Oil pipes etc

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Oil pipes etc

#1 Post by admin2 » Mon Dec 19, 2022 8:50 am

Spawned from the Ukraine war thread

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Re: Oil pipes etc

#2 Post by boing » Mon Dec 19, 2022 8:51 am

boing wrote:
Mon Dec 19, 2022 8:51 pm
A fellow named Peter Zeihan does some nice presentations on the weaknesses of various energy sources. One item he points out is that if crude oil flow stops in the pipelines in a very low temperature situation the crude congeals in the pipe and the water content freezes causing long term damage which could take years to correct.

I don't know anything about the magic of oil well drilling and pipelines but I would imagine the supply lines to this plant are in that danger.

It is quite likely that the Russians have always depended on the isolation of these plants for their security and they are now seeing their mistake.

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#3 Post by Smeagol » Tue Dec 20, 2022 7:38 pm

boing wrote:
Mon Dec 19, 2022 8:51 pm
A fellow named Peter Zeihan does some nice presentations on the weaknesses of various energy sources. One item he points out is that if crude oil flow stops in the pipelines in a very low temperature situation the crude congeals in the pipe and the water content freezes causing long term damage which could take years to correct.
Having, in an earlier life, worked designing oil pipelines and other producing facilities such as gathering centres, I can confirm that the pour point (the temperature below which crude oil becomes plastic and will not flow) of the oil being transported in a pipeline can be critical to ensure continued transmission. This can be a problem in places where the ambient temperature is quite high if the pour point of the oil is also high. In the oilfields of Sumatra where I worked, there was a single, fairly isolated, oil field which fed its production to the main shipping pipeline via a relatively small ( probably 6" or 8"), quite long, maybe 25Km, shipping line. When a particularly heavy and prolonged rainstorm occurred along this small shipping line the temperature of the product was occasionally cooled below the pour point causing the viscosity to increase and hence the pressure to rise and eventually the shipping pumps to trip on high pressure. When the sun returned and the line warmed up again pumping could be resumed. All this occurring in ambient temperatures of around 30 C.

Not sure about the 'water content freezing' as most oil being pumped any distance through transmission lines have had the water removed. Pumping is a costly business and pumping valueless water is not good economic sense.
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#4 Post by John Hill » Tue Dec 20, 2022 8:05 pm

IIRC, I was once told that a 'plug' of water was pumped through when changing from one type of oil (petrol, kero, diesel) to another. This was in reference to a single pipeline for unloading from ships to a somewhat distant tank farm.
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#5 Post by 1DC » Tue Dec 20, 2022 9:35 pm

You are correct Mr. Hill that is how we would separate the different clean oil grades, usually 50 or 100 tons between grades and 200 tons at the end.. I assume they still do it the same way seems simple enough!
I remember spending five days in Capetown in winter discharging a cargo of cold fuel oil because our London dispatcher (BP) insisted that we didn't have to keep the cargo warm because Capetown was in the tropics. We tried to tell him but he wasn't prepared listen.. Should have taken a day. A nice run ashore, Capetown in 1968 ish.
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Re: Millions of us might be **** if we ignore the Russian-Ukraine war

#6 Post by Pontius Navigator » Tue Dec 20, 2022 9:52 pm

John, on our national pipeline it was not a plug of water. Receivers would contact for a given volume of fuel, say Avtur, another for petrol etc. The oil would be pumped down the pipe and at the appropriate point the Avtur would be diverted to the receiving tanks of the customer. After the requisite quantity the fuel would be shut off and the flow continue down the main pipe with a slug of Avtur preceding the petrol. At the petrol distributor the same process. Finally would come heavy furness fuel oil delivery. The Avtur and petrol slugs plus FFO would then be diverted to the power station.

The whole would have been despatched in SG order.

The other thing in the pipe was defence FO cables but that's another story.

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Re: Millions of us might be **** if we ignore the Russian-Ukraine war

#7 Post by Smeagol » Tue Dec 20, 2022 10:51 pm

More usual method of separating products are batching spheres, introduced and recovered via sphere launchers and receivers at the ends of the pipeline.

Which brings us closer to the fascinating subject of pigging...but I digress!
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#8 Post by 1DC » Tue Dec 20, 2022 11:21 pm

Don't forget the intelligent pig!

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Re: Millions of us might be **** if we ignore the Russian-Ukraine war

#9 Post by 4mastacker » Wed Dec 21, 2022 8:02 am

The ship-to-shore pipeline at Mare Harbour is/was a multi-product line through which we received Diesel, Petrol and Avtur. IIRC, the line was always left charged with Diesel between discharges.

A water plug had previously been used as an interface between products but for my first transfer, it was decided that we would dispense with the water plug. The change in grades of fuel as they moved through the pipe was detected by a spectrometer at the PSD end of the pipe, at which time the interface was diverted into a "Slops" tank until the spectrometer was showing the SG for the new grade. That process was repeated for each grade of fuel as it was pumped through the pipe.

Success relied on the ship's pumps maintaining adequate pressure in the pipeline otherwise we would have been well and truly screwed.

IIRC about 500 gallons from the whole discharge went into the 'slops' tank and that was used to power MPA's heating plant.

Dispensing with the water plug was deemed a success and we used that method for my second, and last transfer before I returned to the UK. As far as I know, it was a procedure which was carried on for many years afterwards.
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Modelling flow rates...

#10 Post by TheGreenAnger » Thu Dec 22, 2022 1:39 pm

1DC wrote:
Tue Dec 20, 2022 9:35 pm
You are correct Mr. Hill that is how we would separate the different clean oil grades, usually 50 or 100 tons between grades and 200 tons at the end.. I assume they still do it the same way seems simple enough!
I remember spending five days in Capetown in winter discharging a cargo of cold fuel oil because our London dispatcher (BP) insisted that we didn't have to keep the cargo warm because Capetown was in the tropics. We tried to tell him but he wasn't prepared listen.. Should have taken a day. A nice run ashore, Capetown in 1968 ish.
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My brother law has retired from BP now but he specialized in mathematically modelling pipe flows and then later multi-phase pipe flows relevant to oil wells.

Very interesting thread this.
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Re: Oil pipes etc

#11 Post by TheGreenAnger » Thu Dec 22, 2022 3:14 pm

I was an IT project manager working for Total on a big IT systems integration project that interfaced all relevant systems in Europe (including the UK) with an integrated SAP ERP system, one of whose facets included monitoring the amount of fuel (and water, vapour, ice etc.) sitting in pipelines, including tank ullages etc. when this disaster occurred.



The disaster wasn't project related I am happy to say, but just let it be said that pipe networking etc. is a hugely complex business although, ultimately it was a sticking valve (in the inevitable Swiss cheese) that caused the biggest explosion in Europe (at that time) since the 2nd World War.


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Re: Oil pipes etc

#12 Post by 4mastacker » Thu Dec 22, 2022 3:30 pm

PN Wrote:
And that answers one question, in that there should be sufficient capacity in the slops tank. ............
IIRC, the capacity of the slops tank at the PSD was only about 1500 gallons!!!! Not a lot when you are discharging a full load from a ship the size of the Maersk Gannet.

That lack of capacity was the cause of a few anxious moments during the ship-to-shore transfer when the change in fuel grades was about to happen. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was vital that the ship's pumps maintained the pressure to keep the interface as compact as possible otherwise we would have had major problems with the different grades mixing and finding somewhere to put the contaminated fuel. :-ss

The situation was not helped by the design of the PSD as the spectrometer indicator was located in the site office some distance from the pipeline manifold valves which diverted the fuel into the various tanks. As the interface passed through the manifold it required three people to open/close the appropriate valves on the signal of the chappie watching the spectrometer indicator - fingers/toes were treble-crossed that the valves would behave and operate smoothly and folks got the open/close sequence correct.
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Re: Oil pipes etc

#13 Post by 1DC » Thu Jan 19, 2023 11:38 am

Used to be a pain on the Aussie coast in the late fifties early sixties. We used to load in Botany Bay and go up to Gladstone,Mackay and Cairns plus many more and discharge small parcels of each grade of clean oil to three or four different oil companies. Each company wanted a few hundred tons each and would pump their own additives in from barrels as we discharged to make it special and better than their rivals. At each change of grade they usually wanted a hundred ton water plug and anything up to a thousand tonnes of water at the end.If we discharged four grades to four companies it was a lot of water and how they got rid of it I wouldn't like to say. A six month tour on the coast was everybody's dream although you always did a couple of weeks short of the six months because if you over ran you went on to Australian rates of pay back dated to when you started and they would never let that happen! If they still needed you down there after six months you loaded a cargo for NZ so you could start again. Happy Days.Six months on the Aussie coast or building a ship in Japan were the young tankermans delight in those days..

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Re: Oil pipes etc

#14 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Thu Jan 19, 2023 3:15 pm

With reference to the Ukraine war, I have held the view for a long time that the Ukrainian SF could simply pop a short distance over the border into Belarus and take out the few Russian-supplied pipelines that do not run through Ukraine.
This is therefore a pressure on the west to support them.
However, this assumes that the pipelines are unguardable for their whole length (true) and that multiple pipe breaches would be difficult to fix (debatable).
However, it might be more effective to take out some node in the system, perhaps a guarded pumping station, if that would be much harder for the Russians to fix.
Does anyone know if there are some parts of the system that the Russians cannot produce themselves, or that would require a much longer time to fix?
In the electrical system, I understand the crucial nodes are the large scale transformers, which are basically all made in China and have long lead times, hence why both sides are hitting them.

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