and the differences between each of the pressure classes per ASME B16.5: 150#, 300#, 400#, 600#, 900#, 1500# and 2500#.

We thank you for watching and hope you found our video helpful! If there’s anything else you’d like to know, leave a comment and we’ll get your answer ASAP!

Haven’t seen Episode 1 yet on most common types of flanges?

In this episode of flange o’clock, we’re going to go over pipe flange pressure classes.

Before me I have one-inch raised face slip-on flanges. All three of these are 1 inch raised face flanges per B16.5. B16.5 allows for a class of 150, class 300, class 400, class 600, class 900, class 1500, and finally class 2500, which is available up to 12-inch. ASME B16.5 is the standard for pipe flanges from half inch to 24-inch nominal pipe size. B16.47 for 60-inch Series A and Series B have different pressure classes that we can go over in another video.

Different Pressure Classes for Flanges

The difference between these three flanges is the pressure class! This is a class 150, this is a class 300, and this is a class 600. The differences are in the dimensions except for the bore! You see this is a one inch pipe that can be placed  in each of the flanges. So telling me it’s a one inch 4 bolt flange isn’t quite enough information. You can see that we have 1 inch 150 and 1 inch 300 have raised faces of a 1/16th inch. Contrast that with the 1/4 inch raised face height on the class 600. These dimensions can be found on pages 3 through 12 of the Texas Flange catalog.

Higher Flange Pressure Classes

Typically speaking, higher pressure classes are going to be heavier flanges. There are a couple exceptions to that. In class 400, small sizes up to three and a half inch nominal inclusive are identical to class 600 flanges. Likewise, class 900 flanges are identical to class 1500 flanges in all respects for half inch to the two and a half inch inclusive. So in this case, all three of these flanges have four bolt holes. That’s not enough to describe a flange completely. You can see the bolting chart on page 14 of our catalog. A 3 inch 150# flange has four bolt holes. Whereas a 3 inch 300# flange has eight bolt holes.

As we move from one pressure class to another we see that they get heavier and yes common sense dictates that they will be rated for a higher pressure but the 600 class, for instance, is not a 600 psi maximum service. When we say 150#, or 300#, or 600#, we’re referencing a class, not a maximum working pressure. I have here the A105 pressure temperature chart. So in the case of a 200 degree fahrenheit application, a class 150 flange would be good for 260 psig working pressure. In the case of a 600# flange at 400 degrees, your working pressure would be 1265 psig. Specifying the pressure class will help us ensure we get you the flanges you need when you need them!

Call or email us today!

If you still need help deciding which is better for your project, pipeline, or job, feel free to call (281-484-8325) or  e-mail the Texas Flange sales office anytime from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

You can also drop a quick question or inquiry into our quick contact form.

With our decades of expertise, we can help you get the flanges you need!

If you’d like to learn more about flange specifications, types, uses and more feel free to peruse our informational blog posts, free 3-D and CAD drawings, or flange charts.

The Most Common Flange Types

Flange O’ Clock: Episode 1

What are flanges? Join host John Barnett in Texas Flange’s new educational video series, Flange O’Clock, as he demonstrates and explains everything you need to know about flanges.

Today’s episode goes over the 6 most common flange types; Weld Neck, Threaded, Slip On, Lap Joint, Socket Weld, and Blind per ASME B16.5. Thank you for watching and we hope you learn a lot from our videos! If there’s anything you’d like to learn that we didn’t cover here, leave us a comment and we’ll get your answer ASAP.

In this video, I’m going to go over the six basic types of flanges per ASME B16.5

The Weld Neck, Threaded, Slip-On, Lap Joint, Socket Weld, and Blind Flange.

All six flanges before me are for one-inch nominal pipe size, class 150 per B16.5, and raised face. Or in short, 1” 150# RF, with the exception of the Lap Joint, which will be explained later.

Weld Neck Flanges

The Weld Neck flange is the most commonly requested flange. It features a neck extension with a tapered hub, a 37.5-degree bevel, and a 1/16” landing at the point of weld. This will butt directly onto another pipe with a similar bevel, where it will be welded together with a 75-degree weld. Because it butts directly onto pipe, it is going to match the OD and the ID of the pipe. You’ll need to tell us the schedule you’re using. You could also give us the ID, or inner diameter, which is another word for bore, or you can tell us the wall thickness. Once you give us any of those, we will be able to make your flange meet the pipe exactly.

Threaded Flanges

The Threaded flange, or companion flange, features an NPT. In this case, it’s a one-inch flange, so it has a one-inch Female National Pipe Thread center, which is used to mate to male threaded pipe. It’s a tapered thread, so when the pipe is fully threaded down, it will bottom out, like so. Threaded flanges are commonly used in reducing connections as well.

Slip-On Flanges

The Slip-On flange is a simple and cost-effective alternative to the Weld Neck flange. It has a straight through ID, and as the name implies, slips on to pipe. The pipe is then welded along the OD on the top of the hub. This separates the heat-affected zone from the rest of the flange. In larger sizes and higher pressure classes, you’ll see more of a hub. Other applications might call for the pipe to be pulled back 3/16 of an inch, and a 90-degree fillet weld being performed on the ID of the flange. It is possible to have both welds performed if the application calls for it.

Lap Joint Flanges

The Lap Joint flange is similar to the Slip-On, except it is always flat-face, and has a radius on the ID, or inner diameter, to accommodate a stub end. The normal application calls for the flange to slide up the pipe for your stub to be butt-welded directly onto your pipe, and then your flange will slide over the weld onto the stub end. You’ll see the stub end’s flair, or flanged portion, extends out and creates the raised face section of the bolted flange connection.

Socket Weld Flanges

The Socket Weld flange is similar to a Slip-On, except that it has a counter-bore step. This is convenient in situations where there is a space limitation. Just like a Slip-On, the pipe will go into the flange, but then butt up against that counter bore step, creating a flush surface along the ID of the pipe, and the ID of the flange. So, just like Weld Necks, Socket Welds will need to be specified with a schedule, or a bore, or ID or the pipe’s wall thickness. You tell us any of those, and we’ll make sure you get the flange you need.

Blind Flanges

The Blind Flange has no ID or threads. It is only used to cap off a line, bolting onto another flange, flanged fitting, or flanged valve. You’ll also notice it has no hub. Per B16.5, Blinds do not require hubs. You can also alter a Blind by drilling through to create a reducing Slip-On, from Blind, or drill and tap to create a reducing Threaded from Blind. In applications where you require a hub, which you’ll see in another video, we can provide a high hub blind and then alter per your requirements.

These six flange types are, of course, not the only types of flanges available. If you have need for anything else, be it plate flanges, metric flanges, high yield, carbon steel, stainless steel, nickel alloys, or anything else that’s round with bolt holes in it, we’d be happy to help. If you have any questions, give us a call or shoot us an email, that way we can get you the flanges you need, when you need them.

If you still need help deciding which is better for your project, pipeline, or job, feel free to call (281-484-8325) or  e-mail the Texas Flange sales office anytime from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Or you can drop a quick question or inquiry into our quick contact form. With our decades of expertise, we can help you get the flanges you need.

Check out Episode 2 HERE! We explain pressure class, why it’s important, and the difference between the different classes from 150# to 2500#!

If you’d like to learn more about flange specifications, types, uses and more feel free to peruse our informational blog posts, free 3-D and CAD drawings, or flange charts.

B16.47 Series A vs Series B: What’s The Difference?

B16.47 Series A Series B Flanges

ASME B16.5 and ASME B16.47

ASME B16.5 standard covers steel pipe flanges and flanged fittings from NPS ½” through NPS 24” in pressure classes 150 to 2500. This includes pressure ratings, dimensions, tolerances, materials, marking, and testing.  ASME B16.5 and ANSI B16.5 only cover sizes up to 24 inches. For bigger sizes, ASME B16.47 standard covers pipe flanges in sizes 26” through 60” and in pressure class ratings 75, 150, 300, 400, 600, and 900. Then, ASME B16.47 is further divided into ASME B16.47 Series A and ASME B16.47 Series B flanges for Blinds and Weldnecks.

The designation formerly referred to as MSS SP-44 flanges are now considered ASME B16.47 Series A flanges, while API 605 flanges are now ASME B16.47 Series B flanges. Materials covered in this standard are the same as ASME B16.5 except for nickel alloys. Due to this, they share the same pressure-temperature chart for the selection of flange materials.

What is the difference between ASME B16.47 Series A and Series B flanges?

ASME B16 47 Series A flanges are thicker, heavier and stronger than their Series B counterparts. They also can often handle more external loading than Series B. Series A flanges tend to be more costly than Series B flanges. ASME B16.47 Series B flanges need more but smaller fasteners, such as bolts & nuts. They also usually have a smaller bolt circle diameter than Series A flanges. Generally, there is less flange movement after installation due to the smaller bolt circle diameter. Both Series A and B define weld neck flanges and blind flanges in raised face type. However, Series A defines ring type joint (RTJ) flanges from Class 300 through Class 900 within this standard while Series B does not.

Series A flanges are popular for new pipeline projects or equipment. Meanwhile, many choose Series B flanges for refurbishment or replacement jobs.

If you still need help deciding which is better for your project, pipeline, or job, feel free to call (281-484-8325) or  e-mail the Texas Flange sales office anytime from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Or you can drop a quick question or inquiry into our quick contact form. With our decades of expertise, we can help you get the flanges you need.

If you’d like to learn more about flange specifications, types, uses and more feel free to peruse our informational blog posts, free 3-D and CAD drawings, or flange charts.

The Coronavirus, The Economy, & The State of Oil & Gas

  What is the COVID-19?

(Previously referred to as 2019-nCoV or more broadly, the coronavirus)

According to the CDC, COVID-19  is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). The potential public health threat posed by the coronavirus is high, both globally and to the United States. The fact that this virus has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from the coronavirus is considered low at this time.

The intent of this blog is to inform any of you who may be more curious about the coronavirus aka 2019n-CoV aka COVID-19, and more specifically (since Texas Flange has no epidemiologists or any health care specialists on staff) how this virus is affecting industrial flanges, the Oil and Gas industry, and the economy overall.  While a serious subject matter without a tremendous amount of clarity available, this overview will bring us to early February 2020 (when this article is being written), and due to the rapidly-evolving nature of the situation, we plan to update this blog as warranted.

Dec 2019:

• First Cases detected, and World Health Organization (WHO) Alerted.

Jan 2020: Week 1

• Wuhan seafood market suspected of being the hub where the first cases were contracted.

• Medical screen at Wuhan airport implemented on Jan 3rd, 2020.

• WHO advises against travel/trade restrictions based on current evidence

• SARS, MERS, and bird flu determined to not be culprits

• New Virus Identified as a betocoronavirus and officially named 2019n-CoV

Jan 2020: Week 2

• First potential 2019n-CoV cases appear outside of China

• 2019n-CoV genetic genome was sequenced and made available to study worldwide

• First death reported

• Cases confirmed in Thailand and Japan

• At this point, less than 50 cases are confirmed worldwide

Jan 2020: Week 3

• Second Death Reported

• First Confirmed Case in South Korea

• First Confirmed Case in the United States (Washington)

Jan 2020: Week 4

• Stricter health screenings implemented in Airports across the world

• China implements travel bans in multiple cities

• Chinese New Year celebrations cancelled in Beijing

• First robots used to treat infected patient

• Hong Kong announces health emergency

• Canada, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Mexico report first cases. More cases reported around the world.

• Countries around the world work to extract their citizens from the immediate danger in Wuhan.

• China suspends trading on two major stock exchanges

• Russia closes 2,700 miles of border

• WHO updates virus risk level to “HIGH”

Jan 31st, 2020:

• Approximately 10,000 Cases confirmed worldwide

• Death toll rises to 213 individuals (may they all rest in peace)

• WHO declares global health emergency

Feb 2020: Week 1

• Incoming travel restrictions set in place by America and Australia to protect their citizens.

• Chinese Health Authorities announce that 243 individuals affected by the coronavirus were discharges after recovering.

• First death outside of china announced in the Philippines.

• More cases popping up around the world.

• Over 30,000 Cases confirmed worldwide

• Death toll rises to over 600.

Feb 2020: Week 2 – Present Day

• First U.S and Japanese Nationals pass away in Wuhan from coronavirus infection.

• Multiple temporary hospitals being erected in China to help care for those infected.

• Over 60,000 cases have now been confirmed worldwide (90+% within mainland China)

• Death toll rises over 1,100; Surpasses the SARS epidemic from 2002-03.

• 420 United states citizens investigated for coronavirus

• 13 tested positive, 347 tested negative, and 60 test results are still pending.

• States with confirmed cases: CA, WA, AZ, WI, IL, MA

• We imagine “Coronavirus” has and will be a simple and clear enough term, but the WHO for some reason renames 2019-nCoV Coronavirus as COVID-19

• CO – Corona

• VI – Virus

• D – Disease

• 19 – Refers to 2019 (year it was originally discovered)

***UPDATED MARCH 18, 2020***

FEB 2020 WEEK 3: 

• Death toll rises to 2,247, with a majority of death occurring in mainland China. Total number of confirmed cases increases to over 76,000 with recoveries at around 18,200.

• Passengers who have tested negative for the virus begin disembarking from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, despite evidence from infectious disease experts that they may be unknowingly carrying the virus back to their communities.

• CDC changes criteria for counting confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US. Begins tracking two separate groups: those repatriated by the US Government, and those identified by the US Public Health Network.

FEB 2020 WEEK 4:

• Italy’s Lombardy region issues a list of towns and villages that are in complete lockdown. Nearly 100,00 people are affected by travel restrictions.

•  Patient infected with COVID-19 in Washington state dies, marking the first death in the US due to the virus.

MARCH 2020 WEEK 1: 

• Death toll reaches 3,450 globally, while the number of cases of infection increases to more than 101,731 with approx. 57,390 recoveries.

• In the US, Washington, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Utah, and Oregon declare a public health state of emergency.

• EU raises risk level from “moderate” to “high” following 2,100 reported cases and 38 related deaths.

MARCH 2020 WEEK 2: 

• WHO declares outbreak to be a pandemic on March 11, 2020. It is the first pandemic to be caused by a coronavirus.

•  Death toll reaches 4,700 globally, with more than 128,330 infections and approximately 68,300 recoveries.

•  US President Donald Trump declares a national emergency, plans to use $50 billion to combat spread of COVID-19.

MARCH 2020 WEEK 3: 

•  Death toll increases to over 8,000 globally by March 18. Total reported cases stand at ~207,500 with ~82,000 recoveries.

•  WHO calls for “aggressive action” in Southeast Asia to control spread of the virus.

 

   Has COVID-19 affected oil and gas?

To put it simply. Yes, it has affected the Oil and Gas Industry.

The lower demand in China is affecting not only Oil & Gas companies the Houston area, but globally. The US Energy Information Administration recently reduced its oil demand growth forecast by ~300,000 barrels per day to account for travel restrictions and reduced fuel consumption in mainland China.

WTI Crude Oil Price Chart

 

If we look at the price per barrel of WTI more specifically, we started 2020 at around $58 per barrel, however after COVID-19 was discovered to be a potential global issue, Oil prices fell 10-15%. If we look at the chart below and compare the number of new cases being announced, we can make a loose correlation between reduced infection rates (i.e. hopefully the virus is slowing down) and oil prices rebounding ~1-3%. This provides a bit more optimistic outlook for the future of oil and gas; however, we will have to monitor the situation as it continues to unfold.

**March 18, 2020 UPDATE **

Global demand for oil is expected to drop in 2020 as the coronavirus continues to spread globally, restricting travel and other economic activity. According to the IEA, “The situation remains fluid, creating an extraordinary degree of uncertainty over what the full global impact of the virus will be. In the IEA’s central base case, demand this year drops for the first time since 2009 because of the deep contraction in oil consumption in China, and major disruptions to global travel and trade.”  While many different sectors of the energy market are being adversely affected by COVID-19.

  How has COVID-19 affected local and global economies?

While some outlets report instances of unfair generalizations, please check your sources, and do not let misinformation sway your decisions. Continue to support local businesses and make sure your news sources are reputable.

Because of globalization, companies have built supply chains across national borders, making economies much more interconnected. In recent years, China has become a vital part of the global market. Therefore, economic hits in China caused by the spread of COVID-19 cause a ripple effect in the larger global economy as well. The biggest factors that may affect the US are going to be a drop in sales to China, disrupted supply chains (due to the economic globalization mentioned earlier), and a large drop in Chinese tourism to the US. Still, only time will tell how severe the impact of the virus and its affects will be to our economy. “The outbreak has the potential to cause severe economic and market dislocation. But the scale of the impact will ultimately be determined by how the virus spreads and evolves, which is almost impossible to predict, as well as how governments respond,” said Neil Shearing, group chief economist at Capital Economics.

Economists say the current level of disruption is manageable. If the number of emerging coronavirus cases begins to slow, and China’s factories reopen soon, the outcome will be a momentary hit to the Chinese economy in the first quarter and small dip in global growth. However, if “pandemic” status is reached, it will certainly depress the economy as countries implement restrictions on commerce/trade to protect their citizens. Additionally, vacation/travel industries have been and will continue to be affected until the virus can be conquered. According to certain sources, Chinese tourists spend ~130 billion annually vacationing and many industries will feel the effect of COVID-19 this year if we cannot get it under control.

With a coordinated effort on a multi-national level, there is hope for a swift and effective response to the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19. If a “pandemic” is prevented, the effects on a global (and even local) economy can remain manageable (and we hope that we may report back that this was indeed the case). As we have reiterated throughout this brief review of the events and effects of the coronavirus COVID-19, only time will tell. In the meantime, remember to take regular preventive measures; wash your hands regularly, get your flu vaccine, and stay home if you feel ill.

**March 18, 2020 UPDATE**

 

Unfortunately, earlier this month COVID-19 was officially been labeled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. This could affect the global and US economy in many ways, and in some ways already has. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says the outbreak is the world’s “most pressing uncertainty.” The economic disruptions caused by the virus and the increased uncertainty are being reflected in lower valuations and increased volatility in the financial markets. While the precise impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. and global economies is still unknown and unpredictable, it undeniably poses huge risks.

Click here to view the John Hopkins dashboard that is monitoring global COVID-19 cases in nearly real time.