Valves on offshore oil and gas assets remain the most likely equipment to create problems, according to a survey by valve manufacturer HS Pipequipment.

The survey reveals that 34% of 150 industry professionals said valves cause the greatest hurdles for the offshore industry.

The economic downturn has also led to a significant reduction in companies buying new equipment such as valves, according to the study’s findings.

Of the engineers, buyers, materials controllers and directors surveyed, 29% said they had experienced reduced production and movement away from purchasing new equipment.

HS Pipequipment managing director Peter Everett said the survey highlights differences between the needs and attitudes of offshore oil and gas assets compared with those of the petrochemical sector.

“The results of the survey clearly show that valves are continuing to cause headaches in assets and plants across the industry,” Everett said.

The survey comes as BP engineers work to fix a leaking oil well and contain the flow of oil at the site of the Deepwater Horizon Well in the Gulf of Mexico.

US politican Bart Stupak, a member of the congressional hearing committee investigating the oil spill disaster, said that a faulty preventer valve was to blame for the accident. Stupak said the valve had an obvious leak and was too weak to properly shut the well.

The incident has led to one of the largest environmental disasters the region has ever seen.