Troubleshooting a Back Pressure Regulator

Kimray’s Back Pressure Regulator is a staple in oil and gas production. The Back Pressure Regulator allows you to hold pressure on production vessels by adjusting the set point to the desired maximum upstream pressure, which the valve senses and then releases when this designated set point is reached. It’s used in numerous oilfield applications, including on separators, flow treaters, free water knockouts, compressor stations, and gas gathering systems.

Here are four things to check if your Back Pressure Regulator is not operating correctly:

1. Remove the Stopper from the Breather Plug

If your Back Pressure Regulator appears to be stuck in the ON position, a likely cause is that the stopper the small red stopper has not been removed from the breather plug.

We put this stopper in the breather plug so oil doesn’t spill out during transportation. This can be removed by hand to ensure your breather plug doesn’t get air locked.

2. Check for Wet or Dirty Gas

If your Back Pressure Regulator is venting continuously, the likely cause is you have wet or dirty gas in your pipeline. To fix, you want to remove the bonnet and pilot housing to access the pilot plug. To correct, remove, clean, and dry the pilot plug, then re-install it.

Back Pressure Regulators are meant for gas only, so if this continues to be a problem, you may consider bringing in dry supply gas to your regulator.

3. Tighten the Pilot Plug Seat

If your regulator will not open, a likely cause is that the pilot plug seat is loose. To address this, remove the bonnet and the pilot plug housing to access the pilot plug seat. With a wrench, make sure the pilot plug seat is snug.

4. Tighten (But Don’t Over-Tighten) the Seat Nut

If your Back Pressure Regulator is leaking through downstream, a likely cause is that the seat was overtightened during a repair.

Make sure the nut is tightened down, but not causing the seat to bulge. If the seat is bulging, back off the nut a quarter turn at a time until the seat sits flat.

For an in-depth look at this product, see our full Back Pressure Regulator repair video. If you have further questions, contact your local Kimray representative.

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Kyle Andrews serves as an Account Manager at Kimray. He provides Kimray product training and works with producers to identify project solutions.