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Chapter 3

SyStem HydraulicS
and deSign

This chapter discusses the fundamentals of liquid pipeline hydraulics and the design
and operation (Chapter 5) of hydrocarbon liquid pipeline systems from a hydraulics
point of view. Pipeline system design is mainly concerned with line sizing, equipment
sizing and location, and flow capacity; while system operation is concerned with pipe-
line system or facility start-up and shut-down, product receipt and delivery, flow rate
changes, emergency shut-down, equipment failure, etc.

A proper pipeline system design requires a system approach taking into account
the following design disciplines:

Hydraulics ·
Mechanical design ·
Geo-technical design ·
Operations and maintenance design ·

These disciplines are closely interrelated because any decisions or changes in one
area of design directly affect or limit the options in another area. Through the hydrau-
lic design, the pipeline route, pipe size, operating pressure and temperature and the
number of pump stations are determined. From a hydraulic design, mechanical designs
can be developed to meet the criteria of the design basis. The mechanical design is
dictated by the relevant codes and standards, resulting in pipe material selection and
specifications as well as burial depth requirements. Geo-technical design addresses
surface loads, water crossings, buoyancy control and geo-hazard management, which
can significantly affect the cost and safety, if the pipeline route traverses challenging
environments. The operation and maintenance consideration includes the necessary
control systems to operate the system within its design parameters, taking account of
the operating tasks while maintaining the functional integrity of the system.

The scope of this chapter includes the governing principles and equations of liq-
uid pipeline hydraulics and their solutions in steady states. The design of any pipeline
system is based on various design factors such as flow profile over time and operating


3.1.1 Pipeline Flow Equations
Pipe flow is dictated by three conservation laws: mass, momentum, and energy con-
servation. The mass conservation law states that the net change rate of the fluid flow
in a segment of pipe is equal to the net packing rate of the fluid in the segment of pipe,
while the momentum conservation law states that the momentum applied to a fluid
element is conserved, equating the rate of change of momentum to the sum of the ap-
plied forces. The energy conservation law holds for fluid flow, so the net rate of energy

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