Even when you’ve planned every step of a project, something can still go wrong. Just think about the insurance company commercials that star “Mayhem.” Those spots are entertaining — until you face a real emergency. Chaos and disruption are part of life. We can try to avoid them, but there is always a chance that something will go wrong with our plans.

In the oil industry, every project is structured to avoid this kind of turmoil. Pipeline expansion and maintenance projects are critical investments. Downtime costs are high and production MUST resume on schedule. That’s why pipeline projects are planned in minute detail — down to the last bolt.

And it’s why it is essential to know where to turn when chaos threatens your plans.

A missed item on the checklist

A major petroleum company faced potential chaos when a supplier failed to deliver a critical part during a planned shutdown. The company was in the middle of a major pipeline expansion project that included the installation of several new compressor stations.

And the missing component wasn’t just a bolt, either. It was a ball valve with a flow coefficient (Cv) of 93,993 at 2,220 psi and weighing around 20,000 pounds. Because these valves aren’t typically “off-the-shelf” items, project planners had allowed plenty of lead time to secure it.

Dennis Roberts, Macomb’s General Manager Northeast Operations, says that was when the company called The Macomb Group, “They were in the testing stage for a lot of the components and needed to get the material that had been ordered several weeks earlier. Things basically came down to a point when they were needed the very next day.”

Record time

The approaching Christmas holiday added extra urgency, but when the deadline for delivery arrived, the ball valve didn’t. The original supplier had dropped the ball (excuse the pun!), overlooking the giant valve; in response to the problem, the supplier quoted a new delivery time — 30 days out.

Under extreme pressure, the petroleum company contacted Macomb, not just about the ball valve but also other items needed for the job.

“They needed everything urgently and we had a lot of it in stock because we maintain a great inventory,” says Dennis. “The rest we expedited by making phone calls.”

Even then, locating and delivering the ball valve was going to be a tall order at the best of times. Within a couple of hours, the Macomb team had located a source in Houston, Texas, and set the wheels in motion to ship and actuate the valve in a record 10 days.

“Being honest, most of the people in our industry would have said ‘No, we can’t do that.’ But responding to this kind of urgency is a situation we’re accustomed to,” Dennis says.

Macomb had drivers on standby in Houston to collect and deliver the valve for actuation over the Christmas break and saved the day for the petroleum company which would have faced huge costs for any delay.

The outcome demonstrated how Macomb’s whole environment is geared towards a professional service that enables a fast turnaround.

>Ready to handle chaos when it happens; always working to prevent it from happening in the first place! The Macomb Group is the go-to partner for any piping project. Contact us by email at info@macombgroup.com or by phone at 888-756-4110. For a complete list of Macomb Group locations and numbers, visit our website.