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Numerical Simulation on Oil Spilling of Submarine Pipeline and Its Evolution on Sea Surface

Yi Wang*, Mohan Lin

National Engineering Laboratory for Pipeline Safety, MOE Key Laboratory of Petroleum Engineering, Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Oil and Gas Distribution Technology, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, 102249, China

* Corresponding Author: Yi Wang. Email:

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2020, 124(3), 885-914.


Due to the interaction and corrosion of the seawater, submarine pipelines are easy to be broken to spill oil. The special environment of subsea restricts the technical development of pipeline maintenance. Therefore, the study on the oil spilling model of submarine pipeline is very important for predicting the movement and diffusion of spilled oil, so that oil spilling traces and relating strategies can be determined. This paper aims to establish an oil spilling model of a submarine pipeline, study the movement characteristics of spilled oil in seawater by numerical simulation, and determine the traces, diffusion range, time to sea surface, etc. Then, the maximum horizontal migration distance (MHMD) with corresponding time are analyzed under different oil densities, spilling speeds and seawater velocities. Results show that the MHMD decreases first and then increases while the time to achieve the MHMD increases along with increasing oil density. The MHMD increases while the time to achieve the MHMD decreases, along with increasing spilling speed. Both the MHMD and corresponding time increase along with increasing seawater velocity. Based on numerical results, a correlation of spilling distance and spilling time is proposed to give fast and accurate predictions. After the oil reaches sea surface, oil expansion and transport are simulated. Euler-Lagrange method is used in the simulation. Dynamic and non-dynamic factors are considered. Results show that wind velocity and water velocity are dominant in dynamic factors. When they are large, spilled oil moves very fast with variable directions in complex flow field. Nondynamic factors such as evaporation, emulsion and solution mainly reduce the volume of oil film. They almost do not affect the direction and displacement of spilled oil. Quick response should be made for large wind and water velocities when the placement of oil boom is given. With the correlation and simulation, emergency responses can be guided effectively to reduce the impact of submarine oil pollution. The computational results benefit pollution control and environmental protection in marine petroleum engineering.


Cite This Article

Wang, Y., Lin, M. (2020). Numerical Simulation on Oil Spilling of Submarine Pipeline and Its Evolution on Sea Surface. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 124(3), 885–914.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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