Typical Refinery

Refining: API Monogram discussions, API’s Subcommittee on Piping and Valves (SCOPV)

Barrie Kirkman - 31 March 2017

The Subcommittee on Piping and Valves (SCOPV) meets twice a year in the USA. Attendees typically number 100 to 120. Voting members are from end users, contractors, valve manufacturers and sealing companies. Visitors are most welcome to attend the meetings and are encouraged to contribute to the discussions. Visitors are, however, not allowed to vote. This article will briefly introduce SCOPV’s activity followed by discussion on API’s Monogram.

About the author

Mr Barrie Kirkman
Barrie Kirkman, BSc CEng MIMechE, writes a regular column for Valve World, bringing his own personal views from inside the valve business.
SCOPV API Activity

The SCOPV scope covers 16 API Refinery valve standards and Recommended Practices (see Table 1). These standards are revised every 3 to 4 years. In recent years, new API standards such as API 603, API 622, API 624 and API 641 have been developed and issued. The committee’s workload is very high and the members are very dedicated in maintaining technical correctness and applying lessons learnt. I applaud them! I also acknowledge the excellent activity of the API organisation.

At the recent November 2016 meeting in New Orleans, USA, after three successful years the Chairman Steve McJones, BP stepped down with Steve Butler, Shell taking on the challenge. I wish both “Steves” continued success. It is a real privilege to participate with leading industry peers. Yes, discussions do give rise to different views and can become quite intense but it’s all amongst work colleagues.

Number   Title
 RP 591  Process Valve Qualification Procedure
 API 594*  Check Valves
 API 598  Valve Inspection & Testing
 API 599*  Metal Plug Valves
 API 600  Gate Valves
 API 602  Small Gate, Globe, & Check Valves
 API 603*  Corrosion Resistant Gate Valves
 API 607  Fire Test for Quarter Turn Valves
 API 608*  Metal Ball Valves
 API 609  Butterfly Valves
 RP 615  Valve Selection Guide
 API 621*  Valve Reconditioning
 API 622*  Valve Packing for fugitive Emissions
 API 623*  Globe Valves
 API 624*  Type Testing for Fugitive Emissions
 API 641  FE Test of Quarter Turn Valves

Table 1: API Subcommittee on Piping and Valves (SCOPV) scope of API/RP activity
(* these are in the current stages of standard revision. In 2017, a Task Force will start revising API 624)

API Monogram discussion

At the May 2016 meeting in Chicago, USA SCOPV members unanimously rejected the use of API Monogram forthe 16 API Standards. Out of API 2800 active Monograms, approximately 337 API Monograms exist for SCOPV API Standards (see Table 2).

 Number Title  Monogram Approvals 
 API 600  Gate Valves  173
 API 602  Small Gate, Globe, & Check Valves  61
 API 603  Corrosion Resistant Gate Valves  7
 API 608  Metal Ball Valves  13
 API 609  Butterfly Valves  85
Table 2: Monogram Approvals for (SCOPV) API/RP activity

From my experience, I totally support SCOPV members’ position. I have seen, on many occasions, Monogram approved valve companies and despair. For example, one company had an API 6D Monogram but only manufactured API 600 valves. Another was using another company’s Monogram certificate to manufacture valves at their own plant which had never been audited by API. In addition, when you review the valve design it is obvious the manufacturer’s knowledge is wanting. Similarly when auditing manufacturing processes as well as casting quality. SCOPV members have not been involved with, and have not endorsed, the API technical questions aspect of the Monogram. On the contrary, a third party prepared these questions. As a result, key areas during the Monogram process are missing. For example, API 600 states no casting requirements so the Monogram likewise does not address this.

Recently a show of hands at a SCOPV meeting indicated that none of the end user members had ever requested a valve manufacturer to be API Monogram compliant. Several of the SCOPV Manufacturers confirmed they have the Monogram approval. SCOPV have suggested three key areas of the Monogram that require attention: reviewing the API Standards to ensure the correct audit areas are covered; the endorsing of the Monogram technical questions / section; ensuring consistency in qualified technical competence of the API auditors.

New Orleans.

So what do SCOPV end users follow instead of the Monogram?

SCOPV members’ practice is to undertake their own audits and / or use the Recommended Practice RP 591 Process Valve Qualification Procedure. With this combination, the end user addresses the concerns above, ensuring the correct areas are covered, correct technical compliance and competence of the auditors. RP 591 provides recommendations for evaluation of a manufacturer's valve construction and quality management system for determining a manufacturer's capability to provide new valves manufactured in accordance with the applicable standards covered by SCOPV. Qualification of valves under this RP is "manufacturing facility specific" and does not cover valves manufactured by other manufacturing facilities, whether owned by the same manufacturer or a third party. I observe that such RP 591 requests are mainly from USA end users rather than from the rest of the world.

Steve McJones, BP, USA.

Meeting RP 591 has to be successful to be on some of theapproved vendor lists (e.g. AML). The most critical inspection for gate, ball, plug and butterfly valves is the stem to ball/wedge/plug tensile test. This test is designed to determine the first point of failure between the shaft and the closure member. To meet the requirements of RP 591, the first point of failure must occur outside the valve pressure boundary. RP 591 has also been used where the end user has concerns on casting source and mechanical certification. In these instances, conflicting tensile / yield results are sometimes identified indicating incorrect heat treatment. The foundry challenges such results, stating the test samples are not truly representative. Repeat testing normally confirms the situation. One example identified a particular heat treatment furnace as the source of the error. Repair of the furnace was not economical and it had to be decommissioned. The concerning aspect was that the foundry had been supplying similar castings to at least 14 valve manufacturers.

Steve Butler, Shell, USA.


API is addressing Monogram concerns. Dialogue has taken place with SCOPV but significant differences remain. As I look into my “crystal ball”, it looks all very misty. Who knows what 2017 will bring? Maybe something? Maybe nothing? I know there are many diverse opinions on the Monogram including those from upstream. I have withheld my observations on upstream Monograms. Perhaps these could be shared later. This article is “just the tip of the iceberg”. If you have any questions or comments as always they are most welcome.

Barrie Kirkman, BSc CEng MIMechE, writes a regular column for Valve World, bringing his own personal views from inside the valve business. Barrie can be contacted at barriekirkman@ntlworld.com

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