The selection of pipe diameter or length depends on the pressure drop available or anticipated flow rate. A simplified empirical pipeline fluid flow model equation is developed for sizing pipeline based on actual field data. The data used were the actual flow rates and pressure drops for four loading pumps and two booster pumps during the loading of two tankers. The model was used to calculate pressure drops for various flow rates while varying the pipeline length and diameter. The model was validated using classical Fanning/Reynolds number approach, API RP 41E design procedure for piping systems, and the famous Hazen-Williams equation for flow of water through pipelines. The loading pump performance characteristics were also evaluated by comparing the actual performance during pumping operation with the manufacturer's performance curve.
The pressure drops calculated for various flow rates and pipeline configurations using the model equation were in agreement with results obtained using the three methods listed above with a maximum pressure difference of about ± 25 psi. Evaluation of the pump performance showed the maximum mechanical efficiency as 79% compared to 89% originally specified by the manufacturer. The results of this work are applicable to designing pipelines based on actual field data. It is also useful for the periodic evaluation of pump performance.