Lifecycle cost optimization for a pipeline network with medium-sized pipes is performed considering steady and unsteady flow conditions. Genetic algorithms are used to generate a wide range of hydraulically acceptable solutions and search for the most economical solutions. The impact of each cost component on the total cost is determined in this study. The decision variables include the pipe diameter, pipe material, pipe pressure rating, surge tank size and operational and maintenance costs over the project service life. A real-case project is presented to crosscheck the suggested procedure. Significant cost variations are observed, even between equally acceptable designs. Furthermore, the operational cost has a deterministic effect on the parameters of the optimum solution. Compared to conventional design wisdom that focuses on reducing the pipe diameter as much as possible to reduce the project cost, this approach demonstrates that significant savings in pipeline project costs can be achieved by carefully investigating all possible design alternatives under steady and unsteady flow conditions.

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