As we come to the end of the first quarter of 2011, there are a few noteworthy flow control-related stories that have emerged. These stories were highlighted in the April 2011 issue of FlowTimes, a publication produced by Flow Research Inc. To read FlowTimes in its entirety, click here. For the top three news stories highlighted in FlowTimes, read on.

1. Crude Oil Spikes to Exceed $100 per Barrel on Mideast Unrest
The price of crude oil surged to over $100 this month, as unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa continues. The most immediate cause of this spike in oil prices was diminished due to production from Libya.

The move over $100 mark is the first time oil has reached this threshold since Oct. 2, 2008. Energy demand is increasing along with the improving economy, and this increasing demand is helping to push prices higher. But the main driver of the current spike in oil prices is unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa, including Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, and especially Libya.

Oil prices peaked in the range of $140 per barrel in mid-July 2008. They then went into a steep decline, bottoming out at less than $40 per barrel in December 2008. Oil prices increased to more than $60 per barrel in June 2009. From October 2009 until March 2010, prices fluctuated between $70 and $80 per barrel. Finally, beginning on March 3, 2010, oil prices closed above $80 per barrel. Since that time, oil prices have been creeping up past $90 per barrel. It was the one-two punch of events in Egypt and Libya that pushed prices over $100 per barrel.

To read Flow Research”s entire “Flash Report” on this story, click here.

2. Emerson Opens $3 Mil. Flow Calibration and Service Center in Abu Dhabi
Big news this February, as Emerson has opened a calibration and service center for the Middle East and Africa. This is the first, in-region VSL (formerly NMI) Calibration and Measurement Capability (CMC)-certified calibration facility in the Middle East. This facility also complies with ISO/IEC-17025 standards. Previously, the region faced limited options and high operational hurdles to validate flow device calibrations or to provide required third-party documentation associated with ISO9000 Quality or regulatory requirements.

To read the entire report on this story, click here.

3. GE Acquires Dresser
In the latest of a series of acquisitions over the past decade, GE has completed its takeover of Dresser Inc. The Dresser businesses will be integrated into GE’s Energy Services and Power & Water business units. In addition, on December 13, 2010, GE announced its intention to make an offer for 100 percent of Wellstream Holdings plc, a leading engineer and manufacturer of high-quality flexible pipeline products for oil and gas transportation in the subsea production industry. Finally, on October 1, 2010, GE purchased the assets of Calnetix Power Solutions, which expands GE’s capabilities to recover waste heat from industrial processes for electricity generation and also complements GE’s gas engine business.

Dresser has a global franchise with 60 percent of its revenues outside of North America. The company is a leader in providing highly engineered infrastructure products and services for the energy industry. Its portfolio includes valves, actuators, meters, switches, regulators, piping products, natural gas-fueled engines for compression, retail fuel dispensers and associated retail point-of-sale systems and air and gas handling equipment.

To read the entire report on this story, click here.

For more information on Flow Research”s FlowTimes report and to view current and back issues, visit www.flowtimes.com.