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Global Process Engineering Guideline:

Facility Line Sizing

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Document Title Global Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing

Document Number EPT-GL-PRO-0001

DCAF Control ID Number N/A

Document Revision 02

Document Status Approved

Document Type Global Guideline

Owner / Author Matt Madden

Issue Date 2011-12-08

Expiry Date None


Security Classification Restricted

Disclosure None
Revision History shown on next
Revision History
Rev. Date Description Originator Reviewer Approver
01 2011-11 Draft for Review Matt Madden Alistair Salisbury Alistair Salisbury
Approved Matt Madden Alistair Salisbury Anton
02 2011-12-08

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 2 of 46





3.0 SCOPE 8



5.1 General Requirements 10

5.2 Material Selection 10

5.3 Mechanical Design Conditions 10

5.4 Sizing 10


6.1 Graphs and Tables 11

6.2 Manual Calculation 11

6.3 Excel Spreadsheets 12

6.4 Chemical Process Simulator 12

6.5 PIPESIM / Multi Phase Flow 13

6.6 Hydraulic Flare Network Simulator 13

6.7 Pipe-Flo Professional 13

6.8 Dynamic Simulation 13


7.1 Permissible Pipe Sizes 15

7.2 Friction Factors 15

7.3 Pipe Roughness () 16

7.4 Piping Valves and Fittings 16

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8.1 Emulsion Viscosities 17

8.1.1 Emulsion Viscosities 18


9.1 General Approach 20

9.2 Velocity Limitations 20

9.3 Centrifugal Pump Suction and Discharge Lines 21

9.4 Reciprocating pump suction and discharge lines 23

9.5 (Liquid) Flowmeter Inlet Hydraulics 23

9.6 Control Valve Inlet Hydraulics 24

9.7 Gravity Flow Lines 24

9.7.1 Tank Overflows 24

9.7.2 Gravity Flow - Near Horizontal Pipes 24

9.7.3 Gravity Flow – Vertical Down-Flow (excluding drainage box design) 25

9.7.4 Gravity Flow – Vertical Down-Flow (drainage box design) 26

9.7.5 Caisson Vent Lines 27

9.8 Fire Water Lines 27

9.9 Oily Water Systems 27

9.10 Drilling Fluid Systems 27

9.11 Alternative Procedure for Sizing Offshore Vertical Outfall/Disposal 27

Caissons Offshore 27


10.1 Minimum Velocities 29

10.2 Maximum Velocities 29

10.3 Pressure Drop Limitations 30

10.3.1 Criteria 30

10.3.2 Methods for Calculating Pressure Gradient 30

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11.1 Unbalanced Forces 31


12.1 API RP 14E Approach 32

12.2 Corrosive Service 33


13.1 Relief Valve Inlet Lines 34

13.2 Relief Valve Discharge Lines 35

13.3 Flare Headers and Sub Headers 35

13.4 Controlled Flaring Lines 35

13.5 Depressuring Lines 35

13.6 Multiphase Relief Lines 36

13.7 Relief Valve Reaction Forces 36

13.8 Atmospheric Flare and Vent Lines 37


14.1 Noise Generation 38




Identifying System Vibration 43

Noise and Vibration Mitigation by Piping Design 44

Acoustically Induced Vibration fatigue 46

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Shortening Meaning
API American Petroleum Institute
BFD Basis for Design
BS British Standard
CGR Condensate to Gas Ratio
CI Corrosion Inhibitor
CITHP Closed-in Tubing Head Pressure
DEP Shell Design and Engineering Practice
DN Nominal Diameter – used in metric pipe sizes (mm)
FID Final Investment Decision
FEED Front End Engineering & Design
GRP Glass-fibre Reinforced Plastic
HIC Hydrogen Induced Cracking
ISO International Organization for Standardization
NACE National Association of Corrosion
NFPA National Fire Protection Association
NPSH Net Positive Suction Head
NPSHA Net Positive Suction Head Available
NPSHR Net Positive Suction Head Required
ORP Opportunity Realisation Process
PEFS Process Engineering Flow Scheme
PFS Process Flow Scheme
PIMS Pipeline Integrity Monitoring System
PR Peng Robinson Equation of State
PVT Pressure Volume Temperature (data for hydrocarbon fluid)
QA/QC Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Z Gas Compressibility Factor

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The specification of pipework is of paramount importance in the development of upstream oil
and gas surface facilities. This document covers the main issues concerning pipe sizing and is
intended to form the basis for the development of Process Engineering Flow Schemes and Line
Lists. This document does not address off-plot pipelines or flowlines. For this information
please see Reference 47.

This document should be seen as reflecting current best practice and should be revised regularly
to incorporate learning from design activity, research and technological developments where
appropriate. This document is meant to act as a guide only. Shell standards, such as
DEPs, and regional standards supersede this document and should be consulted during
the design process.

This document was developed as a Global Process Engineering Guideline extensively

based on GEN-EPA-G07-00002-001-A01 issued by P&T UMP (Aberdeen) in Jan 2006 for
internal use during engineering design.

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This document describes methodologies for line sizing in process plants and upstream facilities.
For other aspects of upstream production systems including flowlines, pipelines, and oil/water
processing, the table below provides relevant documents

Guideline Document Uses

Shell Guidelines for the Hydraulic Design and  Basic principles of multiphase flow
Operation of multiphase Flow Pipeline  Steady-state and dynamic evaluation
Systems (Reference 47)  Flow assurance, corrosion, and erosion
Shell Dehydration Manual  Principles of oil/water separation processes
(Reference 49)  Guidelines for equipment selection and
Shell Deoiling Manual (Reference 55)  Background information on all aspects of
water deoiling, including analysis and
 Provide an understanding of the design
principles and performance characteristics
of current equipment
 Provide guidelines for system design and
equipment selection
Shell Dynamic Simulation Guide  Introduces and explains benefits of dynamic
(Reference 48) simulation
 Guide for carrying out a dynamic simulation
Shell Plant and Pipeline Depressuring Guide  Depressuring physical effects
(Reference 50)  Available simulation tools
 Standards and guidelines
 Design plant and pipeline depressuring
ISO 13623 – Pipeline Transportation Systems  Guidelines for design, materials,
(Reference 53) construction, testing, and operation of
pipeline transportation systems
ISO 13703 – Design and Installation of Piping  Code for process pressure piping
Systems on Offshore Production Platforms
(Reference 1)
ASME B31.3 – Process Piping (Reference 54)  Code for process pressure piping

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Proper line sizing is of great economic importance because the cost of process piping is typically
10 to 20% of total production plant investment. The design of pipework also takes a
disproportionate amount of the design effort in a typical process plant design. Piping that is
poorly sized can have a significant impact on production attainment, disproportionate to the
cost of correctly designed piping.

Line size is dependent on required inlet and outlet conditions, namely the allowable pressure
drop, quantity of fluid flowing, and the physical properties of the fluid. There may also be a
maximum allowable velocity to be taken into account for reasons of corrosion and erosion, or
excess noise and vibration.

When sizing lines, the main sizing criteria, in the absence of other factors, should be minimum
life cycle cost (reference 46). This may include evaluation of functional requirements, cost of
piping, weight, environmental, energy costs, mechanical and process limitations, expected
lifetime of piping, maintenance cost, etc. Typically, this evaluation will be performed in a
qualitative and semi-intuitive way for plant pipework using rules enshrined in materials selection
and line sizing rules-of-thumb. Pipelines that are individually significant contributors to capital
cost and schedule, often justify a more refined optimisation based on a life-cycle cost-benefit

When sizing piping, the following factors should be considered:

1. Required capacity/available driving pressure

2. Flow induced forces
3. Noise/vibration
4. Pressure surges and water hammer
5. Material degradation - erosion, corrosion, cavitation
6. Liquid accumulation/slug flow
7. Sand accumulation and the potential for the settlement of solids if fluid is a slurry
8. Phase changes to changes in pressure, temperature and composition
9. Changes in liquid viscosity due to heating or cooling.
10. Changes in liquid viscosity due to emulsion formation or oil/water phase separation
11. Multi-phase flow pattern and potential for avoiding intermittent flow
12. Impact on downstream gas separator performance
13. Impact on downstream oil/water separation performance

In many cases, these factors will govern the pipe size selection rather than life cycle cost

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5.1 General Requirements

The process specification of pipework for a typical greenfield project can represent a significant
part of design man-hours. In order that this effort is expended in an efficient way, it is necessary
to perform the line sizing to an appropriate level of detail at the various phases of the project. It
is also necessary to select sizing methods that are fit-for-purpose, meeting project schedule
without compromising the integrity of the design. In many cases, it is possible to use velocity-
based sizing criteria to efficiently line-size. Expeditious use of simple methods will allow effort
to be focussed on critical lines such as pump suction, inlet and outlet relief valve, vent and
blowdown lines.

5.2 Material Selection

The selection of pipework and pipeline materials should be made according the project materials
selection philosophy. The materials selection philosophy is developed by the
Corrosion/Materials Discipline in conjunction with Process and Mechanical Disciplines who
provide information from the heat and mass balances.

5.3 Mechanical Design Conditions

It is the responsibility of the Process Engineers to initially select the mechanical design
temperatures and pressures for the process piping. However final design conditions should be
selected in close consultation with the mechanical design engineer. Consideration should be
given to the maximum and minimum temperatures and pressures that could be experienced
during start-up, shutdown, rapid depressuring, and any other relevant transient conditions.
Detailed guidelines for selecting the mechanical design conditions can be found in DEP (Reference 17).

5.4 Sizing

Piping is sized for the controlling operating case determined by analysis of flow rates, operating
pressures and temperatures for all identified operating modes. Consideration should be given to
start-up conditions and off-design operation where these significantly affect line size. The
remainder of this document is dedicated to techniques for sizing the diameter of a line.

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6.1 Graphs and Tables

Graphical and Tabular methods represent a convenient and effective method for preliminary
liquid line sizing (Reference 1 and 2) based on maximum velocity criteria.

Graphical methods are generally not used for gas or multiphase sizing because the mathematical
relationships are more complex due to the compressible nature of the fluids and the complex
behaviour of multiphase flows. Even so, graphical methods should only be used as a first pass
for line sizing estimates.

It should be recognized that, tables and graphs used for line sizing are generally based on new
pipe. Corrosion, erosion and solids deposition may foul the line over time increasing hydraulic
roughness and the friction factor: a 5% decrease of the internal diameter of the pipe will
increase pressure drop by more than 25% for the same flow.

6.2 Manual Calculation

Manual calculations include traditional „pencil-and-paper‟ calculations and those using

applications such as MathCAD. These have the advantage that the methodology is transparent
and can be readily checked. However, with more complex systems this approach can become
inefficient and the use of approved computer programs is preferred.

Manual calculations can be used for the following line sizing situations:

a) Velocity based sizing of gas, liquid and multiphase lines

b) Pressure-drop calculations for liquid phase lines
c) Pressure-drop calculations in flare system lines. For flare system relief, blowdown
and vent valve discharge pipework methods such as those described in Reference 3
should be used. These account for pressure loss due to acceleration of the gas in the
tail pipe. The isothermal approximation should be used for simplicity and
conservatism. The highest credible temperature should be assumed as the flowing
d) Pressure-drop in gas transmission lines. These calculations need to take into account
density change due to changing pressure. For manual calculations, it is usual to
ignore temperature change and use the isothermal approximation (Reference 4).
e) Pressure-drop calculations for multiphase lines where homogeneous flow is assumed
e.g. PSV inlet lines for two-phase relief.

Manual calculation is not recommended when the method is long and complex and therefore
difficult to validate and inefficient; examples are:

a) Multiphase flow where the homogenous approximation is not valid;

b) Complex networks requiring iterative solution;
c) Situations where the physical properties of the fluid change significantly along the
pipe length and or with time, e.g. transport or heavy viscous crude;

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d) Complex transient/dynamic calculations;
e) Any situation where simplifying assumptions, required for making the calculation
tractable, compromise the reliability of the results.

6.3 Excel Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets offer a convenient way of performing line sizing. Spreadsheets prepared according
to Reference 5 should preferably be used. Where they are not, the line sizing spreadsheet itself
should be subject to a QA/QC check as appropriate. Both of the tools cited below can be
obtained by contacting the Static Mechanical group in Upstream Major Projects - Americas.

a. API RP 14E Line Size Spreadsheet – This is an Excel workbook used to find pressure
drop & velocity for single phase or multiphase flow of oil, gas, and or water in order to
size pipe. Most formulas in the Excel line sizing worksheet are taken from API RP 14E,
Recommended Practice for Design and Installation of Offshore Production Platform
Piping Systems with the exception of the Churchill Equation which is used to accept all
ranges of Reynolds number Re and e/D to determine the friction factor. The
predominant API RP 14E formulas are modified Darcy-Weisbach and Fanning
equations. Pressure drop is calculated per 100 feet of pipe. The Weymouth, Spitzglass &
Hazen Williams formulas are also used. The spreadsheet is limited to 4 pipe sections & is
used primarily for carbon steel pipe. API 14E is not intended to be used for erosion
velocity calculations.

b. Flowmatic/Flowmetric – This is an Excel workbook used to find pressure drop &

velocity for single phase liquids in order to size pipe. Calculations are based on methods
presented in Crane Technical Paper No. 410. The general equation used for calculating
pressure losses in pipe and fittings is the Darcy-Weisbach formula. The piping friction
factor (f) in the turbulent flow region is determined by use of the Haaland equation. The
spreadsheet allows twenty five (25) + pipe sections & can be used for various pipe
materials (carbon steel, titanium, fiberglass, copper nickel, etc.). Flowmatic uses English
units while Flowmetric uses metric units.

6.4 Chemical Process Simulator

The main role of a chemical process simulator like Unisim is to generate physical properties and
plant flows for use in line sizing. It is not common practice to use these tools for the purpose of
line sizing itself.

When sourcing physical property data for line sizing, consideration should be given to the

a. The „precision‟ of the simulator‟s physical properties is often not required for line sizing
so consideration should be given to alternative fit-for-purpose methods, such as simple
Z factor correlations (Reference 6), where this will save time.
b. Some of the physical property data from the simulator may not be reliable. This is
particularly true for heavy (i.e. low API gravity) crude lines where the viscosity
correlations may not model the crude behaviour well and where emulsion formation may
be an important factor. Predictions for these systems should be validated wherever
possible against laboratory data.

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6.5 PIPESIM / Multi Phase Flow

The PIPESIM program is available on the Shell Computer System. Pipesim is typically used for
flowlines and export lines, but can be used for simulation of lines in plants, which are typically of
complex multiphase flow. Black-oil or compositional models may be used. Generally,
compositional models should be used for dense phase or condensate systems where the CGR
(condensate-gas-ratio) is of the order of 102 bbl/MMSCF or less, as the liquid loading is sensitive
to pressure and temperature. Black-oil models can be used for higher liquid loaded oil
dominated systems.

6.6 Hydraulic Flare Network Simulator

Flare network simulators can be used for predicting instantaneous pressure and flow rate
information based on specified initial conditions. Two such tools within Shell are Flarenet and
Visual Flow. Among other functionalities, these steady state simulators are capable of modeling
pressure safety valves, blowdown valves, and piping.

6.7 Pipe-Flo Professional

Pipe-Flow is a commercial software tool that analyzes steady state hydraulic networks both open
and closed using the Darcy-Weisbach formula and the Colebrook equation to calculate the
friction factor in the pipelines. Pipe-Flo allows users to analyze the interaction of pumps, pipes,
control valves, and other components in a Windows graphical interface. The program supports
all valve and fitting types found in the Crane Technical Paper 410 and allows the addition of
custom valves and fittings.

6.8 Dynamic Simulation

Dynamic simulation calculations are employed to understand the time-dependent behaviour of

systems. In general, line sizing is performed using steady state i.e. time independent analysis
however there are occasions when the time dependent response of a system plays a part in the
hydraulic analysis of the system and consequent line sizing. Some typical areas where these
models are employed are as follows:

1. Modelling control systems

2. Evaluating line-pack
3. Chilling of pipework during start-up
4. Chilling of pipework during blowdown
5. Compressor behaviour during start-up and shutdown
6. Pump behaviour during start-up and shut down
7. Pressure and flow rate in vessels and pipework during blowdown
8. Dynamic behaviour of flare systems
9. Training simulators

Generally, dynamic simulation plays a minor, secondary role in line sizing however, it is
frequently used to evaluate the impact of a selected line size on the design. The best example of
this is the sizing of slug catchers at the end of multiphase pipelines. Dynamic simulations are
also sometimes used to aid materials selection based on design conditions developed from an
understanding of the dynamics.

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Dynamic simulations require more input information than the steady-state approach and are
more complex. From this point of view, they are not a preferred approach for routine design
application, particularly during the earlier stages of design. Some dynamic simulations are
amenable to performing a standard calculation on a spreadsheet but many require special
programs, some of which are summarised below. It is often more effective to have this work
performed by a specialist consult. A detailed discussion of guidelines, uses, and benefits of
dynamic simulations can be found in Reference 48

This is a transient multiphase simulator developed by Scandpower (Reference 43). It is capable
of one dimensional dynamic simulation of oil, gas, and water flows in flow line and pipeline

B. Compas
This is a Shell developed dynamic pipeline modelling add-in for Unisim. It is capable of one
dimensional dynamic simulation of oil, gas, and water flows in flow line and pipeline systems.
Compas can be used for stand-alone pipeline modelling as well as for integrated modelling with
inclusion of the facilities.

C. Unisim Depressuring Utility

This utility allows for the simulation of a process blowdown. The Unisim Depressuring Utility
has the advantage of a friendly user interface in a program which is already familiar to Process

D. Blowdown 2000
This program, developed by Imperial College, can be used to predict temperature and pressure
profiles occurring during vessels and pipelines during depressuring (Reference 44). Blowdown
2000 has the advantage that the results predicted by the program have been validated against real
world data.

E. Pipeline Studio (formally TLNET/TGNET)

Pipeline Studio is designed for transient simulations and can be used more specifically for leak
and survival time analysis, line pack management of gas pipelines, and surge and batching
analysis for liquid systems.

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7.1 Permissible Pipe Sizes

For in-plant pipework (i.e. that is normally designed to ASME B31.3 code), outside diameter and
wall thickness (schedule number) of welded and seamless steel pipe is standardised and should
be used with the following limitations:

a) Nominal pipe size less than ½” (DN15) should not be used.

b) Nominal pipe size in pipe tracks and pipe bridges should not be less than 1½” (DN40).
c) Nominal pipe sizes 1¼” (DN30), 2½” (DN55), 3½” (DN95), 5” (DN125) and 22” (DN550)
should not be used. These sizes may be used to connect equipment flanges but will be changed
to a conventional pipe size immediately adjacent to equipment.

A minimum size of DN50 (2") should be used for all process, process support and utility piping
to ensure adequate mechanical integrity. Smaller piping can be used, where protection and/or
support is provided to withstand human activity.

If using tubing make sure to use the correct dimension data for the tubing, i.e. ½” tubing is not
equivalent to ½” piping.

7.2 Friction Factors

Friction factors may be determined graphically using Moody charts such as those given in
Reference 8.

The friction factor may also be calculated using correlations such as that due to Churchill
(Reference 39).

for Re > 4,000 (which gives turbulent flow)


f is the Moody Friction Factor (which is 4 times the Fanning friction factor)
 is the absolute roughness in mm
D is the pipe diameter in mm
Re is the Reynolds number (based on the average velocity and on the pipe diameter)
log is the natural logarithm

Note: As long as and D are in the same units, the equation holds.

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7.3 Pipe Roughness ()

For all calculations of pressure drop, where the materials are known, the following pipe
roughness values should be used:

Piping Material Absolute Roughness  (mm) Comments

Carbon Steel (CS) non-corroded: 0.05
Carbon Steel (CS) corroded: 0.50
Stainless Steel (SS): 0.05
Stainless steel (SS) flare lines 0.10
Titanium and Cu-Ni: 0.05
Glass fibre Reinforced Pipe (GRP): 0.02 Without liner
Glass fibre Reinforced Pipe (GRP): 0.005 With liner
Polyethylene, PVC: 0.005
Galvanised Carbon Steel: 0.15
Drawn Tubing 0.0015
Flexible Hose See Note 1 Consult vendor
Note 1: As a rough estimation, ID/20 mm can be used (ID in inch) for steel carcass and 0.005
mm for plastic coating.
Note 2: Some of the reported Roughness factors were taken from Reference 34

Where scaling is expected, an allowance for scale build up should be included. The likely
thickness of scale should be established from field chemistry and experience. In the absence of
firm data this can be taken as 5mm with a roughness of 0.15mm.

7.4 Piping Valves and Fittings

For rigorous pressure drop calculations, the factors presented in Reference 7 should be used.
For items not covered in Reference 7, Reference 8 can be used.

For initial estimates, where the number and type of fittings are unknown, the equivalent length
of piping may be obtained by multiplying the piping run obtained from preliminary layout
drawings by the factors given below:

Table 1 Multiplying Factors for Equivalent Piping Length

Approximate Pipe Length (m)
Pipe Size 30 60 150
3” 1.9 1.6 1.2
4” 2.2 1.8 1.3
6” 2.7 2.1 1.4
8” 3.4 2.4 1.6

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This section provides guidelines for the derivation of physical properties for line sizing and flow
assurance. Detailed guidance on this subject is available in References 40 and 41.

Fluid physical properties are required to size some but not all lines. Lines that do not require
physical properties to be sized fall into the following categories:
1. Lines that are sized by „rule-of-thumb‟. This applies to lines such as some drains and
utility lines that may be sized based on general practice e.g. 3” drain lines from vessels,
instrument bridles, 1½” air lines etc.
2. Liquid lines where the flow rates are defined volumetrically and the sizing criteria are
velocity based.
Lines that do require physical properties are:

1. Lines containing single-phase liquid based on pressure drop or erosional considerations

2. Lines containing single-phase gas
3. Multiphase lines

Typically, the following physical properties need to be determined:

1. Liquid density
2. Gas density and compressibility factor (Z)
3. Vapour liquid split and phase envelopes for multiphase pipelines
4. Liquid and emulsion viscosities
5. Gas viscosity
6. Gas and Liquid Specific Heat and Enthalpy
7. Gas and Liquid thermal conductivity (when heat transfer is an issue)
8. Hydrate formation curve
9. Wax/asphaltene deposition conditions, pour points etc.

It is important to appreciate the level of accuracy required from this data for line sizing
purposes. In some cases line size and hydraulics will be very sensitive to fluid properties, in
other cases fluid properties have little or no (see above) influence on the selected line size. In a
typical design there will be hundreds of lines to size and it is important not to waste time
defining physical properties with excessive accuracy where the line size is not sensitive to this
information. Typical examples of this might be gas viscosities for turbulent gas flow or thermal
conductivities for insulated pipe.

Situations where special care is required on ensuring fluid properties data is accurate and valid
are discussed in the following sections.

8.1 Emulsion Viscosities

For Reynolds numbers between 2000 and 4000, the flow lies in the critical zone. In this region,
the flow may be either laminar or turbulent depending on several factors. The friction factor in
this region is indeterminate, bounded by a lower limit given by the laminar flow regime and an
upper limit based on turbulent flow conditions. For Reynolds numbers below 2000, the flow is
laminar and the friction factor given by Poiseuille's Equation:

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64 
d v 

In this case the friction factor and pressure drop are proportional to viscosity and typically 3 to 4
times higher than in the turbulent flow regime.

Because of this, care should be taken when the viscosity of the crude or its emulsions are of the
order 102 cps or greater. This particularly applies for heavy and waxy crudes where the rheology
can become non-Newtonian (i.e. demonstrating a viscosity that varies with shear rate). By their
nature, heavy crude wells have flowing tubing head pressures and available pressure drops that
are low. This factor combined with the strong dependence of friction factor on viscosity means
that the line sizing is very sensitive to liquid viscosities. This problem is compounded by the
strong dependence of heavy crude viscosity on temperature and emulsion behaviour.

In these situations, viscosity should be derived from measured data wherever possible. Viscosity
derived from process simulation package should be treated with caution.

8.1.1 Emulsion Viscosities

For sizing calculations of lines carrying oil and water where emulsions are likely to be formed,
due regard should be given to the possible high emulsion viscosity, as this can be higher than the
individual phases on their own. For estimating viscosity to be used in sizing calculations, the
following Guth and Simha equations may be used (References 30, 31):

For oil in water:

 oiw  w   o  1.0  2.5  w  14.1  w

  

For water in oil, beyond the inversion point:

 wio  w   w  1.0  2.5 1   w  14.1 1   w

      2

The two equations may be combined into a composite equation:

      
 e  w   oiw  w      w   wio  w    w     


[ 1  tanh [ n  ( a  b ) ] ]
( a  b ) 

is a „flip‟ function to simulate the inversion of the emulsion. n, (n>0) is a coefficient that affects
the sharpness of the transition at the inversion point.

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e is the emulsion viscosity
w is the viscosity of produced water
o is the viscosity of oil
oiw is the viscosity of the oil in water emulsion
wio is the viscosity of the water in oil emulsion
w is the volume fraction of water in the mixture (i.e. BS&W)
is a parameter associated with the inversion point of the emulsion expressed as a fraction i.e.
value of w when the fluid becomes an oil in water emulsion.

A typical curve is shown below with some experimental data from one of the Gannet crudes.

Guth and Simha Model


Emulsion Viscosity cP






0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Water Cut

Guth and Simha Gannet 21/30-11 at 40 deg C

This equation has some basis in theory, however, where strong emulsions are anticipated such as
in low API gravity crude, it is recommended that laboratory tests be performed to calibrate the
viscosity predictions.

Another correlation that is frequently used for oil production systems is the Woelflin correlation
However, at higher water cuts (greater than about 40%) it tends to be excessively pessimistic
leading to higher pressure drops than are actually likely to occur (Reference 31). The Shell
Dehydration Manual provides further insight into emulsions and dispersions (Reference 49).

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 19 of 46

This section covers the criteria for sizing lines that handle single-phase liquids. This includes oil-
water mixtures as long as there is no gas. The methodologies for sizing lines containing gas are
covered in Section 10.0.

Many of the liquid lines will be sized initially prior to any detailed knowledge of layout. There is
little justification in spending large amounts of time on complex hydraulic calculations. Initial
line sizing should be performed, as far as possible, using graphical methods where velocity is a
limiting factor. When more detailed layout information is available, sizes for critical items such as
pump suction lines should be confirmed using pressure drop calculations.

9.1 General Approach

The sizing criteria for liquid lines will depend on application. In general, the function and
application of the line will determine the sizing criterion to be selected. Where pressure drop is
not a determining parameter, the size should be determined by the velocity constraints given in
Section 9.2. The following applications are not sized according to maximum allowable velocity.

1. Centrifugal pump suction and discharge lines

2. Reciprocating pump suction and discharge lines
3. Control valve inlet lines
4. Gravity flow lines (including tank overflow, drains, caissons, and drainage box design)
5. Caisson vent lines
6. Fire water lines
7. Oily-water systems
8. Drilling fluid systems

These require special considerations that are described in the following sections.

9.2 Velocity Limitations

The velocities should in general be kept low enough to prevent problems with erosion, water
hammer, pressure surges, noise, and vibration and reaction forces. In some cases, a minimum
velocity is required. Table 2 shows recommended maximum velocities for various services and

Table 2 Maximum Velocities for Sizing Liquid Lines (Norsok, Reference 34)

Fluid Maximum Velocities (m/s)

Carbon Steel SS/Titanium CuNiFe [4] GRP
Liquids 6 [2] 3 6
Liquids with Sand [3] 5 7 n.a. 6
Liquids with large quantities of mud or silt [3] 4 4 n.a. n.a.
Untreated seawater [1] 3 7 3 6
Deoxygenated Seawater 6 [2] 3 6

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[1] For pipe less than DN200 (8"), see BS MA-18 (see figure 1 below) for maximum velocity
[2] For Stainless Steels and Titanium the maximum velocity is limited by system design
(available pressure drop/reaction forces). 7m/s may be used as a typical starting value for
[3] Minimum velocity for liquids with sand should be in accordance with ISO 13703
[4] Minimum velocity for CuNi is 1.0 m/s.

When the service is intermittent, the velocity can be increased to 10 m/s. For CuNi the
maximum velocity is 6 to 10 m/s depending on duration and frequency of operation.

Figures for approximating minimum and maximum recommended liquid velocities for various
pipe sizes can be found in API RP 14E, Reference 10. It is typically advisable to add a 20-50%
margin or “surge factor” to the anticipated normal flow rate. That is, unless more detailed surge
analysis has been performed.

9.3 Centrifugal Pump Suction and Discharge Lines

The suction piping should be sized based on NPSH requirements. The NPSH is the total
suction head in feet of the liquid being pumped minus the absolute vapour pressure in feet of
the liquid being pumped. See the example below for an NPSH calculation. The following
maximum velocity and maximum pressure drop gradient criteria should be satisfied for
preliminary sizing purposes:

Design Suction velocity 0.6 to 1 m/s

Design Discharge velocity 1.8 to 2.7 m/s

Suction - Sub-cooled liquids: 0.25 bar/100m

Suction - Boiling Liquids: 0.05 bar/100m
Discharge 0.9 bar/100m

The fluid temperature should be at least 15C below the fluid boiling point temperature to allow
the sizing to be based on the criterion for sub-cooled liquids.

Reference 9 specifies the Shell DEP requirements for margins between NPSH required
(NPSHR) and NPSH available (NPSHA).

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NPSH Example (Example from Crane Hydraulic Book)

Open system, source above the pump at 68°F. Atmospheric pressure is 14.696 psia, the vapour
pressure of the liquid is 0.339 psia, and frictional losses are 2.92 ft

NPSH = ha – hvap + hst – hfs

Where ha is the absolute pressure (in feet of the liquid being pumped) on the surface of the
liquid supply level, hvap is the head in feet corresponding to the vapour pressure of the liquid at
the temperature being pumped, hst is the static height in feet that the liquid supply level is above
or below the pump certerline, and hfs is the suction line losses (in feet) including the entrance
losses and friction losses through the pipe, valve, fittings, etc.

Liquid Head in feet = psi X 2.31

Sp gravity

Liquid Head in feet = 14.696 psi X 2.31 = 33.96


NPSH = 33.96 – 0.339 + 10 – 2.92

NPSH = 40.26 ft

Reference 9 also provides special requirements „where liquids contain dissolved gas. It should be
assumed that this refers to situations where a light component is chemically combined with the
liquid. An example of this would be pumps installed to pump rich amine in CO2 removal
systems. The effective Henry‟s Law coefficient is lower than for the case of physical solution on
its own. Consequently, the volume of gas liberated as the fluid accelerates into the eye of the
impeller is higher than would be experienced during pump NSPHR testing by the vendor that is
normally performed with water.

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9.4 Reciprocating pump suction and discharge lines

For reciprocating pumps, the suction piping should be based on NPSH requirements. The
following guideline should be considered when specifying discharge piping to minimize

a. Discharge piping should be as short and direct as possible

b. Discharge piping may be one or two sizes larger than the discharge connection
c. The velocity in the discharge piping should not exceed three times the velocity in the
suction piping.
d. Include a suitable pulsation dampener or make provisions for a retrofit as close to the
pump discharge as possible.
e. Table 3 may be used to determine preliminary suction and discharge line sizes.

Table 3 Reciprocating Pump Maximum Suction/Discharge Velocities

Maximum Average Velocity (m/s)
Speed (RPM)
Suction Discharge
<250 0.6 1.8
250 - 330 0.45 1.4
>330 0.3 0.9

These limits are for a single plunger pump without installed pulsation dampers. The fluid
velocity from a reciprocating pump varies over time – the velocities above are time-averaged.
Increasing the number of plungers and/or installing pulsation dampers may be used to increase
the velocity limits in the table above (Reference 21, 22). Reference 22 includes an example of
how to size a pulsation dampener.

Allowance should be made for the acceleration losses in reciprocating pump suction lines. For
simplex pumps, the suction and discharge lines should be sized for 1.6 times the pump rate. For
other reciprocating pump configurations, follow references 1 (Section and 10.

9.5 (Liquid) Flowmeter Inlet Hydraulics

Numerous difficulties have arisen on production separator outlet liquid flowmeters where gas
break-out has occurred. In many ways this is analogous to the pump NPSH problem. In some
cases these have been sufficiently severe to render the flow meter in-operable and mitigation can
be very difficult (if for example a vessel elevation change is required).

In order to avoid this issue the total fluid pressure needs to be sufficiently above the vapour
pressure to avoid gas breakout. Unless a pump is added (which for custody transfer is often the
case), static head due to relative elevation. The following points need to be borne in mind :

 The static head (elevation) from lowest liquid level down to the flowmeter inlet needs to
be sufficient to account for nozzle losses, piping friction and unrecovered meter losses.
 Inlet piping should be designed without high points sufficient vapour break out as it is
unlikely that recombination will occur even if the flowmeter elevation is correct.

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This requires coordination between the process, mechanical, civil and instrumentation engineer.

9.6 Control Valve Inlet Hydraulics

It is preferable to design (liquid) control valve inlets for liquid service to avoid gas breakout in a
similar fashion to the flowmeter discussion to avoid capacity constraints due to the vapour
phase. Where this is not feasible, and resultant vapour would have a significant impact on
control valve sizing and specification, the control valve sizing and specification basis needs to be

9.7 Gravity Flow Lines

Gravity flow lines are those where the liquid flows by gravity forces instead of pressure
difference. This includes tank overflows, drains (sanitary, closed and open drains).

Problems have occurred on facilities with significant elevation changes, such as multi-deck Oil
and Gas platforms, associated with routing „gravity‟ flow pipes such as overboard water lines.
Problems of pulsation and vibration due to formation of vacuum if inadequate vacuum breakers
are provided (causing cavitation for example), or inadequate consideration of air entrainment
where vacuum breakers are installed, can occur in this piping as well as the overboard caisson
itself. As an example, a water pipe transporting water downhill to an atmospheric sump, would
likely have sub-atmospheric pressures upstream.

9.7.1 Tank Overflows

The size of tank overflow lines should be greater than or equal to the size of the largest inlet
pipe as a minimum starting point. However particularly where the overflow line is routed a
significant distance from the tank, a rigorous hydraulic analysis is needed

9.7.2 Gravity Flow - Near Horizontal Pipes

Generally, for fixed installations, a minimum downward slope of 1:100 should be used.
However, with mud and/or sand, the slope should be at least 1:75.

On floating installations, the slopes must be evaluated according to planned installation trim.

Main drain headers normally have a minimum size of 6”.

Drain piping should be sized (running full) for the maximum expected flow. This rate should be
based on the requirements to dispose of firewater, rainwater and spills. Guidelines for
determining these rates are contained in Reference 35.

Fluid velocities in drainage piping should be limited to a maximum of 0.9 m/s. This velocity will
generally prevent dispersion of oil by turbulence. This velocity may be exceeded under the fire
fighting design condition.

Higher velocities are also permitted in systems that are primarily designed for de-ballasting
systems and cooling water networks, to avoid uneconomical pipe sizes. Designs should aim for
uniform stable flows (e.g. large radius bends, no tee junctions etc.) Velocities of less than
0.3 m/s should be avoided in order to prevent a premature separation and consequent

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accumulation of oil/sediment within the drainage network. For a continuously oil contaminated
drainage network with low and often intermittent design flows it is recommended to provide a
minimum constant flow through the system (e.g. diversion of cooling water to the upstream
sumps) (Reference 26).

Pipes that are running full, and do not require a minimum downward slope to avoid particle
deposition, should be sized according to the total available static pressure head, and the
maximum allowable velocities for liquid lines.

Atmospheric, gravity lines should be sized using the table below.

Table 4 Flow Capacity – Near Horizontal pipes (Reference 34)
Nominal Size 1:50 Slope 1:100 Slope
m3/h m3/h
2” 3 2
4” 20 14
6” 60 40
8” 130 95
10” 245 170
12” 400 280
14” 605 425
16” 865 610

If operated at atmospheric pressure, the design pressure of the piping should be 10 barg. This is
based on the requirement to allow the connection and use of fire hoses for flushing and cleaning
(References 23 Section 4.3.3, 24). The design pressure of collection vessels should be 3.5 barg

The minimum size for the sewage and open drain header should be DN100 (4") and sub-headers
DN80 (3").

9.7.3 Gravity Flow – Vertical Down-Flow (excluding drainage box design)

Vertical sections of line flowing vertically downward, such as discharge caissons should be self-
venting and avoid air entrainment. In order to achieve this, these lines are sized to keep the
Froude Number <0.3 (Reference 31). The following formula should be used for sizing:

d 
4 Q
 0.5 
 ( 0.3)  ( 3600)   g 


d = pipe ID (m)
Q = liquid volumetric flow (m3/h)
g = acceleration due to gravity = 9.81 m/s

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Froude numbers between 0.3 and 1.0 can be expected to produce pressure pulsations and

If it is not possible to design for self-venting flow, the piping should be sized to give a Froude
number greater than 1.0 so that

d 
4 Q
 0.5 
 ( 1.0)  ( 3600)   g 

Note that the above equations should be used as there are number of different definitions of
Froude number that sometime causes confusion.

9.7.4 Gravity Flow – Vertical Down-Flow (drainage box design)

A drainage box is a collection system that may be considered a vessel or an atmospheric sump
where the deluge water flow is considered to be larger than the rainfall amount. Drainage of
deluge water from drain boxes through vertical lines should be sized on the basis of 50% of the
available head (assuming the pipe running full of liquid) and not Froude number. The following
method can be used to determine capacity:


Q 

Q = flow in m3/h
f = Moody friction factor
D = pipe ID (m)

f can be calculated from the Nikuradse formula:

f 
 2 log d   1.74
   
  2   

Where  is the pipe roughness in metres.

The formula is derived by equating 50% of the available hydrostatic head with the friction losses
in the pipe loss:

d g
V max

Where Vmax is the maximum velocity in m/s and g is the acceleration due to gravity

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9.7.5 Caisson Vent Lines

A vent line is normally included from top of the vertical gravity line from platform topside to sea
for seawater and produced water discharge lines. The vent line should be designed for an air
volumetric flow rate equal to the liquid volumetric flow through the vertical line and a pressure
loss of maximum 0.02 bar/100 m.

9.8 Fire Water Lines

Fire water system line sizing should be performed in close consultation with Safety Engineering
Specialists. Line sizing is required to ensure the correct delivery of flow to deluge nozzles,
monitors and hose stations at various locations in the plant. The line sizing of fire water lines
should be based on supply and delivery pressures and allowable flow velocities. The pressure
drop to large deluge systems should be calculated based on the most hydraulically unfavourable
pipe routing. In the ring-main pipework, the flow velocity should not exceed the values
specified in Reference 25 Section 4.1.4.

For offshore systems only, upstream of the deluge skids, the flow velocities should not exceed
10 m/s. Some areas may require velocities higher than 10 m/s in order to balance systems
hydraulically. This is acceptable if the pipework is adequately supported to accommodate
reaction forces and prevent flow-induced vibration. The design should be performed in
accordance with Reference 36, Section

Pressure drop calculations through fire fighting hose and fittings should be performed using
vendor data e.g. Reference 11.

In many cases, the design of firewater systems requires the development of a detailed network
model by specialist contractors

9.9 Oily Water Systems

The lines for oily-water to water treatment systems should be sized in order to retain the size of
oil droplets in the water. This can be achieved by providing low velocities. Typically, the
velocity should not exceed 3 m/s. This should be considered in the selection of fittings and
instruments in these lines to avoid sharing of oil droplets.

9.10 Drilling Fluid Systems

The minimum flowing velocity of drilling fluid should not be lower than 0.8 m/s in order to
prevent the settling of sand in pipes. The maximum velocity in carbon steel should not exceed
4 m/s to avoid problems such as cavitation/erosion on bends and damage to inline equipment
and vessel internals. The maximum pressure drop gradient in pump suction and gravity flow
pipes (carbon steel) should be 0.3 bar/100m.

9.11 Alternative Procedure for Sizing Offshore Vertical Outfall/Disposal

Caissons Offshore

The following method has been used successfully to size disposal caissons for produced water,
cooling water, fire water etc where the following conditions are met :

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1. Some minor entrainment of air is permissible i.e. some bubbles may be visible at the
outlet of the caisson.
2. The caisson can withstand a partial vacuum as air is drawn into the caisson to form a
stable „central core‟ to maintain a hydraulic balance.
3. The caisson is secured against minor or occasional vibration. Typically the caisson has to
be well secured against storm and wave action anyway.
4. The caisson is freely vented at the top to the atmosphere to allow the required air to be
drawn in to maintain a stable pressure balance.

In practice, for practical services and applications offshore, these conditions can be met. Indeed
this type of configuration may not be suitable at all if these conditions cannot be met. The basis
of the sizing is to ensure a stable annular flow of water around a central core of air, which then
prevents violent „slugging‟ and pressure surges. The correlations and sizing criteria were
developed for use in the civil engineering (plumbing) industry for drainage stacks from
skyscrapers and other tall structures (References 51 and 52). The criteria for stable flow used in
this industry is less than 25-50 mm W.C of internal vacuum or pressure fluctuation to avoid
disruption to upstream drainage sources.

The caisson is sized on a „% full‟ parameter of cross sectional area, typically:

< „¼ full‟ for continuous services e.g. cooling water disposal

< „7/24 -1/3 full‟ for peak loads e.g. firewater pump testing.

Maximum liquid flow capacity is calculates as:

Where α (ft2 ) is cross sectional area assumed full of liquid per the criteria above
d is internal diameter (ft)
Q is the volumetric flow rate (ft3/sec)

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This section applies to lines containing gas. Gas piping systems containing significant levels of
liquids should be sized according to the rules for multi-phase flow.

This section covers normal process lines but excludes flare lines where higher velocities are

The sizing of gas lines will depend on either

a) Velocity, when the pressure drop is not critical, or

b) Pressure drop, when it is.
Pressure drop is deemed critical when
i) The cost savings in reduced line size are outweighed by incremental capital and
operating costs of downstream equipment such as compressors;
ii) JT expansion can result in liquid drop out in critical lines such as those between the
suction scrubber and compressor.

It should also be recognized that high-pressure drops are associated with increased noise,
vibration and erosion.

10.1 Minimum Velocities

There are generally no minimum velocity criteria for lines handling single-phase gas above its
dew point. In certain situations a minimum flowing velocity should be considered in the sizing

a. Where there is the potential for sand or solids to prevent dropout in pockets in lines.
b. Where film-forming corrosion inhibition is used, a minimum velocity is required to
ensure that the corrosion inhibitor coats the pipe wall. This minimum velocity is
typically ~5 m/s. This should be confirmed with the chemical vendor and by multi-
phase flow pattern analysis to ensure that the flow is in the annular-mist or mist flow
c. Where significant levels of liquid carry-over are possible, the lines should be sloped to
allow free drainage to collecting vessels. Where this is not possible a minimum velocity
will be required to ensure the liquid does not collect in low points (generally this
situation should be avoided).
d. Where chemical injection is required to be sprayed into the gas phase, a minimum
velocity may be necessary to ensure adequate mixing. An example of this would be
H2S scavenging by chemical injection.

10.2 Maximum Velocities

The maximum velocity criteria described here apply to general process and utility lines. They do
not apply to flare and vent lines that are subject to infrequent and short-term use and can be
designed for higher velocities. The maximum continuous velocity should not exceed erosional
velocity limits specified in Section 12.1.

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The following velocities can be used for preliminary line sizing: These values are based on the
Piping General Requirements DEP (Reference 20 Section 2.2.2).

a. Air and other gases 10 to 20 m/s;

b. Saturated steam (dry) 15 to 30 m/s;
c. Superheated steam 30 to 60 m/s;
d. Vacuum pipes 10 to 100 m/s.

The limits for „air and other gases‟ above are general and conservative and the potential for
employing higher velocities should be considered where justified by life-time cycle cost
reduction and system integrity is not compromised by, for instance, unacceptable levels of noise
and vibration.

10.3 Pressure Drop Limitations

10.3.1 Criteria

When pressure drop is critical (e.g. when it results in unacceptable liquid drop out in suction
lines between scrubber and compressor suction) pressure gradients shown in Figure 2 should be

Criteria for Sizing Gas Lines Based on Pressure Gradient (Norsok Reference 34)
Operating Pressure (barg) Pressure Drop (bar/100 m)
0 to 35 0.001 to 0.11
35 to 138 0.11 to 0.27
Over 138 P/500 [1]

[1] P is the operating pressure in bara

10.3.2 Methods for Calculating Pressure Gradient

The following equation, which is found in Reference 20 Section, provides a formula for
pressure drop for liquid service. For approximation of pressure drop in gas service, this equation
can be used with the following conditions

1) If pressure drop is less than 10% of the upstream pressure, use density and velocity
based on either the inlet or outlet conditions.
2) If the pressure drop is between 10% and 40% of the upstream pressure, use density and
velocity as averages of inlet and outlet conditions.

Where ΔP is the pressure drop in Pa (1 Pa = 1 N/m2, 105 Pa = 1 bar, 1Pa/m = 10-3 bar/100m)
λ is the friction factor (which depends on the Reynolds number and the roughness factor)
D is the ID of the pipe in m
 is the density in kg/m3
L is the total design length (m)
V is the average linear flow velocity (m/s)

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The sizing of multiphase lines demands special attention due to increased risk of erosion and
mechanical damage compared to single-phase lines.

Erosion is an issue particularly for flowlines conveying well stream fluids that frequently contain
suspended solids. Mechanical damage can result from unbalanced forces that exist in multiphase
flows due to fluctuations of fluid density and velocity. These unbalanced forces are very
effective at exciting pipework creating low frequency (of the order of the natural frequency of
the pipe span), high amplitude vibrations with concomitant stress cycling. This can rapidly lead
to fatigue failure of attached small bore connections and even the pipe itself. These effects are
particularly acute for the intermittent (i.e. slug or plug) flow regime and steps should be taken to
avoid this whenever possible.

If the available pressure drop allows, the velocity should in general be sufficiently high to ensure
a well mixed flow (i.e. mist flow or bubbly flow). This prevents instabilities due to liquid
accumulations, and it allows simple pressure drop calculations. If lower velocities are required
due to limited available pressure drop or at turndown situations, problems with slugging and/or
liquid accumulation in the lines should be considered.

Multiphase pipework should be self-draining and without pockets whenever practical.

The process engineer should include notes on the PEFS and line-list to alert the piping engineer
to the presence of multiphase flow so that pipework and associated small- bore connections are
adequately supported and reinforced. For a detailed discussion of design and operation of multi-
phase lines see Reference 47.

11.1 Unbalanced Forces

Unbalanced forces arising from fluctuating fluid density are generally calculated from the
maximum kinetic energy density of the flow. For non-slug flow, this parameter is evaluated
from homogeneous densities and mixture velocities i.e.
wg ww  wo
wg ww wo
 
g w o

 wg ww wo  1 
vm      
  g  w  o   Ap

Where m is the no-slip mixture density, wg, ww, wo are the mass flow rates of gas, water and oil,
g, w, o are the densities of gas, water and oil, Ap is the cross-sectional area of the pipe.

If mvm2 > 200,000 Pa the piping discipline should be consulted in order to consider reaction

This applies to all fluid services (gas, liquid, two-phase)

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For slug flow, the process engineer is required to supply design slug densities and velocities.

The simplest approach is to assume the liquid density for  and the superficial gas velocity for v.
For a typical flowline, 800 <  < 1000 kg/m3, giving a maximum velocity of 14 to 15.8 m/s.
However, in practice, liquid slugs are not sustainable at higher velocities and the slug density is
considerably less than that of single-phase liquid. Application of this approach, particularly in
flare systems may lead to over design by trying to design to accommodate slugs of dense liquid
travelling at Mach 0.5! This is further discussed in Section 13 on the sizing of Flare Lines.


The extent of erosion will depend on a number of factors including material selection, solids
loading, fluid velocity and corrosiveness of the fluid. As a primary assessment, the DEP in
Reference 12 recommends that if system maximum velocities are below 30 m/s (98 ft/s), no
specific erosion assessment is required. Above this velocity an assessment should be performed
by an expert using the recommended University of Tulsa SPPS program.

Prior to this software availability, API 14E was used for erosion calculations. However this
method has been shown to be both under and over conservative depending on the solids
loading. The API 14E method should not be used for erosion calculations.

12.1 API RP 14E Approach

While many existing facilities have been designed using the API 14E approach, this method is
outlined for reference only. The API 14E approach should not be used for new designs.

The maximum velocity to limit erosion is calculated by the API RP 14E formula (below).

V c 


Vc = maximum velocity to avoid erosion m/s

m =is the homogeneous mixture mean density in kg/m3
C = an empirical coefficient the value of which depends on the material of selection. C should
also depend on sand loading, however, as this is rarely if ever known with any certainty, this
dependence is sometimes ignored. More sophisticated evaluations based on laboratory research
can assess the impact of solids loading.

Both ISO 13703 and API RP 14 E recommend the following values for C:

C14E = 122 for continuous service

153 for intermittent service

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Field experience has shown that the API RP14E values are conservative so the C values in Table
5 should be used for solids free systems unless advised otherwise. These values are based on a
recent North Sea Project:

12.2 Corrosive Service

For carbon steel piping systems, the corrosion rate often limits the lifetime. With increased flow
velocity, the corrosion rate tends to increase due to increased shear forces and increased mass

For initial sizing, the flow velocity should be restricted to maximum 20 m/s to limit the erosion
of the protective layer of corrosion products and reduce the risk for a corrosion inhibitor film
break down. This velocity limit is for stripping inhibitors; 20 m/s should be achievable with all
modern inhibitors. Inhibitors that work at higher velocities are available, but these require
specific testing. A suitable sizing velocity should be determined in conjunction with the
corrosion engineers as part of the project corrosion prevention philosophy.

Where it is proposed to protect the pipework or pipelines with film-forming corrosion inhibitor
the sizing may be based on a velocity that maintains the integrity of the corrosion inhibitor on
the pipe wall. For effective distribution, the pipeline velocity needs to be maintained high
enough to be in the annular-mist flow regime. However, if the velocity is too high, the film is
removed from the pipe wall. It is recommended, if such inhibition systems are considered, that
discussions with chemical vendors are conducted early in design and, if necessary, laboratory
tests performed to establish an acceptable velocity range. These parameters can have a
significant effect on pipeline specification.

The minimum velocity should be verified in order to avoid the breakdown of protective scale by
solids deposited from the pipeline.

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The sizing of flare, relief, vent and emergency depressuring lines should be in accordance with
the provisions of Reference 13.

Starting in the Define Phase and continuing into the Execute Phase a detailed model of the flare
system network should be developed using a specialist computer program such as Flarenet or
equivalent. An analysis should be performed for all controlling relieving, depressuring and
process flaring cases to ensure that the maximum allowable backpressure at each individual
relieving device is not exceeded.

Although this guideline is not concerned with material section, it should be noted that
conditions in flare systems often require low temperature materials.

13.1 Relief Valve Inlet Lines

Relief valve inlet line sizing is generally performed during the project „Execute‟ phase. During
the „Define‟ Phase, relief valve and associated pipework sizing has not been performed and
hence the size should be identified by a „HOLD‟ on the PEFS and line list. The following points
are meant to serve as rules-of-thumb for inlet line sizing:

a. Relief valve inlet line pressure drops should be less than 3% set pressure based on a
maximum flow through the installed relief area. Inlet pressure losses that exceed this
value cause valve chatter that has the potential to
i. Cause severe damage to the valve and surrounding pipework caused by severe
ii. Reduce the effective relief area, as, on average, a chattering relief valve is only
partially open.

The exceptions to the 3% rule are:

i. Pilot-operated valves with a remote non-flowing pilot impulse line taken from
the protected equipment;
ii. Relief valves fitted with a modulating rather than snap acting trim. This allows
the inlet hydraulic loss to be assessed on the actual relieving rather than the rated

b. For initial estimates, an equivalent length of 40m can be assumed in the absence of
specific piping layouts. The pipe absolute roughness selected should be as follows:

Carbon Steel: 0.05 mm

Stainless Steel: 0.05 mm

c. As a rule-of-thumb, the inlet line should also be at least one nominal size greater than
the relief valve inlet flange. Some small low capacity relief valves, such as those
installed for thermal relief, may not need the increased size. However, in all cases, the inlet
pipe bore area should be greater than the installed area of the relief valves.

d. Relief valve inlet lines should be self draining and un-pocketed. This requirement
should be clearly identified on the PEFS.

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13.2 Relief Valve Discharge Lines

See Reference 13 for detailed guidelines on sizing Relief valve discharge lines. The following
points are meant to serve as rules-of-thumb for discharge line sizing:

a) For tailpipes, it is acceptable to have a Mach number of 1, calculated at the rated

flow rate and downstream end-of-line conditions.
b) For balanced bellows relief valves, the line should be sized to limit the built-up
backpressure to less than 30% of the set pressure (gauge).
c) For pilot operated valves, the maximum backpressure should not exceed the critical
pressure so that the PSV sizing is independent of downstream pressure.
d) The maximum backpressure should be less than the maximum service limit of the
flare pipework.
e) The Flarenet program or equivalent should be used to model flare networks.
f) The absolute roughness factors to use for carbon steel flare lines can be found in
Section 8.3. If the flare system discharges to atmosphere or there is oxygen present
in the relief system, assume the corroded values for roughness factors. Otherwise use
the non-corroded roughness values.
g) As a rule-of-thumb, the discharge line should be at least one nominal size greater
than the relief valve outlet flange. The discharge line size should be greater than or
equal to the relief valve discharge flange.
h) The discharge line should be self draining and un-pocketed. This requirement
should be clearly identified on the PEFS. An exception to this is small liquid and
thermal relief valves. For these cases an exception to this rule is generally

13.3 Flare Headers and Sub Headers

Guidelines for acceptable Mach number in headers and sub headers can be found in Reference
14. Where these criteria cannot be met, additional calculations should be shown to document
that the selected pipe size is still acceptable. This involves evaluating piping stress levels, pipe
supports, noise, etc. The v2 value should not exceed 200,000 Pa. This criterion provides a
shorthand check for vibration, fatigue, noise, and erosion (Reference 34)

13.4 Controlled Flaring Lines

Controlled flaring lines downstream of pressure control valves should be designed for a
maximum velocity of Mach 0.5.

13.5 Depressuring Lines

In the lines, upstream or downstream of the blowdown valve, the value of v2 should not exceed
200,000 Pa.

Where large inventories of cold gas are being depressurised, an assessment should be made of
the effect of pipe chilling upstream and downstream of the blowdown valve. The pipework
downstream of the blowdown or depressuring valve needs to be designed for low temperatures

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 35 of 46

when inventories of high-pressure gas are depressurized. For this reason, flare systems are often
fabricated from low temperature carbon steels or 316L Austenitic Stainless Steel. The upstream
pipework‟s minimum temperature during depressuring should also be evaluated. A low
temperature material is often included for a minimum length of 600 mm upstream of the
restriction. The validity of this approach should be confirmed by heat transfer calculation in
detail design. The thermodynamic effects that occur during a depressuring event are described in
detail in Reference 50, the Plant and Pipeline Depressuring Guideline.

13.6 Multiphase Relief Lines

Tail pipes downstream of relief valves designed for full flow relief should be designed to
accommodate high velocity two-phase flow. Furthermore, the flare system pipework is often
fabricated from Schedule 10S 316 Austenitic Stainless Steel. This makes the pipework
potentially very flexible and vulnerable to damage from large forces generated by the unbalanced
flow of fluids. In order to assess the severity of these loads it is necessary to calculate the peak
v2 for the flow.

Multi phase relief lines should be sized based on the following criteria:

a) For potential slug/plug flow: V < 50 m/s (branch lines only)

b) For homogenous flow: v2 < 200,000 Pa

Note that for case (a), slug or plug flow are unlikely to exist at velocities approaching 50m/s in a
steady state situation. They could exist transiently in certain situations such as in the pipework
immediately downstream of bursting discs on liquid filled system.

The recommended approach for calculating v2 is to model the tail pipe flow with Flarenet or
similar program and calculate the maximum value of v2 based on the assumption that the flow
is homogeneous. In some cases, such as bends downstream of bursting discs protecting shell-
and-tube heat exchangers, a high velocity transient liquid slug may be a credible scenario.

Pipework that have v2 approaching 200,000 Pa should be checked using the methodology in
Reference 27 Appendix A2

If v2>200,000 Pa mitigation measures should be taken in consultation with the piping stress
engineer. Typical examples are:

a) Tie into the flare header with 45 laterolets;

b) Use of thick walled pipework – typically with  ½” wall thickness
c) Reinforce small-bore connections
d) Additional and strengthened pipework supports

13.7 Relief Valve Reaction Forces

Reaction forces generated by the lifting of relief valves need to be accommodated by adequately
supporting the valve and associated pipework. The formulae for calculating the reaction forces
are contained in Reference 38.

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 36 of 46

13.8 Atmospheric Flare and Vent Lines

Special consideration needs to be given to sizing atmospheric flare and vent systems that operate
at a few milli-barg. These are frequently connected to tanks that have design pressures of 20
mbarg for „Low Pressure‟ Tanks and 56 mbarg for „High Pressure‟ Tanks. The venting
requirements for these tanks are described in Reference 42. The pressure drop may be
calculated using the ESI program or the methods outlined in ISO 13703 (Reference 1) Section
5.4.2. Note that the pressure drop is low relative to absolute pressure hence gas density changes
along the pipe will be small allowing the use of the incompressible flow equation with
compressibility factor, Z=1.

Where atmospheric vents are attached to vertical caissons on offshore platforms, account should
be taken of the effect of the pumping action of the sea on the hydraulics of the vent system.

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 37 of 46

14.1 Noise Generation

The main source of noise in process pipework is generated across valves. The piping
downstream of the valves is considered the principal radiator of the generated noise. There are
three main sources of valve noise:

a) Mechanical Vibration

Mechanical noise is caused by the response of internal components within a valve to turbulent
flow through the valve. Vortex shedding and turbulent flow impinging on components of the
valve can induce vibration against neighbouring surfaces. Noise generated by this type of
vibration has a tonal characteristic.

b) Aerodynamic Noise

Aerodynamic noise is a direct result of the conversion of the mechanical energy of the flow into
acoustic energy as the fluid passes through a valve restriction. The proportionality of conversion
is called acoustical efficiency and is related to valve pressure ratio and design.

c) Hydrodynamic Noise

Liquid flow noise, cavitation noise, and flashing noise can be generated by the flow of a liquid
through a valve and piping system. Of the three noise sources, cavitation is the most serious
because noise produced in this manner can be a sign that damage is occurring at some point in
the valve or piping. Unlike aerodynamic noise, hydrodynamic noise can be destructive even at
low levels, thus requiring additional limitations for good valve application practice.\

Typically detailed vibration analysis is carried out by mechanical engineers. A summary of this
analysis is shown in Appendix C and in Reference 20.

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 38 of 46


1. Petroleum and natural gas industries – Design and installation of piping systems on
offshore production platforms, BS EN ISO 13703:2001, BSI 13th August 2002.
2. Piping General Requirements, DEP February 2011, Appendices 1
and 2
3. API STD 521 „Pressure-Relieving and Depressuring Systems‟, 5th Edition, January
2007 Section, Design of Relief Device Discharging Piping’
4. GPSA Handbook, Section 17, Fluid Flow and Piping
5. Standard Calculation Spreadsheet (SCS) Quality Control Procedure, GEN-EPA-
E14-00013, March 2005.
6. GPSA Engineering Data Book, Section 23, Physical Properties
7. Piping General Requirements, DEP February 2011, Section
8. Flow Fluids Through Valves, Fittings and Pipe, Crane Publication 410M, Section 2.8
and Appendix A-23 to 29
9. Centrifugal pumps (amendments/supplements to ISO 13709) DEP,
February 2011,, Parts III (Section 6.1.8 and and IV (Section 6.1.8)
10. API RP 14E, Section 2.3, Sizing Criteria for Liquid Lines
11. Angus Fire web site
12. Selection of Materials for Life Cycle Performance (Upstream Facilities) – Materials
Selection Process, DEP, Appendix D.2 and D.3, February 2011
13. Design of Pressure Relief, Flare and Vent Systems, DEP, Section
3, February 2011.
14. Design of Pressure Relief, Flare and Vent Systems, DEP, Section
3.2, February 2011.
15. GAP Multiphase Network Optimisation Program,
16. Two Phase Flow in Pipes by J.P. Brill and H Dale Beggs, Third Edition, Dec 1978 p
17. Definition of Temperature, Pressure and Toxicity Levels, DEP
February 2011
18. Piping classes - exploration and production, DEP, February 2011
19. Gbaran Ubie, Piping Materials and Design Conditions, GBU-EPA-GBA-G26-
00006-A21, December 2004
20. Piping General Requirements, DEP February 2011
21. API RP 14E, Section 2.3b
22. See Appendix B for an example sizing calculation and web sites such as
23. Drain Systems for Offshore Installations, DEP, February 2011
24. Drainage and Primary Treatment Facilities, DEP, February 2011
25. Active fire protection systems and equipment for onshore facilities, DEP, , February 2011, Section 4.1.4
26. Drainage and Primary Treatment Facilities DEP, , February 2011,
Section 2.4.5
27. Guidelines for the Avoidance of Vibration Induced Fatigue in Process Pipework,
Publication 99/100, Marine Technology Directorate Ltd, 1999.
28. Noise Control Manual, Masoneilan Bulletin OZ3000 01/02,
29. Piping Handbook (7th Edition) Edited by: Nayyar, Mohinder L. © 2000; McGraw-
Hill, Page B446

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 39 of 46

30. Rheology of Filled Polymer Systems, Chapter 4 p 140, Publisher: Springer - Verlag
1999 ISBN: 0-412-83100-7, Shenoy, Aroon V
31. Pipesys Reference Guide, 2002, p2-23,
32. R.S.Cunliffe, “Prediction of condensate flowrates in large diameter high pressure wet
gas pipelines”, Australian Petroleum Exploration Association Conference, APEA
Journal 1978
33. Production Handbook, Volume 8, SIPM The Hague 1991, Section
34. Norsok, Process Design, P-001, Rev 5, September 2006 Petroleum - P-Process
35. DEP, Drainage and Primary Treatment Facilities, February 2011,
Section 2.4 and DEP, Drain Systems For Offshore Installations,
February 2011, Section 4
36. DEP, Water-based Fire Protection Systems for Offshore Facilities,
February 2011
37. Experimental Study if Two-Phase Normal Slug Flow in a Pipeline-Riser System, Z.
Schmidt, J.P. Brill, H.D. Beggs, Journal of Energy Resources Technology, March
1981, Vol 103, 67.
38. API RP 520, Sizing, Selection, and Installation of Pressure-Relieving Devices in
Refineries, Part II Installation, 5th Edition, August 2003, Section 4.4
39. Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook (7th Edition) Edited by: Perry, R.H.; Green,
D.W. © 1997; McGraw-Hill, Equation 6-39
40. Two Phase Flow in Pipes by J.P. Brill and H Dale Beggs, Third Edition, Dec 1978
Section 2.
41. EPT-RO, SIEP RTS Rijswijk Research Note: Phase Behaviour Guidelines, Ard van
Bergen, Helmut Niko, Toon Weisenborn, December 7th, 1999
42. Vertical Steel Storage Tanks – Selection Design and Construction
(Ammendments/Supplements to EN 14015) Sections 4.1.6 and 4.1.7, DEP, February 2011
43. Olga Web Site:
44. Imperial College Blowdown Program web site: http://www.imperial-
45. Piping General Requirements DEP, February 2011, Section 3.13
46. Selection of Materials for Life Cycle Performance (EP), DEP,
February 2011
47. Guidelines for the hydraulic design and operation of multiphase flow pipeline
systems. Revision GS.09.51858. Shell Global Solutions, 2009.
48. Wolf, S. de. Dynamic Modelling Guidelines. SR.11.13634. Shell Global Solutions,
49. Dehydration Manual. Revision GS. 08.54434. Shell Global Solutions, 2009.
50. Plant and Pipeline Depressuring Guide. Revision GS.09.53369. Shell Global
Solutions, 2009
51. Report on Hydraulics and Pneumatics of Plumbing Drainage Systems-1, Dawson
and Kalinske, Iowa Institute of Hydraulic research, University of Iowa , 1937
52. National Plumbing Code Handbook, Standards and Design Information, 1st Edition,
McGraw-Hill, 1957.
53. ISO 13623, Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries – Pipeline Transportation
Systems. Second Ed., 2009-06-15

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 40 of 46

54. The American Society for Mechanical Engineers, ASME B31.3 – 2010, Process
Piping – ASME Code for Pressure Piping
55. Deoiling Manual, Shell Global Solutions, 2010

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 41 of 46

1. P ulsation Damper Evaluation

P ulsation damper is a 690 bar 0.5 litre F awcett C hristie dev ice
P umps are Gaso P umps Inc Triplex P lunger P umps M odel 3211-HF w ith 7/8" plunger w ith a capacity of 772
litres per hour. A ssume that plunger is 7/8" x 2" as per dw g B-151-865 in Ref 7. F rom Reference 6:

 25.4  10 3 m Diameter of plunger

DP 

LP  2  25.4  10 3 m length of plunger

VP 
    DP2  LP  m3 v olume of plunger
 
 4 

VP  1.97  10 5 m3/stroke

K  0.13 for single acting triplex pump

n  0.714 poly tropic exponent for nitrogen

D  0.025 fluctuation factor

P  273 barg operating pressure on pump discharge

Pmin  P  ( 1  D)

Pmax  P  ( 1  D)

Pmin  266.2

Pmax  279.8
 P 
1000  VP  K   
PDQ 
 Pmin  litres required capacity for pulsation dampener
 n
  P  
  Pmax  
1 
   

PDQ  0.149 litres

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 42 of 46


Identifying System Vibration

Depending upon the type of service, the flow regime, and the equipment being used, significant
vibration can be generated in areas of the process.

a) Flow Induced Vibration

This type of vibration is more predominant in turbulent flow regime piping systems because
turbulent flow generates potentially high levels of kinetic energy. This energy is distributed
across a wide frequency range. The majority of the excitation is concentrated at low frequency.
This type of vibration leads to displacement of piping system and in some cases also leads to
damage to pipe supports. Table 5 can be used for determining the piping‟s susceptibility to
failure due to flow induced vibration (Reference 20, Appendix 17.1).

Table 5. Determining Piping Susceptibility to Failure due to Flow Induced Vibration

b) Equipment Induced Vibration

This type of vibration is more predominant in piping systems associated with reciprocating and
positive displacement compressors and pumps. Pulsation for gas lines containing dead legs is
defined by

If this criteria, where “D” is the inside diameter of the dead leg breach in mm, is not met then
see Reference 20, Appendix 17.2

c) High Frequency Acoustic Excitation

This vibration is more predominant in gas piping systems with relief valves, control valves or
orifice plates. For determining the presence of high frequency acoustic excitation, determine the
sound power level with the following equation, which is found in Reference 20, Appendix 17.3.

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 43 of 46

Noise and Vibration Mitigation by Piping Design

The DEP, Piping General Requirements, (Reference 7 Sections 3.9) provides guidance on the
design of small-bore connections. The general approach should be to minimise or eliminate
small bore connections in process piping design.

The following guidelines should be considered for optimum piping design (see Appendix of
Reference 28):

i) Straight lengths

Valves should be installed with straight pipe for at least 10D upstream and 20D downstream of a

ii) Isolating Valves

Isolating block valves, if required, should be selected to ensure minimum resistance to flow. Full
bore type is preferred.

iii) Fluid Velocity

Fluid flow may create higher noise levels than generated by the valve, however this is generally
only the case for gas velocities greater than Mach 0.33 i.e. typically in excess of 100 m/s. In
E&P applications, these velocities are normally restricted to flare systems and consideration
should be given to this source of noise when sizing pipework for valves that are required to
discharge to flare for extended periods.

iv) Expanders and Reducers

Expanders and reducers are a source of turbulence in the fluid stream and may be the source of
additional noise. Concentric reducers and expanders with included angles smaller than 30
upstream and 15 downstream of a valve are recommended.

As an exception to the above, short reducers (large included angles) are recommended with LO-
DB restrictors because of their inherent stiffness and the fact that velocity is low upstream of the

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 44 of 46

v) Piping Connections

Disruptions in the fluid stream, particularly in cases of high fluid velocity, are potential noise
sources. General preferences to avoid turbulence are:

d) Long radius bends rather than elbows

e) Angular inlets such as laterolets rather than 90 Tees
f) One-plane turns rather than double offsets for elevation changes i.e. avoid
closely coupled changes in direction pipework

'one plane turn'

rather than

closely coupled
changes in

g) Use „streamlined‟ mixing points at pipe junctions rather than mixing

„opposing flows‟

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 45 of 46

streamlined mixing rather than opposing flows

h) Use „streamlined‟ branching rather than a conventional branch

'streamlined branching' rather than

'conventional branch'

Piping Supports

A vibration free piping system is not always possible to obtain, especially when using thin-wall
piping such as schedule 5S and 10S. Supports in strategic locations will alleviate many of the
potential structural problems. Thin wall schedule that is subject to mechanical excitation should
be clearly identified with notes on PEFS and line lists so that the appropriate measures can be
taken to design pipe supports.

Acoustically Induced Vibration fatigue

Pipework downstream of high capacity valves, relief valves, or restriction orifices with high-
pressure drops and corresponding noise generation levels should be checked for acoustically
induced vibration (reference 29). Acoustically induced vibration can cause rapid failure of plant
pipework due to the rapid stress cycling of components that can occur at frequencies of the
order kilohertz. The sections of pipework most likely to be affected by this are the discharges of
relief and blow down valves and the piping downstream of compressor-recycle valves.
Empirical methods have been developed to predict the probability of failure of components
subject to acoustic vibration (References 27 Appendix A2.3, 31).
Where acoustic vibration is identified as a problem, mitigation measures should be considered

a) Use of thicker walled pipe;

b) Use of low noise valves;
c) Reinforcement or elimination of small bore connections

EPT-GL-PRO-0001 Process Engineering Guideline: Facility Line Sizing Page 46 of 46