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ClydeUnion Pumps: The Heart of the Pipeline

With more than 140 years of experience, ClydeUnion Pumps is a leading provider of high quality pumps to the global power generation and oil and gas industries. Acquired by SPX in 2011, ClydeUnion Pumps can be found in oil and natural gas pipelines across multiple continents. With the continued pipeline expansion occurring in North America, SPX is well positioned to leverage its deep engineering expertise, coupled with its manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Canada to assist with the ongoing pipeline build-out. Ross Dobbie, Business Development Manager, Oil & Gas, Americas at ClydeUnion, explains why.

How is ClydeUnion playing a role in the North American pipeline build-out?

With high-end manufacturing plants and service centers located worldwide, ClydeUnion Pumps has been in the business of manufacturing pumps for well over a century. Over the years, we’ve applied our pump engineering expertise and provided pumps to oil and gas pipelines around the world.

With pipeline activity in North America accelerating, our manufacturing facilities in Canada and Michigan, together with our Houston office and excellent aftermarket footprint – of high importance to our pipeline customers – positions us well to continue building on our success in the North American market.

What kinds of pipelines are ClydeUnion Pumps best suited for, and are these pumps standardized or made to order?

Our pumps can be utilized in a variety of pipelines ranging from crude gathering or trunk lines to refined oil and natural gas liquid lines. These could be new-build projects, extensions to existing lines, or modifications to existing plants. Pumps are typically installed at periodically located pumping stations along a pipeline or within storage or terminal facilities. More often than not, the requirement is for order-specific designs. We work closely with our customers to design the right pump for their needs. So, precision engineering and careful customization are key to designing the right pump for the right job.

How critical is pump performance to the overall function of a pipeline?

Think of pumps as the heart of the pipeline - they arguably play the most critical role in maintaining the steady flow of liquid oil and gas, just as the human heart maintains the flow of blood throughout the body. Pumps are integral to the proper function of a pipeline – and if they go down or they’re not operating efficiently, this costs the customer money, which of course is not a good thing. Reliability, efficiency, and performance flexibility are paramount.

How many pumps does the average pipeline need to operate effectively and what does a single system of pumps typically cost?

It really varies depending on the size, length, and type of the pipeline as well as the topography of the landscape being traversed; this can range from a single pump station or terminal, to as many as 40-50 pumps or higher for a U.S. inter-state pipeline. So, in the end, the pipeline operator can be looking at anything between several hundred thousand dollars to larger multi-million dollar investments in just the pumps alone to outfit a single large pipeline.

What are some other distinguishing aspects of purchasing a pipeline pump from SPX?

SPX can deliver complete turnkey pump packages that include the pump in addition to fixed or variable speed drives, gearbox, fluid coupling, instrumentation, sealing and lubrication solutions all based on the individual customer requirement. For larger orders involving high quantities of pump packages, we have the supply chain flexibility to manufacture across multiple facilities.

With our Aftermarket Service Centers we actively support not only our ClydeUnion Pump models, but have the ability to reverse engineer and re-rate the performance of many installed pumps on the market. Providing this kind of comprehensive, end-to-end service, along with our leading pump technology and front-end engineering expertise, is one of the things that helps distinguish SPX from other pump manufacturers in the marketplace.