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PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE
5.1 CONVENTIONAL LAY ................................................................................................ 300 5.1.1 Welding Techniques – Carbon Steel Pipelines ....................................................... 305 188.8.131.52 Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) .............................................................. 305 184.108.40.206 Mechanised Gas Metal Arc Welding .................................................................. 312 220.127.116.11 Semi-automatic Flux Cored Arc Welding .......................................................... 318 18.104.22.168 One Shot Welding Processes .............................................................................. 319 5.1.2 Welding Techniques – Corrosion Resistant Alloy Pipelines .................................. 327 22.214.171.124 Gas Tungsten Arc Welding................................................................................. 327 126.96.36.199 Mechanised Gas Metal Arc Welding. ................................................................. 330 188.8.131.52 Semi-automatic Flux Cored Arc Welding. ......................................................... 330 184.108.40.206 One Shot Welding Processes. ............................................................................. 330 220.127.116.11 Precautions When Welding CRA Materials. ...................................................... 331 5.1.3 Inspection Techniques............................................................................................. 334 18.104.22.168 Defect types......................................................................................................... 335 22.214.171.124 Visual Inspection................................................................................................. 341 126.96.36.199 Radiography ....................................................................................................... 342 188.8.131.52 Ultrasonic Examination ..................................................................................... 346 184.108.40.206 Magnetic Particle Inspection.............................................................................. 348 5.2 J LAY.............................................................................................................................. 348 5.2.1 Welding Processes .................................................................................................. 349 5.3 COILED LINE PIPE ....................................................................................................... 350 5.4 LANDFALLS.................................................................................................................. 351 5.5 TIE-IN OPERATIONS ................................................................................................... 352 5.6 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................... 353
PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE
5.1 CONVENTIONAL LAY A conventional laybarge for large diameter offshore pipe is designed to lay pipe using the S-lay technique, Figure 1. This technique, which is currently applicable to water depths up to about 600 metres, is so called because the pipe follows an ‘S’ shaped curve as it moves from the laybarge to the sea-bed. The pipes are welded to each other in the horizontal position on the barge and the pipeline then passes over an inclined ramp or ‘stinger’ which gradually lowers the pipe into the water. This region of the S curve is known as the ‘overbend’ and as the pipe leaves the overbend region it is inclined almost vertically as it descends to the sea bed. Close to the sea-bed it once again returns to the horizontal position so that it eventually rests on the sea-bed. This region is known as the ‘sag bend’ region.
Figure 1. Laybarge methods : a) J lay, b) S lay, c) Reel lay (1). In order to prevent the pipe from buckling in the regions of maximum bending, the bend radius is controlled by keeping the pipe under tension, so that the pipe actually follows a ‘lazy S’ shape. The tension is applied to the pipe by tensioners on the barge which are usually arrays of rubber wheels or belts which surround the pipe and apply an axial force to the pipe through the friction generated between the tensioner and the pipe external coating. The force is maintained at the barge end of the pipeline either by an array of
PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE winches on the barge which pull on anchors which are placed on the sea bed ahead of the barge by tug boats, or by thrusters on the barge which dynamically position it with respect to the pipeline, or by a combination of the two. The force on the pipeline is reacted at the sea-bed end of the pipeline by the dead weight of the pipeline and friction between it and the sea-bed. Obviously the larger the force applied by the tensioners to the pipeline, the more gradual will be the bending radii in the S portion of the laying curve. Also as the pipe weight increases it is necessary to apply a greater force to the pipe to maintain the desired bend radii and so prevent buckling, particularly in the sag bend portion of the curve. This may entail adjusting the capacity of the tensioning stations on the laybarge. For example the tensioners on the EMC ‘Castoro Sei’ laybarge have been increased from their original 180tons capacity to 330tons, to allow the barge to lay large diameter pipes in deeper water. (2) The cradle rollers which carry the pipe on the laybarge stinger may be instrumented so that a continuous check of the stresses during pipelaying may be kept. If any anomalies occur this could indicate a problem with the pipeline which requires investigation. Also a buckle detector may be drawn through the pipeline as pipelaying proceeds to ensure that a buckle has not occurred in the sag bend region of the pipeline. This buckle detector, which is similar to a lightweight gauging pig, is positioned beyond the lower part of the S curve away from the laybarge, so that it is always beyond the sag bend. Should a permanent deformation greater than 95% of nominal pipe diameter (i.e the gauge plate diameter) occur in the pipeline the gauge plate will stick and the laying contractor is alerted. As individual pipe lengths are welded onto the growing pipeline, the barge is winched forward and the new section of pipeline passes over the stinger towards the sea-bed. In the case of anchor positioned barges tugs are used to continuously reposition the anchors ahead of the barge so that the barge can keep moving forward. It may sometimes be necessary to lay two pipelines at once, one being a smaller diameter line to carry condensate or glycol, for example. In this case the smaller pipeline can be ‘piggy backed’ onto the main line, or laid separately using a mini firing line and stinger alongside the main firing line. In the early days of the use of fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) coated pipe offshore, problems were experience with movement of the concrete weight coating on the pipe in the tensioners. The concrete weight coating was applied over the smooth FBE coating and, since the pipe ends were not weight coated (in order to allow access for welding), it was possible for the weight coating to slide along the pipe, thus closing up the gap at the pipe ends. The problem was overcome by applying a sand treatment to the FBE before it hardened in order to increase its surface roughness. The concrete weight coating would then ‘key’ into the roughened surface and there was sufficient friction between the two coatings to prevent slippage in the tensioners. The tension at which the pipe is laid may have to be adjusted to suit the laying corridor and sea-bed profile. For example, for the Troll oil pipeline the section of pipeline in the fjord approach had to be laid very accurately in up to 540m of water. The accuracy was needed because of the undulating sea bed profile, tight bend radii, numerous changes of
PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE direction and the need to position the pipe on pre-installed gravel berms. This resulted in the specification of a +/-3m laying corridor, which was achieved using a low tension set up (35-95 tonnes). This requirement conflicted with the normal high tension approach to deepwater pipelay and was accommodated by means of a specially extended stinger. Outside the fjord, the pipeline had to cross the Norwegian Trench and a conventional high tension set up (183 tonnes) was used to ensure satisfactory pipeline conditions during operation (3). A pipeline submerged weight/water depth layability curve can be formulated to to define the laying limits of a laybarge with a specific configuration, Figure 2. The ability of S lay barges to lay pipe in deep waters can be improved by increasing the power of the tensioners, by altering the angle of the stinger (to a steeper angle), by using higher yield pipe steels, and by using new design methods such as limit state design. The maximum depth achievable varies with pipe diameter as shown in Figure 3. Even for small diameter pipe the maximum depth limit for S laying is unlikely to exceed 1000 metres, and beyond this there is a need to go to J lay (see section 5.2).
Figure 2. Static layability curve for S lay barge (2).
Current so-called 3rd generation laybarges have been in operation since the 1970’s, although refinements in their layout and operation have taken place during this time. In order to increase their laying capability for large diameter pipes in deep water
PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE
Figure 3. Water depth versus pipeline diameter for various projects(2). The deck of a conventional laybarge consists of a number of covered, fixed workstations laid out along the barge. As each operation is completed the pipeline moves through the workstations a pipe length at a time. A typical barge layout might be as in Figure 4, and the number of workstations might be 3-5 for welding, 1 for inspection and repair, and 23 for coating.
Figure 4. Typical barge layout for S Lay (1).
a laybarge weld sees a high stress as it passes over the stinger within minutes of it being completed. The combination of crack like defects and low weld toughness meant that it was not uncommon for welds to break as the pipe passed over the stinger resulting in the need to recover the pipe from the sea-bed. diameter. there was a move towards the use of low hydrogen and mechanised gas metal arc welding systems for the welding of pipe on laybarges. the inspection of the completed welds was carried out at one station and this operation was often the rate controlling process. This viewing method meant that it was possible to miss crack-like defects in the weld. Although the multipass girth welds could be completed at a number of workstations. 304 . However. However. Secondly. The welding techniques adopted for carbon steel pipelines on conventional laybarges are described in the following sections. Firstly. fast weld completion rates led to large weld bead sizes with consequent coarse grain size and lack of inter-run grain refinement. Radiography was the accepted girth weld inspection technique but it was common to view the resulting radiographs with the films still wet after developing. later radiographic interpretation quality audits. because of the more severe laying and operating conditions. and the less than ideal inspection methods led to a number of problems. Also. Early offshore pipelines in the North Sea were welded using the same welding processes as had been used traditionally for onshore pipelines. For onshore pipelines this dissolved hydrogen normally diffuses out of the completed weld before any significant stressing takes place and the toughness properties recover. the pressure to maximise the welding rate. As a result of these problems. and the pipeline production rate when welding these sections in the main firing line is effectively doubled compared to the use of single pipe lengths. cellulosic electrodes produce a weld which is high in hydrogen and this reduces the toughness of the weld. could reveal weld defects which were outside the fabrication code defect acceptance levels. in order to save time. manual ‘stovepipe’ welding using cellulose coated electrodes was common. even if the pipe was successfully laid. This allows two standard length pipe sections (normally around 12m length) to be rotated under a submerged arc welding head. It was then necessary to carry out expensive fitness-for purpose analyses to justify continued operation of the pipelines.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE In addition to the main firing line welding stations there may be additional double joint stations separate from the main firing line. and the increased cost of failure of the pipeline. In addition because of the high cost of laybarge hire there was pressure to limit the time spent at each workstation on the barge. Tolerances on wall thickness. carried out on dry radiographs. The combination of cellulosic electrodes. In this way the pipe is double jointed offline with a high productivity weld process. company requirements for offshore pipes are usually more stringent than for onshore pipes. Thirdly the viewing of wet radiographs meant that crack like defects could be missed. and ovality in particular are controlled to give good fit-up for welding and to prevent buckling during laying. the stress seen by the newly completed weld as it passed over the stinger. meaning that weld toughness was once again poor. Thus. The pipe material used for carbon steel offshore pipelines is similar to that used for onshore pipelines.
vertical down for the fill and cap passes (a compromise for overall welding speed.1. commonly known as ‘stovepipe’ welding). (b) protection for the arc and the molten weld pool (provided by the gas shield around the arc and the slag layer on the weld pool. comprises: (a) a heat source (in this case the electric arc).Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 5. These techniques are shown in Figure 5. known as ‘composite’ or in welder’s slang ‘dolly mix’ welding). Pipe welding modes.1 Welding Techniques – Carbon Steel Pipelines 5. therefore. (c) filler metal to fill the weld preparation (this comes from the electrode core wire) (Figure 6).1 Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) For girth welding of fixed pipe to pipe joints on a laybarge the direction of welding can be:(1) vertical down from 12 o’clock through to 6 o’clock (the fastest welding method. commonly known as ‘conventional’ welding). both of which come from decomposition of the electrode flux covering). 305 . (2) vertical up from 6 o’clock through to 12 o’clock (the slowest welding method. (3) vertical up for the root pass.1.1. 12 12 12 6 VERTICAL DOWN (STOVEPIPE) 6 VERTICAL UP (CONVENTIONAL) 6 COMBINATION (DOLLY MIX) Figure 5. The shielded metal arc welding process is a fusion welding process and.
Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 6. 50-300 amps in SMAW) which occurs between the end of the electrode and the work piece. and also prevents contamination of the molten weld pool by oxygen and nitrogen in the surrounding air. The heat from the arc melts the tip of the electrode and also melts the abutting edges of the weld preparation and forms a molten pool on the work piece. electrode negative or alternating current power supplies may also be used for special applications. so facilitating control by the welder. 306 . Most SMAW welding of pipelines is carried out using direct current power supplies. Schematic of shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process.000oC. Protection for the arc and weld pool The flux coating on the electrode decomposes during welding and fulfils three main functions: (1) It provides a gas shield around the arc and weld pool . surface tension and complicated electromagnetic forces. Occasionally. high current discharge (15-30 volts. with the electrode connected to the positive side of the power supply and the welding return lead (incorrectly referred to as ‘the earth return’) connected to the negative side of the power supply. (2) It melts to form a slag covering over the weld pool which 'fluxes out' impurities from the weld pool and also helps to contain the molten weld pool by surface tension effects. particularly when welding vertically or overhead.this helps to maintain a stable arc. The importance of these various components is described below : The electric arc This is a low voltage. and generates temperatures in the region of 6. Molten droplets from the electrode tip are propelled across the arc into the weld pool by gravity.
A disadvantage with these electrodes is the large amount of hydrogen present in the gas shield which is generated around the arc. Electrodes therefore have to be carefully evaluated to ensure that they are easy to use and appeal to the welder. These electrodes find application particularly for small diameter flowlines. allowing welding to be carried out in the rapid vertical down direction. since the electrode core wire itself is normally a simple carbon manganese steel. especially preheat is required. mixed cellulosic/LHVD procedures are sometimes used.13) . since they require a slightly different welding technique compared to the traditional cellulosic electrode. Traditionally low hydrogen electrodes have been used mainly in the slow vertical up mode and have not been economic for offshore laybarge pipeline construction. Basic (Low Hydrogen) Electrodes These electrodes are designed for use when hydrogen cracking is a problem. For this reason careful control of the welding procedure. as well as produce welds with the correct mechanical properties. These electrodes were used for the early offshore pipelines but have largely been superseded by alternative techniques for the reasons previously described. Electrode flux formulations vary according to the type and application of the welding electrode. carbon monoxide and water vapour. where the mechanised welding systems are not suitable. They can be used for root bead welding of multipass pipe girth welds. Electrode types Offshore SMAW pipeline welding makes use of electrodes with two main types of coating: cellulosic. This makes these electrodes suitable for stovepipe welding of pipeline girth welds. and basic. Cellulosic Electrodes These electrodes are coated with cellulose in the form of wood pulp which decomposes in the heat of the arc to give a gas shield of hydrogen.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE (3) It can be used to add alloying additions to the weld pool. but they are not as quick as cellulosic electrodes for this part of the joint and require special welder training. but have been slow to be accepted. which means porosity can occur at stop/starts in the welding process and the welder must maintain a short arc while welding. the coating being based on calcium carbonate which produces a gas shield of carbon monoxide and dioxide and very little hydrogen. Recently low hydrogen vertical down (LHVD) electrode have been used for making pipeline girth welds on offshore laybarges. Liberation of the gas shield around the arc is slow. They are also used where good weld metal toughness is a pre-requisite. The LHVD electrodes have been available for some years.1. These combine the speed and relative ease of use of the 307 . since this can be dissolved in the weld pool and then cause cracking in the weld metal or HAZ (see Section 3. The arc is harsh and deeply penetrating and the slag is light and fast freezing. and the welding characteristics of individual makes of electrode also vary according to the manufacturer’s own preferred formulation. As a result.
5. and which have been set up so there is a small gap between them.1 Welding techniques The traditional method of joining steel pipe using SMAW welding is.1. The vertical down technique is considerably quicker than vertical up welding. Several weld runs may be required in order to completely fill the weld preparation (Fig 7).1. Considerable skill is required during deposition of the first or root weld run in order to bridge the gap between the pipe ends with molten metal. Weld deposition sequence for SMAW girth weld. 4-5 Fillers. Hot pass. the technique normally used is vertical down welding using cellulosic electrodes . As mentioned previously.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE cellulosic electrode for the first two weld passes (the root and hot pass) with the good toughness and freedom from weld metal hydrogen cracking of the low hydrogen electrode when used for the fill and cap passes. Hot fill. Cap Figure 7.5mm to prevent the root bead weld pool from melting away the adjoining pipe material too quickly. at the same time ensuring consistent penetration of the pipe bore. The weld preparation is as shown in Figure 8 (a) . The pipe ends also have a root face (‘nose’. to make a full penetration weld between pipe ends which have a 30o pipe end bevel. 1.1. For full penetration pipe to pipe girth welds.'stovepipe' welding. 2. whereas 32 minutes should be allowed when welding vertically up. 308 . or ‘landing edge’) of about 1. 6. for example a weld pass in a 950 mm pipe will take two welders (one welding on each side of the pipe) about 13 minutes when welding vertically down. Less skill is required to fill the remainder of the weld preparation since the problem of over-penetration or 'burn-through' is much reduced once the root run has been completed. 3. Root run. the chosen welding direction may change depending on the application.
this is known as composite or 'dolly mix' welding.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 10 60 + -0 o 10 60 + -0 o 1 1. or DnV96.4 + mm -0 a) Weld preparation for vertical down weld b) Weld preparation for vertical up weld Figure 8. the vertical up technique with cellulosic electrodes has to be used in some circumstances. despite its slowness. with any revisions thought necessary. However. because the welding procedure is critical to the success of the whole laybarge operation it is normal practice to qualify the procedures for each offshore contract using laybarge personnel and equipment and the pipe which is to be used for the project.0 mm 1 1. (see Figure 8b for weld preparation) and then to complete the weld using vertical down welding . An alternative procedure. Typical weld preparations. However.8 2. For onshore pipeline projects there has been a trend in recent years to accept pre-qualified welding procedures. say less than 200mm diameter. which is used for small diameter pipe to pipe joints. 5. provided these have been witnessed by an independent third party. Before any welding is carried out. This procedure combines the ease of use of the vertical up root bead with the speed of the vertical down fill and cap passes.0 mm 1 1. a welding procedure is submitted by the contractor for approval.5 + . when its superior control is necessary.1.5 + . the contractor is normally required to carry out a procedure qualification test weld which is examined non-destructively and destructively to the requirements of the relevant specification. is to use conventional welding for the root run only. for example for the welding of small diameter pipe. BS4515.1. This is carried out to demonstrate that the proposed procedure can be applied without difficulty and is capable of meeting the specification requirements.1.2 Welding Procedure Laybarge welding for offshore pipeline construction is normally carried out to international or national codes such as.5 + . although many companies also have their own additional requirements. API1104. In this way there is the greatest chance that there will be no unexpected problems when laybarge operations start. After the initial procedure proposal has been approved. The items specified on a welding procedure sheet are covered below: 309 .0 mm 0.
For higher yield pipes it is more difficult to guarantee yield strength overmatching and there is currently much debate about the need to specify a weld metal yield strength overmatching requirement as well as a tensile strength overmatching requirement in pipeline specifications. or composite). both to ensure that the strength will be correct. This overmatching of tensile properties means that the potential effect of defects in the weld region is minimised. currents and voltages and welding speeds which are to be used. Preheating serves the dual purpose of drying 310 . This is required by both American (API 1104) and British Standards (BS4515) pipeline welding standards. The first of these requirements is that the weld shall be preheated before any weld is deposited. although only the tensile strength is measured in the transweld tensile test. Welding parameters The welding procedure must include the weld preparation dimensions. Once the root bead is in place. This serves the purpose of allowing some of the stresses generated during welding of the root bead (for example due to weld metal thermal contraction and pipe handling operations) to be accommodated by the weld metal. and is compatible with the properties of the pipe material. ie. and so keep the incidence of defects to a low level. Preheat temperatures and. This means that the weld metal should have higher tensile strength than the minimum specified tensile strength of the pipe material. For pipe grades up to X65 this also means that the yield strength of the weld metal usually overmatches that of the pipe. For full penetration welding the types of electrode used are designed to give a nominally 'overmatching' weld metal. since any plastic strain will be seen by the pipe rather than the weld metal. vertical up. These points ensure that the weld deposit is being made in a reasonable manner. in order to avoid hydrogen induced cracking. weld interpass times To avoid excessive HAZ hardening and to minimise the amount of hydrogen which is likely to be trapped in the HAZ after welding. nominally undermatching. and also to ensure that the welder is able to control the weld pool adequately. but by no means of secondary importance. the direction of welding (vertical down. and is demonstrated by a transweld tensile test. The lower yield electrodes also normally produce a smoother root bead profile than higher yield electrodes. The reason for this is to reduce the stress build up in the root bead heat affected zone (HAZ). and also the electrode sizes. they must have good welding characteristics. electrode when depositing the root run in multi-pass girth welds. An exception to the general rule of overmatching is the use of a lower yield strength. a number of requirements are specified in the welding procedure.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Welding electrodes The principal requirement for welding electrodes are that they shall deposit weld metal which has adequate strength and toughness. is the ability of the electrodes to be used without difficulty by the average welder. Secondly. subsequent weld runs (with the higher yield strength electrode) help to temper the critical heat affected zone region and produce a finished weld which overmatches the pipe in tensile properties.
The weld is visually inspected throughout its execution. Based on these results. or welding in adverse weather conditions. The other. such as tees and flanges etc. which means that the heat will be dissipated much more rapidly. This second run also gives the additional benefit of reinforcing the first run or root run so that it can withstand any movement better. and macro and hardness examination to prove that the weld and HAZ are defect free and not susceptible to 311 . On a laybarge. Mechanical testing usually involves transweld tensile tests to prove that the weld metal tensile strength overmatches the minimum specified tensile strength of the pipe. or heavy wall (e. The preheat level is normally determined from the pipe chemistry. one of which is that the steel used in these fittings is frequently of a more hardenable type than the pipe. This is for two reasons. The preheat normally used for welding fittings is of the order of 150oC. a recommended preheat is decided. There is also a designated maximum time lapse between the second and third runs for the same reason. when a contract has been awarded. This test weld is then sectioned and the pipe HAZ is tested for the hardness and the sections examined for cracking. to check that the weld meets defect acceptance limits in the specification.g. Charpy V notch toughness tests to prove adequate notch toughness. the next stage is to test that procedure to see if it meets the specification. These trials consist of welding together. for example X80 grade pipe. Fittings. To this end. For current steels. the vast majority of pipes in temperate climatic conditions can be welded with a preheat of 50o C. Increasingly automatic ultrasonic inspection systems may be used for girth weld examination. since the pipe is moved to the next station on the barge as soon as possible. under controlled conditions. especially in combination with mechanised welding processes (see below). Stipulation of a maximum interpass time ensures that when the first weld run is deposited a second weld run (the ‘hot pass’) is placed on top of it as quickly as is reasonably possible so that the heat may be maintained in the joint. After non-destructive examination the joint is then cut up into mechanical test specimens and mechanical testing is carried out according to the relevant specification. or by carrying out weldability trials. the contractor is required to carry out at least one simulated laybarge weld. that the thickness of the fittings is somewhat greater than the pipe so it acts as an additional heat sink. preferably on full lengths of pipe. pipes with chemistry towards the maximum from any particular order. and it is inspected normally using radiography and the magnetic particle technique on completion.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE the components by driving off moisture and slowing the cooling rate after welding by reducing the thermal sink effect of the cold pipe material either side of the joint. using the designated procedure. However there may be situations which demand higher preheats than this. The other major part of a welding procedure which controls cracking tendency is the time limitation between the start of one run and the start of the next run. always need a higher preheat than is normal for pipe to pipe joints. Proving the procedure Once the submitted welding procedure has been examined. these interpass times are usually adhered to without difficulty. greater than 25mm) pipe.
These acceptable defect levels are workmanship levels. 312 . but these limits are only used where it would be difficult to carry out a repair (eg tie-in welds. 5.2 Mechanised Gas Metal Arc Welding Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is available in two forms: semi-automatic and mechanised.1.1. Schematic of gas metal arc welding (GMAW) process. Others call for mechanical tests. or a mixture of the two) which is supplied through a nozzle in the welding gun (Figure 9). which can be prone to lack of fusion defects (see later). in other words they represent a quality level which should be achieved by a reasonably competent welder. Once the welding procedure has been qualified the competence of the welders to use the qualified procedure must be tested. similar to those used to qualify the original procedure. The value of the CTOD test is that it gives information which can be used to carry out fitness-for-purpose assessments of defective welds which may avoid the need for costly and difficult repairs. It is well known that greater amounts of defect are acceptable on a fitness-for-purpose basis. such as radiography and magnetic particle inspection. The weld pool is shielded by a stream of gas (usually argon or carbon dioxide. In this way the welder can be qualified on his first production weld. there may also be a requirement to carry out crack tip opening displacement (CTOD) tests on the qualification weld. but the welding arc length is controlled automatically. The welder's test consists of making a weld to the qualified procedure. The weld is acceptable if it meets the mechanical property levels and/or contains defects which are within the acceptable defect levels given in the specification.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE cracking. defects discovered in service. or welds in subsea pipelines). In the case of mechanised welding processes. particularly if the procedure is to be used for an offshore pipeline. In the GMAW process the filler wire is in the form of a continuous reel of bare wire so that welding can proceed virtually uninterrupted. Figure 9. In semi-automatic form the filler wire is fed through a flexible tube to a hand held gun. Some specifications then allow the welder to be assessed using only non-destructive methods.
However. When using mechanised welding this root bead control is more difficult and two main solutions have been used. since the joint is set up with a root gap which can vary slightly around the joint circumference.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE In the 1960's the introduction of large diameter X60 pipes made from normalised (high carbon equivalent) steels for onshore pipelines led to widespread HAZ hydrogen cracking problems when using cellulosic SMAW electrodes. Figure 10. the welder can accommodate variations in joint fit-up by altering his current. which is a low hydrogen welding process. and electrode angle. This is particularly important for the root bead. especially in the North Sea. travel speed. Mechanised welding systems. Semi automatic GMAW welding. are more attractive for laybarge use because : • they are capable of high production rates. • they produce a low hydrogen weld deposit. • less welder skill (hand to eye co-ordination)is required. Figure 10. • the workstation is fixed (the pipe moves) so that equipment damage is less of a problem than onshore. 313 . With the introduction of controlled rolled steels with better weldability. In manual welding. Figure 11. • welds are more reproducible and lend themselves to mechanised ultrasonic inspection. cellulosic electrodes once again became popular. • the workstation is usually enclosed so that gas shielded processes can be used. the process was relatively new and problems were experienced with the equipment and with lack of fusion defects. Semi-automatic GMAW in use on a land pipeline in the 1960’s As previously mentioned the use of cellulosic electrodes for offshore pipelines is now uncommon. was used in an effort to overcome this.
which includes the Serimer ‘Saturnax’ equipment. A removable copper backing strip. Mechanised pipeline welding (courtesy CRC Evans). which is built into an internal alignment clamp. those in which all welding is carried out from outside the pipe and those in which the root bead is deposited from inside the pipe. These solutions have been adopted in various proprietary welding systems which fall into two groups. The welding head.. All the weld passes are made from outside the pipe using some form of motorised welding carriage travelling on a steel band (or sometimes a horseshoe clamp arrangement with rack and pinion drive) which is clamped around the pipe. 314 . or motorised slides controlled by a remote pendant. and sometimes the spool of filler wire. Figure 12.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 11. The first group. or ‘bug’ and the welder constantly monitors and controls the positioning of the welding torch in the weld bevel by means of handwheels on the bug. is used to support the root bead as it is being deposited. the Saipem ‘Passo’ and the Allseas ‘Phoenix’ system normally uses a small root gap at the base of the weld preparation. is carried on the carriage.
Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 12. The second group of systems consists of the long established CRC-Evans system. 15. Internal welding clamp with copper backing shoes (courtesy Saipem). the Autoweld system. Figure 13. 14. and a newly developed system by Serimer. Internal alignment and welding clamp (courtesy Autoweld Systems). 315 . These systems use a closed root gap. with a small internal weld bevel which is filled by a series of internal welding heads built into an internal alignment clamp. The external weld runs are deposited by bugs similar to those used in the previously described systems. Figure 13.
High production rate has. This in turn is controlled by the need to maintain a small. and the freedom from the danger of copper contamination of the root bead in the case of the combined internal/external welding systems. Figure 15. since with these processes there is no slag covering to help support the weld pool against the effects of gravity as welding proceeds around the pipe. Both systems use a reduced pipe bevel angle of 5-7o compared to the 30o bevel used for manual SMAW welding. to be achieved in other ways. Hence the narrow joint preparation needing less weld metal. Internal root bead welding on 1200mm diameter pipe (courtesy CRC-Evans).Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 14. This is because the deposition rate of the GMAW welding systems is limited by the maximum wire diameter and current that can be used. therefore. and the use of several welding heads (for example 6 welding torches for the 316 . fast freezing weld pool. The relative merits of the two types of systems are the simpler internal clamp in the case of the copper backing shoe systems. Schematic of CRC Evans mechanised GMAW weld preparation.
In addition. with higher strength steels. The filler wire used in GMAW welding is again essentially a plain low carbon steel but with controlled additions of deoxidising elements such as manganese and silicon. This high hardness is particularly associated with the capping pass HAZ. it can produce welds which are susceptible to other types of defect. Modern low carbon equivalent steels up to X65 strength level do not usually give HAZ hardness problems. The end preparation for mechanised GMAW is machined on the barge using a purpose made machine and this takes typically 7-8 minutes. In extreme cases in the past when welding high carbon equivalent pipeline steels. The shielding gas used for the root pass is usually an argon-carbon dioxide mixture. it is a low heat input process. when the increased heat input helped to reduce the problem. such as X70 and X80. Figure 16 compares the weld volume for mechanised GMAW and manual SMAW welds. However. This is especially true 317 . The wires are also often microalloyed with titanium to improve toughness and sometimes also alloyed with nickel or molybdenum to improve strength. For all other passes either pure carbon dioxide or argon-carbon dioxide mixtures are used. and typical welding times for the root bead and hot pass are half those for SMAW. the low heat input. Although the mechanised GMAW welding system produces a weld deposit low in hydrogen so that HAZ cracking should not be a problem. of the mechanised GMAW process means that it is prone to lack of fusion defects. and steep sided weld bevel. Secondly. Figure 17. First. because the process uses low currents and fast welding speeds. it has been necessary to post heat the finished weld or to deposit the cap using SMAW. Macrosections from mechanised GMAW and manual SMAW welds (courtesy CRC-Evans). Setting up time for the joint is faster than for SMAW. care may be needed to avoid problems with high cap weld metal and HAZ hardness when using mechanised systems. This means that the weld cools rapidly and can exhibit high hardness which may lead to stress corrosion cracking problems if the pipeline sees sour service. Figure 16. which gives a good external weld profile.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE internal root bead on a 900mm or 1050 mm diameter pipe). with the internal root welding systems the external hot pass can be started while the internal root bead is still being completed. which does not receive the benefit of the tempering effect of a subsequent weld pass.
semi-automatic gas metal arc welding was first introduced for onshore pipelines but fell out of favour because of problems with equipment and with lack of fusion defects associated with the process. required. More recently flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) wires have been produced which can be used in place of the traditional solid wires. The gas shielded types are more versatile and tend to produce better weld mechanical properties. when lack of sidewall fusion can occur. These films act as a plane of weakness and could crack during weld bead contraction. particularly toughness. These can be used in the vertical down mode and because the filler wire is on a spool there are fewer stop/starts than with manual welding. gas shielded (GSFCAW). or semi-automatic flux cored arc welding (FCAW) are alternatives. This could occur because of the high depth to width ratio of the weld bead (especially the hot pass). which can be difficult in the narrow weld bevel. Although they have been used for fill and cap welding with such systems (normally using manual root bead welding and conventional weld bevels). However. which could lead to segregation of weak impurity films to the weld centre line. therefore. It is. The remedy was to control both the weld preparation and the welding variables so that satisfactory weld geometry is obtained. currently normal practice to weld the root and hot pass with SMAW before filling and capping with SSFCAW. The self shielded wires. the flux cored wires may have more application when used with semi-automatic welding equipment. For small diameter offshore pipelines the mechanised GMAW systems cannot be used and either manual low hydrogen SMAW. they require a higher level of skill and training than the fill and cap wires.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE if the welding head is not maintained in a centralised position in the weld bevel. semi-automatic GMAW. and self shielded (SSFCAW). These wires operate with a different arc characteristic compared to solid wires and are less prone to lack of fusion defects. As described above. this is usually carried out either directly by means of a thumb wheel on the welding carriage or by servo motors controlled by a separate fly lead. The most common self shielded wires are those produced under the Lincoln ‘Innershield’ brand name. Therefore.1. therefore. and adjustment. Figure 20.3 Semi-automatic Flux Cored Arc Welding As described earlier. but they suffer from a sensitivity to disruption of the gas shield by the wind. These flux cored wires can be used with mechanised welding systems but they introduce the problem of slag removal between weld passes. 318 .1. Constant operator supervision. Another problem in the past was that of centre line weld metal cracking. on the other hand are more tolerant to laybarge welding conditions but the welding procedure needs to be carefully controlled in order to optimise the mechanical properties. Figure 19. of the welding heads is. The problem has largely disappeared with these changes and the use of modern clean steels. productivity advantages are claimed with the use of such processes. 5. although SSFCAW filler wires which can be used for root bead welding are available. Flux cored wires for semi-automatic application are available in two main types.
The size of weld bead which can be controlled by the welder or welding machine depends on the rate of heat input of the welding system (basically the power input (volts x amps) divided by the welding speed) and the ability of any slag system associated with the process to support the molten weld pool until it solidifies.1. which reduces the weld volume required and helps to compensate for the lower heat input of the process. Fortunately the GMAW filler wire is of smaller diameter (about 1mm) compared to a SMAW electrode so that a narrower weld bevel can be used. but not enough to produce a weld pool which will is too big to control.1. Figure 20. It has also been used occasionally for depositing the capping pass on mechanised GMAW welds. This is because the arc has limited penetrating power and an open V butt weld joint design has to be used. but its major use to date has been for carrying out repairs to mechanised GMAW welds.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 19.4 One Shot Welding Processes The previous welding processes are fusion welding processes which use the electric arc as a heat source and use a multi pass welding procedure. The narrower weld bevel also results in a weld bead which is less wide. when there has been a problem with poor weld bead profile with the mechanised GMAW system. Semi-automatic flux cored wire welding has found limited application offshore for the welding of small diameter pipelines. The welder then adjusts his welding speed and electrode angle to ensure that there is sufficient heat in the weld pool to get good fusion. Since the SMAW welding electrode is quite large (6-10mm diameter if the flux layer is included) a large bevel opening is required for electrode access. Mechanised GMAW on the other hand has to use a lower heat input than SMAW because there is no slag covering on the weld pool to help hold it in place against the effects of gravity until it solidifies. Self shielded flux cored arc welding (courtesy AWS). but deeper than for a SMAW weld which creates greater surface 319 . 5. Gas shielded flux cored arc welding (courtesy AWS). The consequence of this is that several layers of weld metal are needed to fill the weld preparation. The SMAW process has a relatively high heat input but has a slag covering to support the weld pool.
Other variations on the processes include the use of small quantities of filler wire to help control porosity. a number of successive weld passes are still required to complete the joint. (The action can be visualised by imagining a hot wire travelling through a block of butter). In laser(7) and electron beam welding(8) a very narrow beam of energy is used. despite the reduced weld preparation volume. A number of new pipe welding processes attempt to speed up the welding operation by completing the joint in one weld pass.6). The main disadvantage. no filler wire is needed. Usually no filler wire is added. This again helps to hold the molten weld pool in place until it solidifies. that is the electron or laser beam melts right through the material and emerges from the other side. and as the beam moves along the joint line this column solidifies behind it. for conventional S lay use. These processes are loosely described as ‘one shot’ welding processes.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE tension forces between the weld pool and the pipe. The advantage of electron beam and laser welding are that weld completion times are short. A column of molten material is produced around the beam. Schematic of keyhole welding (courtesy AWS). with a parallel sided weld preparation and little or no gap. Figure 21. which is held in place by surface tension. Figure 21. although strictly speaking they should be divided into those that use a high energy density beam to progressively weld the joint in one pass (such as laser and electron beam welding) and those that are truly ‘one shot’ (such as explosive and flash butt welding)(5. and the process is mechanised. the processes have attracted 320 . is that there is difficulty in controlling the weld pool in all positions around the joint circumference when welding with the pipe axis horizontal. However. Therefore. the weld pool being formed by melting of the parent material at the joint line. The processes normally work in the ‘keyhole’ mode. the joint preparation is simple (plain pipe ends).
Flash butt welding has been used extensively for onshore welding of pipelines in the CIS countries. but attempts to interest offshore pipeline operators in the process have so far been unsuccessful. without melting. Figure 23. where the pipe axis is horizontal and the forces acting on the weld pool are uniform around the circumference. Alternative one shot welding processes are flash butt welding. The internal upset or ‘flash’ is removed by hot shearing. The current discharge from the power supply causes arcing at any small gaps between the pipe ends and this arcing causes localised heating of the pipe ends. homopolar pulse and explosive welding. SAG forge. high current supply from an external power source is applied across the abutting pipe ends. and for pipe greater than 300mm diameter an internal clamp is used. and a solid phase weld is formed. An upset of displaced material is formed on the internal and external diameters of the pipe. using special rams which are built into the clamp. The pipe material in the heated zone is brought together under the applied pressure. Figure 22. radial friction welding. Flash butt welding of 1400mm diameter pipe in the former Soviet Union(5). In the case of pipes up to 300mm diameter an external clamp is used. MIAB. The process relies on the use of a welding alignment clamp through which a low voltage.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE most interest for J lay operations. Figure 22. When the arcing extends over the whole of the pipe circumference the ends of the pipes are brought together by hydraulic rams which are built into the welding clamp. The external upset is removed by a separate orbital milling operation. in the case of large diameter pipes. 321 .
This microstructure is characterised by low toughness. One concern was the occurrence of a softened zone adjacent to the weld where the controlled rolled steel had been heated during welding and normalising. Therefore. with a welding time of approximately 3 minutes for a 1420mm diameter pipe and that it does not require skilled welders. when McDermott attempted to develop flash butt welding for offshore pipeline applications they experimented with an induction normalising treatment which resulted in a significant improvements in toughness. This treatment was applied by an induction coil placed immediately after the welding station.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 23. The advantage of the process is that it is rapid. However. followed by water quenching. Schematic of flash butt welding (NB. McDermott carried out a series of trials with the equipment in conjunction with Statoil with a view to its use on the Zeepipe project(9). Wide plate tests were carried out on the welds which demonstrated that these soft zones were 322 . shown for butt welding not pipe). which would not be acceptable for offshore applications. a major concern for offshore operators is the coarse grained microstructure which is produced in the weld zone as a result of the large thermal input during welding. The time taken for this treatment was approximately the same as that required for the welding operation.
and is normal to the surface of the pipe. They proposed that such in-process monitoring could be used as an effective quality control tool provided that optimum welding parameters had been previously established. Another concern is the narrow joint line which makes inspection more difficult. Bevelled pipe ends are set up with no root gap and a steel collar with an internal profile to fit the bevelled joint is rotated between the pipe ends. As it is rotated. Radial friction welding is another solid phase welding technique. Figure 24. so that frictional heat is created between the collar and the pipe ends. An internal clamp is necessary to hold the pipe ends together and to prevent collapse of the pipe bore. it is not easily detected by radiography. McDermott reported good success in correlating ultrasonic and radiographic test results with weld parameter strip chart recordings. Schematic of radial friction welding (10). Despite the extensive development programme carried out by McDermott and Statoil flash butt welding was not used on the Zeepipe project since competitive bids for the work were received from barges offering conventional mechanised GMAW systems.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE not of practical significance to the overall performance of the weld since they were localised and supported by stronger material on either side. the heat for welding in this case being created by friction. 323 . the collar is also radially compressed by means of a die. The most serious defect in flash butt welds is likely to be a lack of bond or ‘cold shut’ at the weld interface. Figure 24. Since this defect is tightly closed. Subsequently it is believed that flash butt development work for offshore use has ceased.
to those produced by flash butt welding and. The Japanese workers used a combination of in-process monitoring. therefore. has been proposed for quality control. but there are currently no international standards for defect acceptance. MIAB welds are similar. The Japanese have developed portable equipment to weld small diameter gas pipelines in urban areas. because of uneven heating when it is applied to heavier wall 324 . MIAB (magnetically impelled arc butt) welding was originally developed for the mass production industries such as the automotive sector. stainless steels and even internally clad material can be welded rapidly. The UK Welding Institute (TWI) have also built a MIAB machine for Nova of Canada which is designed to weld onshore pipe in the diameter range 80 to 325mm. Although laboratory versions of the equipment have been under evaluation since at least 1977 (10) it is only in the last few years that serious efforts have been made to develop the equipment for the offshore market. visual inspection. such as carbon steel. Rotation of the collar is stopped to consolidate the weld. Figure 25.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Welding occurs when metal is displaced from the abutting surfaces and clean material is brought together under pressure thus creating a solid phase weld. Figure 25. Schematic of magnetic impelled arc butt (MIAB) welding. Thin wall tube (which need not be circular) or pipe is butted together with a small gap between the ends and a magnetic coil is placed around the joint. Once again no skill is required. since a range of materials. in combination with in-process monitoring. Ultrasonic testing. The equipment has been under evaluation since 1991. similar quality control and inspection problems exist. there are a number of concerns. including assessment of weld properties and non-destructive testing. but does not appear to have been used commercially to any great extent. The arc heats the pipe ends which are then forged together to make a solid phase weld. A direct current is applied across the pipe ends and the arc created then rotates at high speed around the joint under the influence of the magnetic field. Radial friction welding is attractive for small diameter pipe welding. in principle. and to operate at sub-zero temperatures. However. and 2% destructive testing I to check weld quality. The major limitation of MIAB welding for offshore pipeline applications is that it is only capable of joining pipe with a wall thickness of up to 7mm wall maximum.
The equipment developed was limited to pipe of 300mm diameter. Pipe welds can be made in under five seconds without the need for filler metal. and grades up to X65 have been welded and adequate mechanical properties can be achieved although some fine tuning of the joint geometry and process parameters may be required. It is claimed that a wide variety of materials can be joined. Figure 26. Pipe diameters up to 300mm. in theory. together with low hardness (250HV). at its current stage of development it would only be suitable for small diameter service pipelines. Acceptable tensile properties and Charpy impact toughness values of 81-129J at -20oC were quoted. although much larger diameters could. for the welding of duplex stainless steel pipe. has a less 325 . despite these promising results it appears that SAG forge welding has not been taken beyond the development stage. Once the energy is discharged across the abutting pipe ends a forge cycle consolidates the weld. Homopolar pulse welding is being developed in the USA and it is a resistance forge welding process which uses a high amperage direct current discharge from a homopolar generator(12). on behalf of Statoil. However. AMR Engineering(11). SAG (Shielded Active Gas) forge welding was developed in the 1980’s by a Norwegian company. A homopolar generator converts the stored rotational energy of its spinning rotor to electrical energy by means of electromagnetic induction. Schematic of homopolar pulse welding(10). although the generator charge up time is typically 2-3 minutes. The pipe welding version of the process uses high frequency resistance heating to heat the two abutting pipe ends . Figure 26. Therefore. The heating is carried out in an atmosphere of hydrogen (the ‘active’ gas) which reduces the surface oxides and allows metal to metal contact. including clad pipe. A forge pressure is then applied to consolidate .Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE components. It is claimed that the process is cleaner than flash butt welding. An extensive evaluation of the process was carried out by DNV. be welded.
One of the main disadvantages of this system is the noise. although prequalification trials were carried out under the auspices of the DNV. However. and the other using a bell and spigot joint in which balanced internal and external charges are detonated simultaneously(14). Application of explosive welding to pipe welding on a laybarge does not appear to have been considered. Explosive welding of pipelines has been evaluated for at least 25 years but the first widespread application is still awaited. A 10 minute cycle time for welding is claimed which would make the process competitive with conventional welding systems. the system does not appear to have been used in anger. It is claimed that toughness compares favourably with that produced by conventional welding processes and weld hardness is said to be less than 250HV. Postweld inspection was carried out by a modified RTD Rotoscan system. 326 . Explosive welding is another solid phase welding technique. presumably of concern about the novel joint design. with an induction heat treatment after welding in order to improve mechanical properties. the explosive being used to bring together the two surfaces to be welded in such a way that oxides and impurities are jetted from the surface and the two clean surfaces then bond under the action of the applied force.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE extensive heat affected zone. Section through explosively welded bell and spigot pipe joint A field trial of the latter system was carried out by Premier Lilley Construction on behalf of Trans Canada pipelines in 1984. Figure 27. The only serious proposal for the use of explosive welding offshore appears to be that of an underwater repair technique but even this proposal seems to have been abandoned. Homopolar pulse welding development work is being sponsored by a number of operators. one using an external sleeve into which the two adjoining pipe ends are welded by placing the explosive charge inside the pipe (13). and a better profile. particularly with a view to its use for J lay operations. Two main techniques have been developed. a problem which is said to be reduced with the Volvo-Nobel sleeve welded system. Figure 27. as well as the other obvious concerns about noise and safety. A 6km length of 1050mm diameter pipe was welded . Once again non-destructive testing techniques and defect acceptance levels remain to be optimised for the process.
However. Also the effect of plant breakdown. This means that the manual version of the GTAW process can cope with variations in joint fit-up (root gap.2. it is important to consider the whole life cost of the pipeline. It may be possible to use a carbon steel pipeline to carry a product which might normally give rise to unacceptable levels of corrosion (e. Since these materials have generally poorer weldability than plain carbon steels. The GTAW process has the advantage that there is no welding slag and the inert gas gives a high quality weld metal. combined with the higher cost of welding consumables and parent pipe. Any filler wire which is needed in the weld pool has to be added separately. CRA internally clad carbon steel. creating the weld pool. The disadvantage of the process is that it in manual 327 . either by hand in the manual version of the process. and this. must be considered. This means that production rates are slower. The welding techniques which are used for CRA materials are slightly different to those for carbon steel pipelines as described below : 5.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 5. The weld pool and the added filler wire are protected from oxidation by an inert gas shroud which is passed through the gas nozzle surrounding the electrode. and since it is important that the parent pipe corrosion properties are maintained in the girth weld.1. more care is required when welding them compared to carbon steels. However.1. although mixtures of the two gases are sometimes used. The electric arc is initiated between the tungsten electrode and the work piece causing heating to occur in both.) and still produce a smooth root bead profile.g wet sweet gas) if the product is dried and/or if inhibitor is injected into the pipeline. Figure 28. The gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process consists of a welding torch containing a non-consumable tungsten electrode surrounded by a gas shield nozzle. the cost of such treatments (chemical and plant costs associated with addition and recovery) over the lifetime of the pipeline frequently exceed the initial cost of a CRA pipeline. Duplex and Superduplex stainless steels.1 Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. or by a wire feed unit. unlike the GMAW process. and since high power torches are water cooled. the tungsten electrode does not melt. and in the USA it is more common to use helium. means that these pipelines are significantly more expensive to lay than carbon steel pipelines. Since tungsten is a high melting point metal (3410oC).2 Welding Techniques – Corrosion Resistant Alloy Pipelines The Corrosion Resistant Alloy materials which are most commonly used for offshore pipelines include : • • • Weldable martensitic stainless steels. root face etc. or change in future operating conditions. since filler wire is added separately to the main arc the level of heat input to the weld and the amount of filler wire can be controlled independently. Also. The inert gas in Europe is usually argon. If DC electrode negative current (workpiece positive) is used then most of the heating occurs in the work piece.
Figure 29. although in some situations Formier gas. the GTAW process is often used. Manual GTAW showing separate addition of filler wire. or argon-nitrogen mixtures may be used. because with CRA pipelines it is critical to obtain a high quality corrosion resistant root bead with the minimum of crevices.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE form it is highly skilled. The purge gas is restricted to the immediate area of the root bead 328 . and. Schematic of GTAW welding equipment. because of the relatively inefficient heating method it is very slow compared to other arc welding processes. However. Figure 28. The purge gas used is normally argon. In order to further protect the root bead internal surface from oxidation (which would decrease its corrosion resistance) it is normal with most CRA materials to purge the inside of the pipe during welding with an inert gas in order to remove the air. since it is a two handed process (Figure 29).
Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE by either inflatable dams. Internal alignment clamp containing purge dams (courtesy CRC Evans). Figure 30. 329 . For mechanised GTAW the welding torch is positioned on a carriage. automatically control the arc length. together with a miniature wire spool and wire feeder. The equipment can include facilities to oscillate the welding head. Mechanised GTAW pipe-welding head (courtesy Arc Machines). and sometimes pulse the welding current for better weld pool control. or in the case of most pipelines. Figure 31. by an internal alignment clamp with a special purge chamber located between expandable polymer seals. Figure 31. Figure 30. Mechanised GTAW welding is often used in preference to manual GTAW welding since the welding parameters and filler wire placement can be controlled more accurately and less manual skill is required to operate the equipment.
This process has not seen much use for laybarge firing line girth welding. 5. Also one-shot processes are rapid and can offer significant cost advantages compared to the slower arc welding processes. Since some one-shot welding processes are solid phase welding processes (i. The other disadvantage of mechanised GMAW systems is that they are not as suitable for the critical root bead as GTAW welding. the option to use a GTAW root (and hot pass). 5. but to date it has not been used in anger offshore.4 One Shot Welding Processes. Some pipelines have been constructed using mechanised GMAW with ceramic coated copper shoes and some have been constructed using pulsed GMAW root beads without any backing.3 Semi-automatic Flux Cored Arc Welding.1.2 Mechanised Gas Metal Arc Welding. there is no melting of the components). In this process the tungsten welding electrode is surrounded by a copper nozzle which acts to constrict the arc and produce a more intense source of heat. they lend themselves to the welding of CRA materials where oxidation of the surfaces must be avoided.1. Although FCAW consumables for welding some of the CRA materials exist (for example duplex stainless steel).e. Therefore. The same mechanised GMAW systems used on carbon steel pipelines can also be used with most CRA pipelines. and clients do not like to use copper shoes since any copper contamination might cause a corrosion cell. Radial friction welding has also seen development by Stolt Comex Seaway who have developed the system to a stage where ir can be installed on a laybarge (15). together with GMAW fill and cap is also used. for CRA pipework these options are not used. However. to date FCAW has not been used to a great extent. since pipe diameters are usually too small for the internal root welding option. but has been used for seam welding and double jointing of CRA pipe. with a typical 330 . Another variant on GTAW. and then a faster process such as GMAW is used for filling and capping. plasma GTAW welding is also sometimes used. they are not particularly suitable for laybarge girth welding. 5. SAG forge welding was investigated for the welding of duplex and clad pipes by Statoil. For carbon steel pipelines the GMAW root bead is deposited either from inside the pipe or from outside onto a clamp with copper backing shoes.1.2. The two one shot processes which have seen the most development so far for welding of CRA materials are SAG forge and friction welding. However.2. This welding process combination is used since any defects associated with GMAW root beads are more significant in CRA alloys as they may act as a site for corrosion.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Because the GTAW process is inherently slow.2. The CRA filler wires do not usually have as good metal transfer characteristics as carbon steel filler wires and so in some cases pulsed welding currents are used to improve this situation. The system is suitable for pipe of 150 to 300mm diameter. it is usually used for the first few weld passes for large diameter pipe.
2. 5.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE overall cycle time of 4. are a number of precautions which must be observed and a number of factors which must be taken into consideration when selecting welding consumables. These are discussed below for the individual materials.1. traditional martensitic stainless steels are not readily weldable.1. Finally the composition of the duplex stainless steel weld metal will vary according to the dilution with the parent material and this may lead to varying properties. if matching filler wires are used to weld these steels then the weld metal can suffer from poor toughness. These weld deposits will have good toughness and a corrosion resistance at least equal to that of the parent material. The actual welding time accounts for 25 to 35 seconds of this total time. and they must also meet the usual strength. However. The alternative is to use an overalloyed filler wire. CRA materials depend for their corrosion performance on the correct microstructure and composition in the weld region. Local pick up of carbon steel on the surface of the material can lead to a galvanic cell and the initiation of pitting. Consequently matching filler metals with good toughness are under development (16). 331 . toughness and hardness limits. internal machining and non-destructive testing. so this may limit the application of the pipeline at high temperatures. 5.5 minutes. This means that tools and clamps should be faced with stainless steel or non-metallic material. such as duplex or superduplex stainless steel. Weldable martensitic and supermartensitic stainless steels are now available which have low carbon contents in order to give satisfactory hardness and toughness in the HAZ after welding. and grinding discs should not have previously been used on carbon steel.2. Tests have been carried out to demonstrate that welds with adequate corrosion and mechanical properties can be produced when radial friction welding consumable rings made from matching martensitic stainless steel are used (17).5.2 Duplex and Superduplex Stainless Steels In order to ensure that the pipe and weld material have adequate corrosion properties the following precautions are recommended for welding of duplex and superduplex stainless steels (see also Reference 18): • There should be no contact with carbon steel during fabrication and installation. There are. which includes line-up.1. welding. without the need to use extended post-weld heat treatments in order to temper the hardened heat affected zone (HAZ). 5. However.5. a weld made with a duplex filler wire may not be as strong the parent pipe and even using a superduplex filler wire does not guarantee overmatching of the higher grades of parent material (the supermartensitics).5 Precautions When Welding CRA Materials.1 Martensitic Stainless Steels As discussed in Module 3B. Radial friction welding of martensitic stainless steels is an alternative to fusion welding. Also duplex stainless steel loses tensile strength more rapidly than martensitic stainless steel at elevated temperatures. therefore.2.
For the welding of 22%Cr duplex stainless steel it is sometimes the practice to weld the root pass with the higher alloy 25%Cr superduplex filler wire. A ‘cold pass’ technique should be used. It is not realistic to expect all the oxygen in the pipe bore to be removed during purging and it is normal practice to measure the oxygen level in the bore immediately before welding using a purge meter. the maximum heat inputs for superduplex steel are usually lower than for duplex stainless steel. This is required in order to prevent very slow cooling rates in the weld and HAZ which would lead to the precipitation of unwanted intermetallic compounds in the microstructure. A practical maximum level of oxygen to aim for is 0. The purge gas should also be maintained until at least 5-8mm of weld is deposited so that the heat from subsequent weld passes does not oxidise the root bead. Precautions for superduplex pipe are usually more severe than those for duplex pipe. and the maximum interpass temperature should be controlled to 100-150oC. with a slight increase in the amount of nickel in order to maintain the correct phase balance in the weld metal (a 50/50 austenite/ferrite ratio as in the parent material is desirable but 40/60 is usually acceptable). The heat input from the welding process should be controlled to a specified maximum in order to control the cooling rate of the weld. This ensures that the heat from the second pass does not penetrate through the full thickness of the root bead and cause oxidation and precipitation effects. There should be no preheating before welding. The bore of the pipe should be purged with inert gas during welding to reduce oxidation of the root bead. These intermetallic compounds reduce the corrosion properties and toughness of the joint. In this way the corrosion properties of the root bead are improved and therefore safeguarded somewhat against variations in the welding procedure. Since the pitting resistance of the parent metal and the weld depends on nitrogen. An alternative approach is to use a shielding gas (and possibly purge gas) with a deliberate addition of nitrogen of 3-5%. as any less is associated with a low partial pressure of nitrogen in the purge and this can lead to a loss of nitrogen in the root bead. Repairs to the body of the weld should be carried out with a sufficient ligament of weld metal • • • • • 332 . depending on pipe wall thickness and grade of duplex. Since the weld bead size is related to the heat input (large heat input equals slow welding speed. They should only be allowed if it can be demonstrated that they can be carried out without prejudicing the integrity of the corrosion performance of the joint. Root pass repairs are usually not allowed on duplex and superduplex pipelines because of the difficulty in re-establishing the purge inside the pipe.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE • The consumables used should match the base material. since the higher alloyed steel is more susceptible to precipitation than the lower alloyed steel.5%. before filling the remainder of the joint with a 22%Cr filler wire. Again. equals large weld bead size) this means that the root bead should always be thicker than the second pass. then the corrosion properties of the root bead can suffer if purging is carried out too thoroughly. This means that the heat input for the second (cold) pass should be lower than that for the root pass.
this technique has the disadvantage that it is more complicated. and the integrity of the joint depends critically on the effectiveness of the buffer layer in preventing mixing of the CRA root weld metal and the carbon steel filler weld metal. Most duplex stainless steel pipelines have been welded using the manual or mechanised GTAW process for the root bead and then either filled with the same process (in the case of thin wall/small diameter pipe) or filled with the GMAW process (in the case of thicker wall/large diameter pipe.5. such as grade 316L. the clad layer and cope with dilution of the carbon steel host pipe (dilution of a carbon steel into a CRA material can reduce its corrosion resistance and result in high hardness unless the CRA material is chosen carefully). Use a high alloy consumable for the root pass. The consumable should be designed to match. It has been suggested that pulsed GTAW welding can be used for the buffer layer. Although potentially cheaper than the first option. • As a result of concerns about the second. or overmatch. This is an expensive option and it can be argued that the corrosion properties of the CRA filler material are not needed in the filling runs of the joint. 5. or one of the high nickel alloys. mixed welding. There are two main ways to weld clad pipe: • Use a high alloy CRA consumable throughout the joint. 333 . such as Incalloy 825 or Inconel 625.1. depending on the service conditions.2. overalloyed consumable. route(19).3 Clad Pipe Cladding materials can be austenitic stainless steels. duplex stainless steel. approach only a handful of clad pipelines have been welded in this way. even with this process there is a danger that dilution of the CRA material into the buffer layer may result in a hard and brittle zone in this region. most having been welded using the single. and then use a pure iron buffer layer for the second pass. since this is a low dilution process. or ceramic coated copper backing shoes. Also any breach in the CRA root bead (for example due to an undetected root defect such as lack of penetration) would result in contact between the aggressive media and the non-CRA part of the weld. there being only one consumable type used throughout the joint. Procedures have also been developed for mechanised GMAW root bead welding of duplex stainless steel using pulsed welding currents and an internal gas purge.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE beneath the repair that the internal root bead surface is not oxidised by the repair weld heat input. However. However. the advantage of this approach is its technical simplicity. before switching to a carbon steel consumable for the remaining filler and cap pass. The CRA clad layer is usually about 3mm thick and the backing steel is normally an API grade carbon steel of whatever thickness is required to withstand the maximum operating pressure.
even with good practice radiography suffers from some well-known shortcomings. The reason for this was that each operation on a conventional laybarge is a critical path event. In particular. The time taken to position the film around the weld. As a result the standard of radiography was much improved.g. Usually when the weld defects exceed the workmanship limits the weld is repaired. whilst they were still wet. The important parameters. together with rapid drying. Traditionally this inspection has been carried out by X ray film radiography and. The viewing of wet films was not ideal and it was found that when the films were reexamined in the dry condition important defects (mainly tight linear defects such as cracks and lack of fusion) had been missed. or if the defect is inclined from the vertical. so the allowable length is halved. but it can usually be assumed that defects are limited to one weld run in depth. such as welding and field joint coating was to view the films as soon as they had been developed. 334 . then it is possible to miss the defect. since the laybarge cannot move forward until the operations at each station are completed. including depth. expose the film. are the stress on the weld.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 5. which is about 3mm and this depth value is normally used for the purposes of ECA calculations. remove it and develop it and then view the film for defect acceptance (‘sentencing’) was therefore critical. lack of penetration) to 25mm length in any 300mm length of weld. for the early pipelines. For example BS4515 limits surface breaking linear defects (e. and buried linear defects (e. This meant that dry films could be produced within the 8-10 minutes cycle time required to match the other laybarge operations.1. However. If the X ray head is slightly off line with the centre of the weld. Also radiography does not give an accurate measure of defect depth and for this reason the common welding standards use defect length and type as the basis on which to sentence the welds. that is they are defect levels which a competent welder or welding system ought to be able to meet. which must be known for these calculations to be carried out. However. it is only capable of detecting tight defects if they are in line with the beam. lack of fusion) to 50mm length in any 300mm length of weld. Since the welds to which they have been traditionally applied are multipass welds it is assumed that defect depths are limited to one weld pass which in most welds is only a small proportion of the pipe wall thickness. sometimes this may be difficult or costly to carry out a repair if a critical weld is affected (for example a tie-in weld). When radiography is used the defect depth is not measured. The above limits are known as workmanship limits. Initially it was found that the only way that radiography could keep pace with other operations. As a result effort was put into introducing rapid developing systems. the material fracture toughness and the defect dimensions. as already mentioned.3 Inspection Techniques On a conventional laybarge one station is devoted to the inspection of the girth welds. In this case it is possible to carry out an engineering critical assessment (ECA) of the defective weld using fracture mechanics principles. viewing was carried out on wet films.g. This is on the basis that surface breaking defects are twice as significant from the point of view of fracture of the weld as buried defects.
5. and the details of the techniques used to detect them are described in the next sections. Real time radiography has been applied to the examination of the root run in the partially completed weld. since on a laybarge care has to be taken to screen operators from the ionising radiation associated with radiography. where X ray source alignment is critical. such as defective pipe or welding consumables. near real time being a better description. There is also the option. so that the image can be viewed in real time. where the operator moves an ultrasonic probe around the joint by hand. or failure to follow qualified procedures. to move the source whilst viewing the effect on the screen. many duplex stainless steel pipewelding standards call for ‘no root defects’. Firstly. With mechanised ultrasonic system the opportunity for operator error is reduced and a hard copy print out of the weld scan is produced. As a result the systems have not seen extensive use offshore. Secondly. Since many standards also forbid the repair of root defects it is cost effective to examine each girth weld after completion of the root run to check for defects. there are a number of disadvantages to the systems.1.3. so that image enhancement methods can be used and the results can be stored on CD ROM. In this way planar defects which might normally be missed could be detected. The ability to manipulate the image electronically is also an option. is able to give information about defect length and depth although it is not usually possible to identify the type of defect. allowing easier interpretation of the results. the systems are not truly real time. In this way if defects are present it is possible to cut out the weld immediately without the wasted effort of completing the whole weld only for it to be cut out. For this reason manual ultrasonic inspection is not widely used. where the photographic film is replaced by a low light level video camera. 335 . since the weld geometry is more consistent than for manual welds.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Manual ultrasonic inspection. although there have been some specialised applications where they have been used. A final fact in their favour is the absence of health and safety concerns compared to radiography. since the resolution is limited by the pixel size on the screen (similar to the limitation of current digital cameras compared to photographic film). The types of defects found in pipeline girth welds. the image is normally not as good as a radiographic film image.1 Defect types Defects which occur in pipeline girth welds can be: • those which are due to human error such as poor workmanship. The systems which have been developed are able to inspect a typical girth weld within the required time interval for laybarge applications. A recent development has been real time radiography. Also manual ultrasonic inspection is slow and prone to variation in the level of accuracy due to human error or operator fatigue and has no permanent record. but in the last ten years mechanised ultrasonic systems have been developed which use multi-probe heads mounted on a track surrounding the pipe. or near real time. For example. However. The systems are best suited to the inspection of girth welds made with mechanised welding processes. • those which are due to poor materials.
Lack of penetration is distinct from concavity in that the unmelted edges of the machined root face are still visible. Arc strikes are normally treated by grinding them to remove any hardened layer. leaving a groove. Figure 32d. caused when the root bead weld pool fails to fill the keyhole formed during welding. as shown in Figure 32b. which are mainly from the first two categories. such as lack of penetration. A burn through. such as poor weather conditions or excessive handling stresses during pipelaying. Root concavity. Figure 32h. is a localised severe form of root concavity. as it has a smooth profile. provided the weld thickness is not reduced too much. is most common at the 6 o’clock (overhead) position and is caused by too high a current or the root gap being too large. leaving a small hole in the root bead. External concavity. or adequately support the components before welding. particularly those of high diameter/wall thickness ratio and low grade. and can occur at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions especially with manual welding if a stripper pass (an additional filler pass over a small part of the pipe circumference to counteract concavity) is not used. This is caused by too high a welding current and incorrect electrode manipulation. Figure 28g. Excess root penetration. Cap undercut is a region at the side of the cap where the pipe material has been melted and washed away. Usually this defect is relatively unimportant. Not shown in these diagrams are arc strikes. is caused in manual welding by incorrect electrode manipulation and travel speed (the welder controls the level of penetration of the root bead partly by altering the angle of the welding electrode to close or open the ‘keyhole’). Mismatch (Figure 32a) is caused by ovality in the pipe or failure to use a clamp. Arc strikes may also be caused by arcing between the pipe and the welding return connection. is caused by an insufficient number of weld passes. Root undercut is similar to cap undercut but the groove is on the internal surface of the pipe. or window. This hole is then covered. Common defects. the hot pass. followed by magnetic particle examination to ensure freedom from cracking. leaving a ‘window’ shaped depression in the root bead.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE • those which are due to external influences. Figure 32i. Figure 32e. but not if the pipes are of heavy wall thickness or high strength. or lack of fill. The use of prodes has largely been superceded by electromagnetic yokes and this problem is then avoided. Figure 32c. • those which are due to a progressive cause such as corrosion or fatigue in service. This defect can be caused by too low a 336 . Excessive mismatch can be associated with other defects. or suck back. which are local hard spots on the external surface of the pipe caused by accidental striking of the welding electrode on the pipe surface rather than in the weld bevel. are shown in Figure 32a-t. Clamps will ‘round out’ some pipes. Figure 32f. but not filled by. or by the use of electrical prods for magnetic particle examination.
making detection more difficult. Figure 32r. This is caused by too small a root gap. They are caused by failure to grind the external surface of the root bead (which is normally convex) sufficiently between weld passes so that the hot pass is unable to melt out any remaining slag at the edges of the bead. local loss of shielding gas. However. or wrong electrode angle. If the porosity is surface breaking it can also be caused by too much weaving of the electrode or overheating of the weld pool. they are known as waggon tracks. wrong electrode angle. Figure 28p. Longitudinal weld metal cracks.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE welding current. Lack of sidewall fusion is caused by insufficient melting of the faces of the weld preparation. They can be difficult to detect by radiography since they are usually very tight and are aligned parallel with the natural ripples on the weld bead surface. and provided this is the case ECA analyses often demonstrate that long lengths can remain in the weld without posing a threat to the integrity of the pipeline.5mm. Elongated root porosity. The fact that the lack of sidewall fusion is tight and inclined slightly to the radiographic beam means that it may not show up well on the radiograph. If these inclusions are linear and on each side of the root bead. Waggon tracks are a feature of manual welding with cellulosic electrodes. Figure 32l. Figure 32o. Figure 32k. Lack of interrun fusion occurs between weld passes. Transverse hydrogen cracks. Figure 32n. about 1. too fast a welding speed. and so is normally at right angles to the radiographic beam. can be caused by isolated contamination of the weld faces. or the welder holding too long an arc. Figure 32q normally occur in the weld metal of high strength steels and may lie on alternate 45o planes (hence the term ‘chevron’cracks). Scattered porosity. too large a weld pool. lack of sidewall fusion is normally limited in depth to one weld run. or hollow bead. and sometimes by excessive amounts of some alloying elements in the parent material. Slag inclusions are ‘body of the weld’ defects caused by too low a welding current or incorrect cleaning of the weld bead surface between weld passes. In the case of GMAW disruption or contamination of the shielding gas can also result in porosity. This can be due to too low a welding current. This defect is normally limited in depth to the depth of the root face. Mechanised GMAW welding systems are particularly prone to this type of defect because of the steep angle of the weld bevel and the low heat input welding system. is caused by a failure of the weld to outgas as it solidifies. Cluster porosity. can be due to hydrogen but are usually solidification cracks caused by a high depth to width ratio weld bead shape. can be caused by too low or too high a moisture level in the welding electrode flux covering (cellulosic electrodes need some moisture in the coating to provide the shielding gas). and/or stress on the weld as it solidifies. Figure 32m. Figure 32j. or too tight a root gap. 337 . or failure to use the correct technique at the weld stop/start positions. because of their appearance on the radiograph.
in order that some tempering of the heat affected zone in the pipe takes place. Hydrogen cracks are some of the most critical to the integrity of the girth weld because their extent is unpredictable and they can be missed by radiography because of their orientation and tightness. using low hydrogen vertical down electrodes or semi-automatic gas metal arc welding. Figure 32s. hydrogen cracks were often introduced. they can also propagate into the weld metal further up the weld. although they can also be caused by excessive stress on the pipe during laying. Although they usually initiate and propagate for some distance in the heat affected zone. It is now common to specify that such welds should consist of at least two weld runs. interpass temperature and time control etc. and it was difficult to apply preheat when carrying them out. It used to be the practice on large diameter pipes to repair any root defects by single run back welds with cellulosic electrodes. The exception to this practice is for mechanised GMAW welds when a misfire occurs on one of the welding torches used on the internal root bead. However. another cause of hydrogen cracks is the use of poor repair welding procedures. Since these were of low heat input. 338 .).Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Root heat affected zone cracks. The precautions adopted in the construction welding procedure to minimise hydrogen cracks have already been mentioned (preheat. In this case the repair weld run is tempered by the later external weld runs. If a misfire occurs then the missing part of the root bead is replaced with a single weld run. are usually due to hydrogen.
Cap undercut Figure 32f. Mismatch or hi-lo Figure 32b. External concavity or lack of fill.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 32a. Mismatch with lack of penetration. Figure 32c. Root undercut 339 . Figure 32d. Excess penetration Figure 32e.
Figure 32h. Lack of interrun fusion 340 . Burn through or ‘window’ Figure 32i. Root concavity.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 32g. Elongated slag lines or ‘waggon tracks’ Figure 32l. Lack of penetration Figure 32j. Slag inclusions Figure 32k. Lack of sidewall fusion Figure 32m.
Cluster porosity Figure 32p. Root pass aligned porosity. of smooth regular profile. or ‘hollow bead’ Figure 32q.1. Longitudinal root heat affected zone crack 5. Longitudinal weld metal crack. an experienced Welding Inspector can also tell the 341 . Figure 32s.2 Visual Inspection Visual inspection is an often overlooked part of the overall inspection procedure. In the case of pipeline girth welds.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 32n.3. If the external appearance of the weld is neat. then there is a high probability that the weld is of good quality. Scattered porosity Figure 32o. Transvserse weld metal crack Figure 32r. and free from arc strikes and undercut.
porosity. and the satisfactory performance of most pipelines suggests that it is effective. depending on the pipe geometry and the equipment available. lack of root penetration. burn throughs and arc strikes are three dimensional and can be found fairly easily by radiography. undercut. for example for single wall examination of welds in very small diameter pipework. Also available are borescopes and internal cameras. this failing would appear to be a major disadvantage of radiography. two dimensional defects. since factors such as the standard of interpass weld cleaning can influence the final weld quality. For large diameter pipes the so-called panoramic technique is 342 . This helps to determine if there has been any deviation from the welding procedure.4 Radiography Characteristic pipeline defects. and weld inspection gauges for the measurement of depth of undercut. b) the deterrent effect of radiography is sufficient to encourage welders to follow the qualified procedure and this reduces the chance of two dimensional defects as well as three dimensional defects.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE welding direction and the class of electrode used. c) the use of qualified radiographic procedures and experienced interpreters means that all of the significant defects can be usually be found.1. However. where the small size of the gamma source allows it to be placed inside the pipe. There are a number of aids to visual inspection. misalignment etc. For this reason it is only used for special applications. where the greater penetrating power of gamma radiography compared to X radiography is an advantage. A variety of radiographic techniques may be used. Although these are not used routinely on offshore pipelines they may be useful in the case of a disputed repair on small diameter pipe where internal access is otherwise not possible. X ray and gamma ray. The former has better sensitivity and is now normally specified for most girth weld inspection. Narrow. Since three dimensional defects are less significant than two dimensional defects from the point of view of structural integrity. especially those which are not aligned parallel to the radiographic beam. The latter requires less specialised equipment but has poorer sensitivity and can therefore miss more defects. 5. Visual inspection should also be applied during the welding operation as well as at the end. cap height. especially cracks. which can be used to examine the root bead. and on very thick welds. This is probably because: a) the improved weldability of modern materials means that cracking is now relatively rare. including low power magnifying lenses. Two forms of radiographic source can be used. from a visual examination of the weld cap profile. can be missed by radiography especially if best practice is not used.9. radiography continues to be the main NDE technique applied to pipeline girth welds. such as slag. such as cracks.
The radiographic film is then wrapped around the outside of the girth weld and exposed to the radiographic beam from the crawler. so that the source can be carried along the pipeline from one girth weld to the next. Figure 34. Figure 33. 343 . The crawler than moves along to the next girth weld and the process is repeated. so would not be appropriate for offshore pipeline construction on a laybarge. Internal pipeline crawler. Figure 33. or access to the centre of the pipe bore for the X ray source is restricted. Panoramic Radiography FILM S F S = Source of radiation F = Focus-to-film or Source-to-film distance For offshore pipelines the X ray source is built into a crawler. where the X ray source is placed centrally inside the pipe and the radiographic film is placed in contact with the outside surface of the pipe. The crawler is designed to stop when it recognises a signal from a low strength gamma radiation source which is placed on the outside of the pipe at the weld to be examined. before being developed. by placing the source outside the pipe and the film in contact with the weld root on the inside wall of the pipe. The panoramic technique gives a rapid result (one exposure).Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE used. This technique is mainly applicable to welds between short pup pieces of pipe. Fig 35. However it may sometimes be necessary to use the opposite approach. This is the single wall single image technique (SWSI) and is used when the pipe diameter is too small to give the correct focal length for an internally placed X ray source. Figure 34.
then a double wall technique has to be used. when radiographing a girth weld in an in-service pipeline. whereby the source is placed remotely from the pipe surface on one side of the pipe. and the film is placed in contact with the external surface of the weld on the opposite side of the pipe.g. Fig 36. so that a single image of the weld adjacent to the film is produced. The simplest technique is the double wall single image technique (DWSI). e. FILM X 90 ° FILM F X SECTION ON X-X S S F /5 S = SOURCE OF RADIATION F = FOCUS-TO-FILM OR SOURCE-TO-FILM DISTANCE Figure 36.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 35. Double Wall Single Image Radiography 344 . Single Wall Single Image Radiography. FILM F S = Source of radiation F = Focus-to-film or Source-to-film distance S If no access at all to the bore of the pipe is possible. slightly offset from the weld.
The important criterion is the resulting sensitivity of the radiograph and this can be measured by placing a penetrameter.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE For small diameter pipe (less than 90mm) the DWSI technique is not applicable and the double wall double image (DWDI) technique is used. the energy of the source and the exposure time. Interpretation of radiographs requires care and experience. A knowledge of the cause and distribution 345 . or image quality indicator (IQI) alongside the weld during the exposure of the film. such as the source to film distance. the grain size of the film. This is similar to DWSI but the film is flat and is placed tangential to the pipe. The film viewing conditions should be correct with regard to film illumination and background lighting. and the film developing conditions. The source is again offset but is placed so that images of both the near and far weld sections is produced alongside each other on the one film. The density of the radiograph should also be measured using a densitometer and compared with the allowable range in the specification. Single wall radiographic techniques give radiographic results which are easier to interpret than double wall techniques and are to be preferred where applicable. Fig 37. The sensitivity is assessed from the finest IQI wire which can be recognised on the film and should be compared with the allowable values given in the specification. for the appropriate wall thickness and radiographic technique used. so that it is only in contact with the weld at one point rather than over its whole length.Double Wall Double Image Radiography The quality of the radiographic image depends on many factors. and the inspector should allow some time for his eyes to become adjusted to the level of illumination before reading the radiograph. FILM X 90 ° FILM (OFFSET) X F SECTION ON X-X S S F /5 Figure 37 . The DIN IQI consists of pairs of wires of decreasing diameter trapped inside a plastic holder.
a surface breaking feature of limited depth found at the edge of the root bead which occurs occasionally when using cellulosic electrodes. Some features in particular can cause confusion. In order to accurately position the defect. assumptions must be made about the exact length of the beam path from the probe to the weld root and this is difficult unless the outside surface of the pipe is marked in some way before welding to indicate the distance from the weld bevel.1. Root bead slag intrusion 5. or fine lack of root fusion (missed edge) and in some cases it may be necessary to ‘grind and investigate’ the defect to see if it disappears within acceptable metal removal limits. One of these is the root bead slag intrusion. or even between examinations when using the same operator. The interpretation of root bead indications in SMAW girth welds is also difficult with manual ultrasonics since mismatch.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE of weld defects is necessary to interpret the two dimensional image of what is usually a three dimensional defect. Even then the root gap with a manual welded joint can vary around the circumference and 346 . to making a large number of routine inspections. Also the degree of operator concentration involved is very great and this can give rise to inconsistent results. Figure 38.5 Ultrasonic Examination Manual ultrasonic examination can be used as an aid to interpret a radiographic indication. It is often difficult to distinguish this feature on a radiograph from a root bead hydrogen crack. excess penetration. such as would be required on a laybarge. Fig 34. The manual version is not suitable for use as the primary inspection technique for pipeline girth welds since it is slow and dependent to a large degree on operator interpretation.9. especially on thick wall pipe. between operators. and root hydrogen cracks can all give rise to similar reflections. therefore. It is not suited. root undercut.
but lend themselves to detection by ultrasonics. Fig 39. 347 .Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE from weld to weld. Figure 40. Lack of sidewall fusion in mechanised GMAW weld. As such they can be missed by radiography. When mechanised GMAW welding processes are used. Multiprobe mechanised ultrasonic systems have been developed which run on the same track as the mechanised GMAW welding carriages. Figure 40. initially in conjunction with radiography. the weld fit up and the resultant weld geometry are much more consistent. but more recently as the primary inspection technique. Mechanised ultrasonic system for pipeline girth weld inspection. Also one of the most common types of defect found in mechanised GMAW welds is lack of sidewall fusion. This means that the location of the probes with respect to the weld bevel is known and the defects can be identified by their position in the weld. so that accurate defect location with respect to the finished root bead profile is difficult. A major advantage of such techniques is that they can operate just 6 welds or so behind the front end of the pipeline and therefore there is a rapid feedback on weld quality compared to radiography. Such systems have been used extensively on large diameter mechanised GMAW welded pipelines. where a whole days production (possibly more than 100 welds) may welded before the radiographs are taken and interpreted. Figure 39. These defects are tight and aligned at a slight angle to the through thickness direction.
therefore. A certain amount can be done to extend the capability of the conventional S lay barge by increasing the power of the pipe tensioners and extending the length of the stinger so that the pipe enters the water at a steeper angle. since the pipe follows a ‘J’ profile as it progresses from its vertical position on the barge to its horizontal position on the sea bed.9. in water depths up to 2.6 Magnetic Particle Inspection Magnetic particle inspection (MPI) is only suitable for the detection of surface breaking defects. inspected and coated in a much smaller number of stations than on a conventional barge. for S and J-lay barges are shown in Figure 41. The inspection of fillet welds is not possible with radiography. be expected to be limited to one weld run in depth (about 3mm) and therefore not significant structurally. However. The main limit in the case of J-lay is the ability of the pipe tensioners to support the submerged weight of the pipeline. and so cannot be used as the primary inspection method for girth welds.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 5. Therefore. Where access is available it may be used. for very deep water in order to reduce the stresses on the pipe during deepwater laying it is necessary to eliminate the overbend region by arranging for the pipe to be vertical or near vertical as it enters the water. hot tap split tees etc. since the weight of the pipe causes a bending moment on the pipe as it leaves the stinger. with the exception of the Shell Mars 450mm diameter pipeline. 5. since most of these fillet welds are multipass welds. as a support to radiography for the inspection of root beads in order to confirm freedom from hydrogen cracking. This usually means that the pipe must be welded. This method of pipelaying is known as J-lay. but also soft thermal insulation. however. The body of the weld is not usually inspected. These tensioners must be capable of gripping not just conventional hard anti-corrosion pipe coating.000m.2 J LAY The deepwater pipeline projects carried out to date mostly include small diameter pipe (250-300mm diameter). MPI is used to inspect the fillet welds on attachments such as weldolets. and it is difficult with ultrasonics because of the subjective nature of the technique. Future projects will entail laying large diameter pipe. 348 . This inspection will only confirm freedom from surface breaking defects. Any buried defects in such welds would. CP connections. If there is a need to lay rigid large diameter pipe in water depths greater than 1000m or so then a conventional S lay poses the risk of a pipe buckle or fracture. up to 900mm diameter. versus the pipe diameter.1. pipe supports. see Figure 1. The possible water depths for laying.
Laser and electron beam welding processes are applicable. it is normal to weld 2-6 pipe lengths horizontally on the deck (or onshore) using a high speed welding system such as submerged arc welding.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 41. In the past 20 years several attempts have been made to develop laser welding systems for both S and J lay pipelines.1 Welding Processes Since there may only be one welding station on a J-lay barge it is important to maximise the productivity of the welding process. including poor weld quality (principally problems with porosity). Provision must also be made for abandonment and recovery equipment. Lay capability envelopes for S lay and J lay(20).2. Electron beam welding has also been under development for pipeline welding for many years. Since the number of workstations is limited by the height of the tower. midships (through a moon pool) or stern of an existing vessel for specific projects(20. The tower normally contains the welding. To date the work has not been successful for a number of reasons. The pipe string is then transferred to the vertical position and lined up with the end of the pipe string already in the tower. The limit on wall thickness is around 15mm for S laying and up to 30mm for J laying. For this reason great interest has been shown in the use of one shot welding processes for J-lay. poor mechanical properties. most projects involve a modular tilting tower which is positioned on the bow. and difficulties with the optical guidance systems. There are few purpose built J-lay vessels. 5. Some of these problems can be solved by the addition of filler wires and the state of the technology is now such that laser welding may be back in contention for J-lay work. NDT and field joint coating stations as well as the tensioners. Total built a prototype system for J-laying in the early 1980’s and produced more 349 .21). since the welding position means it is easier to control the weld pool than it would be with the pipe axis horizontal.
In order to save pumping time the Total equipment used a double vacuum chamber arrangement. The drums onto which the pipe is reeled are of various diameters and can either be permanently mounted on the laying vessel. Trials are currently underway. but there is no record of it being used in anger on a laybarge. The steel pipes were 75mm diameter and were welded together in lengths up to 1. So far it has been found that it is necessary to add filler wire to the joint in order to improve the toughness to acceptable levels for offshore use. This means there is a need for seals around the pipe. or quadruple joint the pipe lengths in the horizontal position on the barge and then move the pipe to the vertical position in the tower for joining onto the main pipeline(20. Care must be taken to control the maximum interpass temperatures of the welds to avoid deterioration in mechanical properties(23). 5. but the pipe being in a lower vacuum. triple.2 km and then wound onto drums of 12m diameter. The equipment was installed on a land based test bed which could be rocked to simulate severe sea states. This has been achieved by the use of multiple welding heads and by computer control systems which allow more rapid start up of the welding arcs. the gun working at high vacuum. as in the Stena Apache. More recently TWI and Saipem have been developing a low vacuum electron beam pipewelding system for use offshore. The drums were towed behind ships and unreeled when required(24). Since both these one-pass welding systems are still under development.3 COILED LINE PIPE The idea of installing offshore pipelines by spooling them onto a reel at a shore base and then unspooling the pipe at the installation site is not new.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE than 3000 trial welds in 600mm diameter pipe in wall thickness up to 32mm and grades up to X100(22). and there may be a delay until the required vacuum is obtained. attempts have been made to speed up conventional mechanised welding systems so that high weld production rates can be achieved at one weld station. or producing the pipe in continuous form before coiling. instead of the 4 or 5 weld stations on existing vessels.21). A limitation of the electron beam process is the need to have the electron gun and workpiece in a vacuum chamber for high quality work. During the second world war fuel supply pipes were laid across the North Sea following the Allied invasion of Normandy. It is understood that the main reasons for this were difficulties with mechanical property requirements and the problems of maintaining the vacuum. 350 . with the aim of using the equipment on a J-lay barge. Another way to overcome the problem of the limited number of fabrication stations in the J lay tower is to double. or can be dismounted to allow reeling to take place at the shorebase without tying up the vessel. For small diameter pipe (<450mm) there is the possibility of either welding the pipe strings together at a shore base as in the case of Pluto. The project was called PLUTO : Pipe Line Under The Ocean.
. or offshore platform (in the case of an export pipeline) in one operation. inspected. 351 . if present. 5. or rail and roadways. and the pipe has to be positioned on the sea bed about 1km from the shore to allow the laybarge space to turn around. or the size of spool that can be accommodated on the deck of the vessel. Also any strain ageing after this deformation could cause a reduction in toughness and an increase in yield strength of the pipe. a tunnel to gain access to any cliffs.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE The limitation on the length of spooled pipe is either the crane capacity for lifting the spools onto the vessel.4 LANDFALLS With rigid pipelines especially. directional drilling may be the best option. and this is usually at a remote shorebase with good docking facilities. Another disadvantage of coiled pipe is that weight coating is not possible so the pipe may not have the required on bottom stability unless the pipe wall thickness is increased. In the case of continuous coiled pipe the pipe is made from strip which is formed and welded using the ERW/HFI welding process. For this reason it has become common practice to qualify pipe materials and welding procedures for reeled pipe on a bending rig prior to the start of a contract(25). Alternatively if the landfall area is congested with dunes. for example from the well to a transmission pipeline or to a gathering point. flexibility in the type of laying vessel which may be used. and a shaft to reach the top of any cliffs. to the near shore. Usually the pipe is laid from the platform. and improved flow characteristics in the case of continuous pipe because of the absence of girth welds. field joint coated and spooled. A large area of land is needed to lay out the various work stations in a similar way to the layout of the firing line on a laybarge. it is not normally possible to lay pipe from the shoreline to the other shoreline (in the case of a crossing) . The land fall section itself may need to be in a trench or cofferdam if crossing a beach. The main application of coiled pipelines is for in-field flowlines. The friction between the coated pipe and the touchdown points must also be assessed carefully. or far shoreline. since this will affect the winch loads. The Apache has laid 250mm diameter reeled pipe in a depth of 705m for Petrobas. Damage to the pipeline coating during pulling is an obvious concern and the coating of this section of pipe must be chosen with this in mind. One of the obvious concerns is the fact that to reel and unreel the pipe it is necessary to apply plastic strains of up to 5% to the pipe and this could cause ovality and buckling. The pull-in is carried out by winching using a pulling head welded to the end of the pipeline. In the case of butt welded spool sections individual pipe lengths of 12m are welded together using either manual or mechanised welding. It is then normal practice to lay back to the shore from this point by winching the pipe from the barge (shore pull). or by means of a hyperbaric weld on the seabed (see next section). The advantages of coiled pipe are the rapid laying time (useful if there is a short weather window). The two pipe ends are then tied in either on the barge. Pipeline lengths from around 1km to up to 20km have been laid using the spooling technique.
and one which has been used increasingly because of the cost of hyperbaric operations is to lift the pipe ends and carry out the tie-in above water on. the shore approach. The alternative approach. These include. viii. for example. vi. lowering a hyperbaric chamber over the tie-in location. vii. must allow for the extra length of the pipeline when it is on the seabed. iii. A typical sequence of events for this operation used by European Marine Contractors Ltd on the English Channel Interconnector pipeline(26) is: i. ii. the barge. and then welding. xiii. v. iv. ix. xii. 352 . cutting the pipe ends (to allow either a straight tie in or the insertion of a pup piece) manipulating the pipe ends into line. Traditionally these tie-ins have been carried out by means of a hyperbaric welding operation. in particular. the tie-in to the riser pipe at the platform and any mid length tie-ins associated with pipe laydowns due to separate construction phases/seasons. xv. xi.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 5.5 TIE-IN OPERATIONS An offshore pipeline may involve several tie-ins. inspection and field joint coating of the tie in. xiv. attach buoyancy tanks and lift clamps during pipelay raise the first pipeline using the barge davits remove laydown head and prepare pipe end raise second pipeline remove head and cutback so that the pipes are side by side but overlapping cut the second pipe at the appropriate tide bevel second pipe and bring the ends together place hydraulic alignment clamp achieve line-up and commence welding remove clamp radiography (double wall single image X ray) apply corrosion protection heat shrink sleeves strap wood to pipe for impact protection lay completed pipes back on seabed remove buoyancy and lift clamps The main dangers with this approach are the stresses which are placed on the pipeline during the lifting and lowering operation. This involves placing pipe handling frames on the sea bed. The lowering. or at the side of. This is usually done by moving the laybarge gently sideways as the pipe is lowered to the seabed. x.
H DALE Troll oil pipeline : pipelaying at the limits of today’s technology ?????? 5. S FRICH. P SIMMONS Large diameter. STILL JR Pipelines for subsea oil and gas transmission Materials Science & Technology 1988 314-323. P KVAALE. Supermartensitic Stainless Steels 99. 8. 13. G SHARMAN.6 REFERENCES 1. Mechanical and Corrosion Assessment of Advanced 13%Cr Steel Welds produced by Radial Friction Welding. Int. 7-8. 11. 353 . H HEUSER. G HUTT. B PERSSON & G LANDE An Explosion Welding Method for Joining Pipelines International Conference ‘Welding & Performance of Pipelines’. S B DUNKERTON. 7. A LOYER & D V DORLING. deep water pipelay Zeepipe 2A project OMAE 1996 15th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering. P H MOE SAG Forge Welding . 10. International Conference ‘Welding & Performance of Pipelines’. 17. D G BATHAM. ‘Joining and Welding for the Oil and Gas Industry’ London October 1997. 2. Belgium May 1999. C FOWLER. G SHARLAND. ANON Saipem gets ready for ultra-deepwater pipelay Offshore October 1998 58 4. J TOSCH Welding of 13%Chromium Supermartensitic Stainless Steels Pipeline 98 NEC Birmingham 19-21May 1998. London Nov 1986. A KNOKLEBYE. 14.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 5. R HARRISON. A BELLONI Reduced Pressure EB Welding for Offshore Pipelines Int. International Conference ‘Welding & Performance of Pipelines’. C PUNSHON. G CURTI. M SWIDZINSKI. London Nov 1986. 12. R W CARNES Advances in Homopolar Welding of API Linepipe for Deepwater Applications. 15. ‘Joining and Welding for the Oil and Gas Industry’ London October 1997. 19. T SIMONSEN Flash butt welding of TMCP steels International Conference ‘The Metallurgy. London Nov 1986. K PROSSER Alternative Welding Systems for Pipelines IIW XI-E Document 8/87. A JOHANSEN. 6. 1997. G MASTRACCHIO. ‘Joining and Welding for the Oil and Gas Industry’ London October 1997. International Conference ‘Welding & Performance of Pipelines’. Conf. D RUSSELL Development of Laser Technology for Welding in the Oil and Gas Industries Int. M SAUVAGE Fabrication and Installation of Duplex stainless steel Sealine Offshore Nov. 16. S D FARLEY. G HUTT Radial Friction Welding for Offshore Pipelines Duplex World Conference 21-23 October 1997. ‘Joining and Welding for the Oil and Gas Industry’ London October 1997. Welding and Qualification of Microalloyed (HSLA) Steel Weldments’. C SYKES. Conf. P BUTLER. J G EMMERSON Welding the Maui A-B Pipeline Pipeline Digest May 1994. PARLANE A J A. B LIAN. Conf. 9. Radial Friction Welding for Offshore Pipelines. Conf. London Nov 1986. E PERTENEDER. 3. N SAUTE. J HAMMOND A Review of ‘One Shot’ Welding Processes Int. High Impact Welding for Intermediate Diameter Pipeline Construction. A ANDERDAHL. 18.
Conf. 22. 26. E WARREN. G LANGFIELD Pipe Reeling . A BROWNRIGG.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 20. 25. ‘Welding and Performance of Pipelines’ TWI London Nov 1986. B G SUNDREAU A New Concept for Pipelines – Electron Beam Welding Offshore Technology Conference. D S HOYT J-lay Pipeline Welding Offshore Technology Conference 1991 Paper OTC 6731.M J VINES. 23. Harrogate.Effect on the Properties of Welded Pipe Third Int. 24. D STANNARD Materials. 21. B DE SIVRY.ANON Saipem Gets Ready for Ultra-Deepwater Pipelay Offshore. RENARD Modular J-lay Solution has SCR Installation Ability Offshore June 1998. C BENNETT. 354 . UK 23-24 April 1998. B. October 1998. May 1981. Welding and Installation of the Interconnector Pipeline Eurogas 98 Conference. fuelled by demand for production turnaround Offshore June 1998.D. W H STRONG Coiled line pipe installations grow. B S LAING.
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