A Fully Automated Twenty-Inch Heated Crude Pipeline in California
- Robert A. Griffith (Getty Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 1972
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,431 - 1,437
- 1972. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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Every day safely, efficiently, and automatically 145,000 barrels of warm, heavy crude can flow through 175 miles of big pipe from the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. Now that is some gurgle!
Thermal recovery programs have rapidly increased crude oil production rates in California's San Joaquin Valley, necessitating the expansion and modernization of facilities for transporting the heavy crude from field to refinery. Automation plays a large role in today's pipeline systems by allowing the transport of oil in great quantities at reasonable cost.
Getty Oil Co. operates a fully automated 20-in. pipeline from Coalings. centrally located in the San pipeline from Coalings. centrally located in the San Joaquin Valley, to major refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 20-in. trunk line is 171.6 miles long, and there are 6.5 miles of big-inch distribution laterals to Bay Area refineries. Heavy crudes transported through this unusual pipeline require controlled heating en route, which imposes complex and sophisticated demands upon the system. The pipeline is operated entirely as a closed system, and is pipeline is operated entirely as a closed system, and is believed to be the longest big-inch heated crude pipeline ever built. pipeline ever built. Full automation provides a high degree of control and safety while retaining a versatility most often found only in pipeline systems under manual operation. A firm headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., provided the engineering design, construction provided the engineering design, construction management, and start-up for the entire pipeline.
Station Operating Modes and Manifolding
In general, motor-operated valves are manifolded at each station to provide full remote supervisory control of all major flow paths by automatic sequencing of valve groups. Operating modes at the unattended booster stations are sufficiently flexible to allow remote selection of heating and pumping, heating only, pumping only, equipment selection, full station pumping only, equipment selection, full station bypass, mainline block, cold start-up operations, hot oil purge operations, automatic sphere passage without pump shutdown, and crude oil temperature control. In addition there is complete monitoring of alarm-keyed equipment lockout and other emergency measures.
The initial design capacity of the installed system is 145,000 BOPD, depending upon the viscosity and ground temperature. Expansion of the present pumping facilities could boost the capacity of the pipeline pumping facilities could boost the capacity of the pipeline to 165,000 BOPD. Design limits are based upon the pumping of 14.3 degrees API blended Valley crude under pumping of 14.3 degrees API blended Valley crude under winter conditions.
Actual practice after 5 years of operation indicates that because of observed temperature losses, which are significantly less than anticipated, the initial design limit is somewhat conservative.
The heavy crude is heated and pumped at four locations, including the initial heating, pumping. and control station at Coalinga, (Figs. 1 and 2) and three remote-control unattended booster stations: Panoche, Gustine, and Tracy (Fig. 3).
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