You are on page 1of 25

# Pressure drop evaluation along pipelines

The simplest way to convey a fluid, in a contained system from Point A to Point B, is by means of a
conduit or pipe (Fig. 1).

## Fig. 1Fluid-flow system (courtesy of AMEC Paragon).

Contents

[hide]

1 Piping design

2 Bernoulli equation

## 5.3.3 Panhandle equation

5.3.4 Spitzglass equation

6 Multiphase flow

6.1.1 Bubble

## o 6.2 Two phase pressure drop

o 6.3 Simplified friction pressure drop approximation for two phase flow

8 Nomenclature

9 References

## 10 Noteworthy papers in OnePetro

Piping design
The minimum basic parameters that are required to design the piping system include, but are not
limited to, the following.

## The pressure, temperature, and elevation at Point B.

The distance between Point A and Point B (or length the fluid must travel) and equivalent
length (pressure losses) introduced by valves and fittings.
These basic parameters are needed to design a piping system. Assuming steady-state flow, there
are a number of equations, which are based upon the general energy equation, that can be
employed to design the piping system. The variables associated with the fluid (i.e., liquid, gas, or
multiphase) affect the flow. This leads to the derivation and development of equations that are
applicable to a particular fluid. Although piping systems and pipeline design can get complex, the
vast majority of the design problems encountered by the engineer can be solved by the standard flow
equations.

Bernoulli equation
The basic equation developed to represent steady-state fluid flow is the Bernoulli equation which
assumes that total mechanical energy is conserved for steady, incompressible, inviscid, isothermal
flow with no heat transfer or work done. These restrictive conditions can actually be representative of
many physical systems.

(Eq. 1)
where

## Z = elevation head, ft,

P = pressure, psi,

= density, lbm/ft3,

V = velocity, ft/sec,

and

## Darcys equation further expresses head loss as

(Eq. 2)
and

(Eq. 3)
where
HL = head loss, ft,

## D = pipe diameter, ft,

V = velocity, ft/sec,

## P = pressure drop, psi,

= density, lbm/ft3,

and

## Reynolds number and Moody friction factor

The Reynolds number is a dimensionless parameter that is useful in characterizing the degree of
turbulence in the flow regime and is needed to determine the Moody friction factor. It is expressed as

(Eq. 4)
where

= density, lbm/ft3,

## V = flow velocity, ft/sec,

and

= viscosity, lbm/ft-sec.

(Eq. 5)
where

= viscosity, cp,

## Ql = liquid-flow rate, B/D,

and

V = velocity, ft/sec.

(Eq. 6)
where

= viscosity, cp,

## S = specific gravity of gas at standard conditions relative to air (molecular

weight divided by 29),

an
d

## Qg = gas-flow rate, MMscf/D.

The Moody friction factor, f, expressed in the previous equations, is a function of the Reynolds
number and the roughness of the internal surface of the pipe and is given by Fig. 3. The Moody
friction factor is impacted by the characteristic of the flow in the pipe. For laminar flow, where Re is <
2,000, there is little mixing of the flowing fluid, and the flow velocity is parabolic; the Moody friction
factor is expressed as f = 64/Re. For turbulent flow, where Re > 4,000, there is complete mixing of
the flow, and the flow velocity has a uniform profile; f depends on Re and the relative roughness
(/D). The relative roughness is the ratio of absolute roughness, , a measure of surface
imperfections to the pipe internal diameter, D. Table 9.1 lists the absolute roughness for several
types of pipe materials.

## Fig. 3Friction-factor chart (courtesy of AMEC Paragon).

Table 1

If the viscosity of the liquid is unknown, Fig. 4 can be used for the viscosity of crude oil, Fig. 5 for
effective viscosity of crude-oil/water mixtures, and Fig. 6 for the viscosity of natural gas. In using
some of these figures, the relationship between viscosity in centistokes and viscosity in centipoise
must be used

(Eq. 7)
where
= kinematic viscosity, centistokes,

## = absolute viscosity, cp,

and

SG = specific gravity.

Fig. 4Standard viscosity/temperature charts for liquid petroleum products (courtesy of ASTM).

## Fig. 5Effective viscosity of an oil/water mixture (courtesy of AMEC Paragon).

Fig. 6Hydrocarbon-gas viscosity vs. temperature (courtesy Western Supply Co.).

## Pressure drop for liquid flow

General equation
Eq. 3 can be expressed in terms of pipe inside diameter (ID) as stated next.

(Eq. 8)
where

and

## Hazen Williams equation

The Hazen-Williams equation, which is applicable only for water in turbulent flow at 60F, expresses

(Eq. 9)
where

and

Table 2

(Eq. 10)

## Pressure drop for gas flow

General equation
The general equation for calculating gas flow is stated as

(Eq. 11)
where

L = length, ft,

## D = diameter of the pipe, ft,

P1 = upstream pressure, psia,

and

## P2 = downstream pressure, psia.

Assumptions: no work performed, steady-state flow, and f = constant as a function of the length.

Simplified equation
For practical pipeline purposes, Eq. 11 can be simplified to

(Eq. 12)
where

## Z = compressibility factor for gas, dimensionless,

T = flowing temperature, R,

and

L = length, ft.

## Fig. 7Compressibility of low-molecular-weight natural gases (courtesy of Natl. Gas Processors

Suppliers Assn.).

Three simplified derivative equations can be used to calculate gas flow in pipelines:

## The Spitzglass equation

All three are effective, but the accuracy and applicability of each equation falls within certain ranges
of flow and pipe diameter. The equations are stated next.

Weymouth equation
This equation is used for high-Reynolds-number flows where the Moody friction factor is merely a
function of relative roughness.

(Eq. 13)
where

L = length, ft,

and

## Z = compressibility factor for gas, dimensionless.

Panhandle equation
This equation is used for moderate-Reynolds-number flows where the Moody friction factor is
independent of relative roughness and is a function of Reynolds number to a negative power.

(Eq. 14)
where

E = efficiency factor (new pipe: 1.0; good operating conditions: 0.95; average
operating conditions: 0.85),

## P2 = downstream pressure, psia,

Lm = length, miles,

an
d

## Z = compressibility factor for gas, dimensionless.

Spitzglass equation

(Eq. 15)
where
Qg = gas-flow rate, MMscf/D,

and

Assumptions:

## f = (1+ 3.6/ d + 0.03 d ) (1/100),

T = 520R,

P1 = 15 psia,

Z = 1.0,

and

P = < 10% of P 1 .

## Application of the formulas

As previously discussed, there are certain conditions under which the various formulas are more
applicable. A general guideline for application of the formulas is given next.

## Simplified gas formula

This formula is recommended for most general-use flow applications.

Weymouth equation
The Weymouth equation is recommended for smaller-diameter pipe (generally, 12 in. and less). It is
also recommended for shorter lengths of segments ( < 20 miles) within production batteries and for
branch gathering lines, medium- to high-pressure (+/100 psig to > 1,000 psig) applications, and a
high Reynolds number.

Panhandle equation
This equation is recommended for larger-diameter pipe (12-in. diameter and greater). It is also
recommended for long runs of pipe ( > 20 miles) such as cross-country transmission pipelines and
for moderate Reynolds numbers.

Spitzglass equation
The Spitzglass equation is recommended for low-pressure vent lines < 12 in. in diameter (P < 10%
of P1).

The petroleum engineer will find that the general gas equation and the Weymouth equation are very
useful. The Weymouth equation is ideal for designing branch laterals and trunk lines in field gas-
gathering systems.

Multiphase flow

Flow regimes
Fluid from the wellbore to the first piece of production equipment (separator) is generally two-phase
liquid/gas flow.

The characteristics of horizontal, multiphase flow regimes are shown in Fig. 8. They can be
described as follows:

Bubble: Occurs at very low gas/liquid ratios where the gas forms bubbles that rise to the top
of the pipe.

Plug: Occurs at higher gas/liquid ratios where the gas bubbles form moderate-sized plugs.

Stratified: As the gas/liquid ratios increase, plugs become longer until the gas and liquid
flow in separate layers.

Wavy: As the gas/liquid ratios increase further, the energy of the flowing gas stream causes
waves in the flowing liquid.

Slug: As the gas/liquid ratios continue to increase, the wave heights of the liquid increase
until the crests contact the top of the pipe, creating liquid slugs.

Spray: At extremely high gas/liquid ratios, the liquid is dispersed into the flowing-gas
stream.

## Fig. 8Two-phase-flow patterns in horizontal flow (courtesy of AMEC Paragon).

Fig. 9 shows the various flow regimes that could be expected in horizontal flow as a function of the
superficial velocities of gas and liquid flow. Superficial velocity is the velocity that would exist if the
other phase was not present.


Fig. 9Horizontal multiphase-flow map (after Griffith).

The multiphase flow in vertical and inclined pipe behaves somewhat differently from multiphase flow
in horizontal pipe. The characteristics of the vertical flow regimes are shown in Fig. 10 and are
described next.

## Fig. 10Two-phase-flow patterns in vertical flow (courtesy of AMEC Paragon).

Bubble
Where the gas/liquid ratios are small, the gas is present in the liquid in small, variable-diameter,
randomly distributed bubbles. The liquid moves at a fairly uniform velocity while the bubbles move up
through the liquid at differing velocities, which are dictated by the size of the bubbles. Except for the
total composite-fluid density, the bubbles have little effect on the pressure gradient.

Slug flow
As the gas/liquid ratios continue to increase, the wave heights of the liquid increase until the crests
contact the top of the pipe, creating liquid slugs.

Transition flow
The fluid changes from a continuous liquid phase to a continuous gas phase. The liquid slugs
virtually disappear and are entrained in the gas phase. The effects of the liquid are still significant,
but the effects of the gas phase are predominant.

## Annular mist flow

The gas phase is continuous, and the bulk of the liquid is entrained within the gas. The liquid wets
the pipe wall, but the effects of the liquid are minimal as the gas phase becomes the controlling
factor. Fig. 11 shows the various flow regimes that could be expected in vertical flow as a function of
the superficial velocities of gas and liquid flow.

## Two phase pressure drop

The calculation of pressure drop in two-phase flow is very complex and is based on empirical
relationships to take into account the phase changes that occur because of pressure and
temperature changes along the flow, the relative velocities of the phases, and complex effects of
elevation changes. Table 3 lists several commercial programs that are available to model pressure
drop. Because all are based to some extent on empirical relations, they are limited in accuracy to the
data sets from which the relations were designed. It is not unusual for measured pressure drops in
the field to differ by 20% from those calculated by any of these models.

Table 3

## Simplified friction pressure drop approximation for two phase flow

Eq. 16 provides an approximate solution for friction pressure drop in two-phase-flow problems that
meet the assumptions stated.
(Eq. 16)
where

L = length, ft,

and

(Eq. 17)
where

and

(Eq. 18)
where

## R = gas/liquid ratio, ft3/bbl,

T = operating temperature, R,
SG = specific gravity of liquid, relative to water, lbm/ft3,

and

## Pressure Drop Because of Changes in Elevation

There are several notable characteristics associated with pressure drop because of elevation
changes in two-phase flow. The flow characteristics associated with the elevation changes include:

In downhill lines, flow becomes stratified as liquid flows faster than gas.

The depth of the liquid layer adjusts to the static pressure head and is equal to the friction
pressure drop.

## There is no pressure recovery in the downhill line.

In low gas/liquid flow, the flow in uphill segments can be liquid "full" at low flow rates. Thus,
at low flow rates, the total pressure drop is the sum of the pressure drops for all of the uphill
runs.

With increased gas flow, the total pressure drop may decrease as liquid is removed from
uphill segments.

The pressure drop at low flow rates associated with an uphill elevation change may be approximated
with Eq. 19.

(Eq. 19)
where

and

## Z = increase in elevation for segment, ft.

The total pressure drop can then be approximated by the sum of the pressure drops for each uphill
segment.

## Pressure drop caused by valves and fittings

One of the most important parameters affecting pressure drop in piping systems is pressure loss in
the fittings and valves, which is incorporated in the system. For piping systems within production
facilities, the pressure drop through fittings and valves can be much greater than that through the
straight run of pipe itself. In long pipeline systems, the pressure drop through fittings and valves can
often be ignored.

Resistance coefficients
The head loss in valves and fittings can be calculated with resistance coefficients as

(Eq. 20)
where

## D = pipe ID, ft,

and

V = velocity, ft/sec.

## The total head loss is the sum of all Kr V2/2g.

The resistance coefficients Kr for individual valves and fittings are found in tabular form in a number
of industry publications. Most manufacturers publish tabular data for all sizes and configurations of
their products. One of the best sources of data is the Crane Flow of Fluids, technical paper No.
410.  The Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Assn. (NGPSA) Engineering Data Book and Ingersoll-
Rands Cameron Hydraulic Data Book are also good sources of references for the information.
Some examples of resistance coefficients are listed in Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4

Table 5

Table 5 (Cont'd)

Table 5 (Cont'd)

Table 5 (Cont'd)

Flow coefficients
The flow coefficient for liquids, CV, is determined experimentally for each valve or fitting as the flow of
water, in gal/min at 60F for a pressure drop of 1 psi through the fitting. The relationship between flow
and resistance coefficients can be expressed as

(Eq. 21)
In any fitting or valve with a known CV, the pressure drop can be calculated for different conditions of
flow and liquid properties with Eq. 22.

(Eq. 22)
where

and

## SG = liquid specific gravity relative to water.

Again, the CV is published for most valves and fittings and can be found in Crane Flow of Fluids,
Engineering Data Book, Cameron Hydraulic Data Book, as well as the manufacturers technical


data.

Equivalent lengths
The head loss associated with valves and fittings can also be calculated by considering equivalent
"lengths" of pipe segments for each valve and fitting. In other words, the calculated head loss caused
by fluid passing through a gate valve is expressed as an additional length of pipe that is added to the
actual length of pipe in calculating pressure drop.

All of the equivalent lengths caused by the valves and fittings within a pipe segment would be added
together to compute the pressure drop for the pipe segment. The equivalent length, Le, can be
determined from the resistance coefficient, Kr, and the flow coefficient, CV, using the formulas given
next.

(Eq. 23)

(Eq. 24)
and

(Eq. 25)
where

and

## CV = flow coefficient for liquids, dimensionless.

Table 6 shows equivalent lengths of pipe for a variety of valves and fittings for a number of standard
pipe sizes.

Table 6

Nomenclature
Z = elevation head, ft,

P = pressure, psi,

= density, lbm/ft3,

V = velocity, ft/sec,

## P = pressure drop, psi,

= viscosity, lbm/ft-sec.

## S = specific gravity of gas at standard conditions relative to air (molecular

weight divided by 29),
Qg = gas-flow rate, MMscf/D.

## = kinematic viscosity, centistokes,

= absolute viscosity, cp

W

## R = gas/liquid ratio, ft3/bbl,

T = operating temperature, R,

Z

## Kr = resistance coefficient, dimensionless,

References
1. Jump up to:1.0 1.1 Griffith, P. 1984. Multiphase Flow in Pipes. J Pet Technol 36 (3): 361-367. SPE-
12895-PA. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/12895-PA.

2. Jump up to:2.0 2.1 Taitel, Y., Bornea, D., and Dukler, A.E. 1980. Modelling flow pattern transitions for
steady upward gas-liquid flow in vertical tubes. AIChE J. 26 (3): 345-
354. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aic.690260304.

3. Jump up to:3.0 3.1 Crane Flow of Fluids, Technical Paper No. 410. 1976. New York City: Crane
Manufacturing Co.

4. Jump up to:4.0 4.1 Engineering Data Book, ninth edition. 1972. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Natural Gas
Processors Suppliers Assn.

5. Jump up to:5.0 5.1 Westway, C.R. and Loomis,A.W. ed. 1979. Cameron Hydraulic Data Book,
sixteenth edition. Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey: Ingersoll-Rand.

Fuente: http://petrowiki.org/Pressure_drop_evaluation_along_pipelines