10 billion neighbours

David Sear - 31 August 2016

Population growth might mean opportunities for valve makers.

About the author

Mr David Sear
David Sear is Online Editor. He is contributing to articles, interviews and reports to KCI’s magazines and websites. David also works on videos for KCI Television.
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Two separate but definitely related news items caught my eye today. They arrived via totally different channels but seem to weave together to spell out good news for pipeline valve manufacturers.

But first things first. Back track to this morning and, whilst enjoying a cup of tea and toast for breakfast, I stumbled upon an article in my local newspaper discussing global population growth. It seems that the world is set to grow from a “mere” 7.3 to a staggering 9.7 billion by 2050. That’s a 33% increase in hardly 35 years.

Most of the growth is forecast in India and Africa, stated the journalist, referring back to a report published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The unparalleled rate of growth has left some commentators expressing concerns about how the additional mouths could be fed, and what their energy requirements might be.

Or, as Wu Hongbo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, less controversially said: “understanding the demographic changes that are likely to unfold over the coming years, as well as the challenges and opportunities that they present for achieving sustainable development, is key to the design and implementation of the new development agenda.”

Which brings me nicely to the second item, which arrived in my digital in-tray just before lunch. Penned by the press service at the Tube show in Germany, the article gives an overview of the tube market and states that “plans are in in place to create about 20 million kilometres of pipelines”!

Which left me naturally wondering what the implications for manufacturers of pipeline valves might be.

After all, every pipeline needs valves in one way or another. For example, as safety block valves every 30 kilometres or so, or in compressor units, or at pigging stations, etc. But before I rush out to buy shares, I’d appreciate hearing from a more knowledgeable source as there are a couple of nagging questions I would like to have cleared up.

Firstly: does the reported 20 million kilometres of extra pipeline sound realistic? Secondly, is my best guess of a valve per 30 kilometres a reasonable estimate or wildly inaccurate? And finally, just what functions do valves fulfil in a pipeline?

All thoughts would be most welcome and can be sent to d.sear@kci-world.com.


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