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Simulating Error-Opening of Pressure Relief Valves of a Station on a Continuous Undulating Oil Pipeline with Large Elevation Difference

Xiaohua Chen1,*, Caifu Lan1, Honghao Zheng2, Wang Li1, Chao Zhao1, Wenjun Dang3
1 National Pipeline Network Group, Southwest Pipeline Co., Ltd., Chengdu, 610094, China
2 National Pipeline Network Group, North Pipeline Company, Langfang, 065000, China
3 National Pipeline Network Group, West-to-East Gas Transmission Company, Shanghai, 200000, China
* Corresponding Author: Xiaohua Chen. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Innovative Energy Systems Management under the Goals of Carbon Peaking and Carbon Neutrality)

Energy Engineering 2022, 119(4), 1439-1452.

Received 08 July 2021; Accepted 26 September 2021; Issue published 23 May 2022


For oil pipeline in mountain areas, high hydrostatic pressure in the pipeline may cause error-opening of pressure relief valves, and oil is discharged from the pipeline to the pressure relief tanks, bringing spilling-over risk of the pressure relief tanks. Therefore, simulating the error-opening situations of the pressure relief valves and investigating the oil discharge process are necessary for checking the possibility of the spilling-over accident and then proposing measures to improve the pressure relief system. This research focuses on a continuous undulating oil pipeline with large elevation difference and a station along this pipeline, which is named B station in this paper, is studied. By OLGA software, simulation model of the pressure relief system of B station is established, and the accuracy of the model is verified by reconstructing a real accident and making a comparison with the actual accident data. The maximum discharge rate reached 8284 m3/h when the pressure relief valve was opened by mistake in the inlet and outlet of the station. The accumulated filling time of the two pressure relief tanks is 200 s, which is in good agreement with the accident data. On this basis, for error-opening of the pressure relief valves at the inlet and outlet of B station, simulation is performed to investigate variations of the discharge velocity, discharge flow rate, accumulated discharge volume and ventilation volume of the vent valve. The discharge velocity is found to be over the maximum velocity allowed for safety consideration. According to the accumulated discharge volume, it is inferred that spilling over of the pressure relief tanks will be caused once error-opening of the pressure relief valve occurs. Also it is judged that the existing breathing valve can not satisfy the ventilation requirement in case of failure of the pressure relief valves. From these simulation results, it is proposed that increasing the number of vent valves, replacing the manual valves with electrically operated valves, and employing security control interlock protection program are improvement measures to guarantee safe, efficient and reliable operation of the pressure relief system at B station.


Continuous undulating oil pipeline; large elevation difference; pressure relief system; error-opening; oil discharge; improvement measure

Cite This Article

Chen, X., Lan, C., Zheng, H., Li, W., Zhao, C. et al. (2022). Simulating Error-Opening of Pressure Relief Valves of a Station on a Continuous Undulating Oil Pipeline with Large Elevation Difference. Energy Engineering, 119(4), 1439–1452.

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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