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An Introduction to Double Block and Bleed

Ball Valves
The increased activity in the offshore sector of the energy industry has
led to additional factors that have to be taken into consideration when
designing piping systems. Space in these offshore locations is always at a
premium and the design of piping systems and their associated components
must therefore be more compact. There are structural constraints that are
also very important, such as to keep the structure as light as possible, and
there are obvious benefits from making components smaller and lighter.
Construction labor in offshore locations is also very expensive and any
reduction in installation manpower is also beneficial.
The above situation has led to the modification of the patterns of valve
components to incorporate savings in space, weight, and labor costs where
possible, while still retaining the original function of the valve. Initially
these modifications have meant that there is a cost impact, however when
installation costs are reduced, the final costs are then comparable with the
multi-component option used in the past.

Double Block and Bleed Isolation Philosophy

Process isolation philosophy has become more complex as safety issues
have to be addressed and the requirement for double block and bleed



Valve Selection Handbook

isolation has become more commonly used, especially in offshore locations. Double block and bleed isolation requires two in-line isolation valves
and a bleed valve, used to drain or vent trapped fluid between the two
closure elements. Double block and bleed valves are special components,
however there are now several manufacturers of this type of valve. These
double block and bleed ball valves have been used very successfully in
the offshore sector of the energy industry and their numerous benefits have
been realized there not only for new builds, but also for existing plants
where they have been retrofitted.
When a process calls for a double block and bleed isolation philosophy,
these valves are used for two functions:
1. Instrument double block and bleed (2" and below)for pressure
connections, chemical injection, sampling, vents and drains, etc.
2. In-line double block and bleed (2" and above)for process isolation.

Instrument Double Block and Bleed Ball Valves

These small bore compact double block and bleed valves (Figures 9-1a
and 9-1b) are generally used to isolate instrumentation such as pressure
indicators (PIs) and level gauges (LGs) and they come in a variety of
combinations. The end connections can be flanged both ends, or flanged one

Figure 9-1. (a) Double Block and Bleed Top Entry. (b) Double Block and Bleed Top
Entry General Arrangement. (Courtesy of Orsenigo, Italy)

Figure 9-1. Continued. (Courtesy of Orsenigo, Italy)


Valve Selection Handbook

end and threaded the other end to receive the instrument gauge. Other end
connections such as clamp type are available if specified by the purchaser.
The two isolating valves are usually of a quarter-turn ball type, with either
soft or metal-metal seats depending on the design conditions of the process
fluid. The smaller, usually 43 " or 12 " bleed valve can be a globe, needle, or
in some cases a ball type design. The body can be of a one piece or a split
type and the ball can be either a floating type or a trunnion type design in
the high-pressure classes.
These compact valves can also be used for injecting chemicals or sampling process fluid by adding straight tubing onto the bore of the flange
face. When assembled onto a mating flange this quill enters into the process flow and chemicals can be introduced through the valve and then the
tube, which is in the process flow. An additional in-line poppet type check
valve is incorporated in the compact valve to prevent reverse flow and process fluid contaminating the chemical source. For sampling the reverse is
applied and samples can be removed from the process fluid, via the quill,
through the open in-line valves and then collected in a sample bottle, which
can be taken away for analysis.

Figure 9-2. (a) In-Line 4" 900 Class Double Block and Bleed Ball Valve Trunnion
Mounted Side Entry. (b) General Arrangement Drawing of In-Line Double Block and
Bleed. (Courtesy of Orsenigo, Italy)

Materials according to spec. mace MR01/75 on request.

Flanges according to ANSI B16.5.
Construction according to ANSI B16.34.

Figure 9-2. Continued. (Courtesy of Orsenigo, Italy)


Valve Selection Handbook

In-Line Double Block and Bleed Ball Valves

These (see Figures 9-2a and 9-2b) are larger in size, usually 2" and above,
and they are located in the primary process stream. These compact valves
can be supplied in a similar number of end connections as the smaller
instrument double block and bleed versions. Because of their size, a
threaded connection will rarely if ever be used, however butt-weld end
connections are an option that is available, along with clamp type end
These in-line double block and bleed valves are available up to around 8"
and pressure ratings up to and including ASME 2500 lb. Availability will
depend on the manufacturers and their capabilities. In very special cases
some companies are in a position to create special patterns and construct
these valves in larger sizes.
In-line double block and bleed ball valves are expensive; however,
when you consider the cost of the individual valves, the interconnecting
pipework, and the fabrication, the two costs are comparable in sizes up to
8". The double block and bleed valve is a very heavy component and in
the larger sizes it will require lifting studies if the valve is to be removed
for maintenance.