Oil Storage facilities (terminals) that receive fluids from pipelines or inject fluid into them, are usually designed with a lower pressure rating than the actual pipeline between these facilities. This is mostly due to the fact that the pressure expected in the terminal is much lower than the pressure required to transport the oil. However, these terminals are still subject to pressure surges caused by abnormal transient events during normal operations. In cases where the surge pressures exceed the allowed operating pressure of the equipment, a relief system can be installed to mitigate these surges to acceptable levels.

When constructing a new terminal or altering an existing one, the hydraulic calculations of these terminals are generally based on design values of the project, such as maximum and minimum flow rates. The hydraulic studies and simulations that are normally done by companies are based on steady state conditions, however, to design intrinsically safe facilities, the system’s entire operating envelope should be considered at the design stage of the project. Once transient analysis results show the need to install a pressure relief device, the proper location of this equipment is critical for the effectiveness of the surge relief system to mitigate overpressures properly.

The effect of flow rate, piping configuration, and initial pressure profiles were simulated and compared to determine their impact on pressure surges and on the critical devices along the flow path. Secondly, simulations were done with the relief system installed in different locations along the terminal pipe and the resulting changes in maximum pressure surges.

The objective of this paper is to show the importance of a detailed transient analysis based not only on design parameters but also on operational scenarios to mitigate surge overpressures in a more cohesive manner. The secondary objective of the paper is to discuss key parameters that need to be considered for selecting the location of the surge relief valve to ensure critical devices are safe during the upset conditions. The analysis presented in this paper is applicable across a broad configuration of oil facilities.

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