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PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE
9.1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................... 356 9.2 REPAIR TECHNIQUES ................................................................................................ 358 9.2.1 Do nothing............................................................................................................... 358 9.2.2 Do nothing but monitor the defect. ......................................................................... 359 9.2.3 Downrate the pipeline ............................................................................................. 359 9.2.4 Remove the defect by dressing it out. ..................................................................... 359 9.2.5 Mechanical Clamps................................................................................................. 360 9.2.6 Epoxy grouted repair sleeves. ................................................................................. 362 9.2.7 Clock Spring Repair................................................................................................ 365 9.2.8 Alternative Composite Repair Systems .................................................................. 366 9.2.9 Welded patches and half shells. .............................................................................. 367 9.2.10 Welded full encirclement shells and hot tap fittings............................................... 368 9.2.11 Local weld deposition repair................................................................................... 369 9.2.12 Cut out pipe section and replace – welded spool piece........................................... 372 9.2.13 Cut out pipe section and replace - mechanical connectors ..................................... 374 184.108.40.206 Elastomer systems........................................................................................... 374 220.127.116.11 Forging systems .............................................................................................. 374 18.104.22.168 Metal seals....................................................................................................... 375 9.3 ANCILLIARY REPAIR EQUIPMENT ......................................................................... 375 9.4 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................... 380
PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE
MODULE 9B: PIPELINE REPAIR
9.1 INTRODUCTION The cost of repair of damaged offshore pipelines is very much greater than that for onshore pipelines, since an offshore repair usually requires at least a diving support vessel and diving crew, but possibly a full hyperbaric welding spread and associated pipe handling frames etc. If the pipeline is at a depth beyond that at which divers are able to work then a remotely deployed repair system may need to be used. For these reasons before any decision to repair is taken all other possibilities should be explored, for example the use of engineering critical assessment calculations to allow acceptance of the defect, supported by full scale trials if necessary, or even downrating of the pipeline to allow continued operation at lower pressure without repair. Before a repair is attempted on an offshore pipeline a number of details should be obtained. These include : • • • • • • • • • • pipe details (dimensions, grade, material, manufacturing route) pipeline operating conditions (including those at the time of damage if known). pipeline product specification type and dimensions of any external corrosion/weight coatings. type of CP system. pipe burial conditions. water depth, temperature. current conditions. seabed conditions. details of damage (type, extent, location).
The nature of the damage will influence the type of repair that may be chosen. Damage to offshore pipelines may be of many types but can be classified into four main groups : 1. Manufacturing/Design/Construction fault. • • • • material/quality problem with pipe or fitting. welding defect. overload etc. due to design deficiency. damage/buckling during construction.
357 . 4. pitting corrosion.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 2. preferential corrosion of welds/heat affected zones. crevice corrosion. damaged/missing external corrosion protection coating.g. buckling/distortion due to seabed movement. Mechanical damage • • • • • • • • • internal mechanical damage from pigs. anchors etc. from free spans). Internal corrosion • • • • • • • • general corrosion. stress corrosion cracking. erosion/abrasion (internal or external). damaged/missing external weight coating. local corrosion (e. pitting). 3. mesa corrosion. stress corrosion cracking.g. microbiological corrosion. failure of CP system. hydrogen induced cracking. denting/gouging from dropped objects. External corrosion • • • • general corrosion. buckles/fatigue damage (e. storm damage. denting/gouging from external interference (trawl boards.).
as soon as practicable by any appropriate method (e.1 Do nothing In certain circumstances. g) use welded patches or half shells. This is now recognised. for a minor leak or damage which does not immediately threaten the integrity of the pipeline). The techniques for carrying out repairs to defects discovered in pipelines include: a) do nothing.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Depending on the nature and extent of the damage. and whether the pipeline is leaking or not. for example when defects outside the workmanship standards used during construction are discovered. it may be possible to apply fitness-for-purpose principles to accept the defects. c) downrate the pipeline. immediately by replacing the pipe section after stopping the flow (e.2 REPAIR TECHNIQUES 9. girth weld defect acceptance limits in standards such as API1104 or BS4515 are based on good workmanship.g. i) cut out pipe section and replace with welded pipe section. d) remove the defect by dressing it out. the repair operation may need to be carried out: • • • immediately. e) use epoxy grouted repair sleeves. b) do nothing but monitor the defect. j) cut out pipe section and replace with mechanically connected pipe section These are discussed individually below: 9. For example. for a major rupture). e) use mechanical leak clamps. perhaps using a temporary leak clamp in the first instance (e. and most national and international standards have fitness-forpurpose appendices which allow defect sizes based on engineering critical assessment to 358 . It is usually possible for defects to be much larger before they affect the integrity of the pipeline. f) use composite repair collars such as Clock Spring. without interrupting the flow.g.g for a large leak). h) use welded full encirclement shells or hot tap fittings.2.
For subsea pipelines routine access for defect monitoring is not available so that this option may not be a practical proposition unless the defect lends itself to examination by some form of remote monitoring system. This technique is used mainly for the removal of metal loss defects such as mechanical damage (eg gouges. stress on the defect and material toughness) is known. spalling) and corrosion. 9. However. since it is normally necessary to carry out a paper or computer based analysis before ‘nothing’ can be done! 9. moderate. the heading 'do nothing' is simplistic. for example. carry out only the normal routine inspection programmes. These approaches can be applied to defects in girth welds. although it has also been used for minor cracking. Figure 1. depending on the results of regular surveys. and the defect is well within acceptable limits then it may be appropriate to ignore the defect and treat that section of the pipeline like any other section. if the defect is close to the acceptable limit. Those classified as superficial and moderate can be repaired by dressing and an algorithm has been produced to ensure that appropriate precautions.2 Do nothing but monitor the defect. For these calculations to be carried out it is usually necessary to have some measure of material notch toughness (eg CTOD). provided the input data (defect size. An alternative to re-laying the pipeline would be to downrate the pipeline to an operating pressure at which there is no danger of pipeline failure. degree of metal removal. 359 . ie. but the defect is too extensive or too difficult to repair then an option might be to lower the maximum permissible operating pressure of the pipeline (ie. 9. severe and extreme(1). or the pipe body.2. Assuming that an engineering critical assessment has been carried out. downrate the pipeline).4 Remove the defect by dressing it out. Such a case might be. are taken Figure 2.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE be calculated. such as pressure reduction. as well as a knowledge of defect size and stress on the defect. In repair standards such as that used by British Gas. Obviously if the source of the corrosion cannot be eliminated further deterioration of the pipeline should be anticipated and further downrating may be necessary. then it may be appropriate to monitor the defect in some way. and a repair is impracticable or uneconomic. etc. defects are classified as superficial.2. The approach here is to reduce the stress concentration caused by the defect by removing metal around it to produce a smooth surface contour. Therefore. or if there is a possible defect growth mechanism in operation (such as fatigue). seam welds.3 Downrate the pipeline If an engineering critical assessment analysis demonstrates that the defect is likely to lead to failure of the pipeline at the current operating pressure. when there is extensive corrosion along the seam welds of a pipeline.2.
Tensile residual stresses may be produced underneath the ground excavation.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 1. taking care not to overheat the surface. often reinforced with metal antiextrusion supports to enable them to seal and contain high pressures.01-0. The installation of mechanical (i. The most common form of dressing is by grinding. using the correct equipment. but the complex sealing welds required around threaded components such as stud bolts make it difficult to guarantee a satisfactory finished repair. This is because the cost of gaining access to the defect is so high that it is usually considered worthwhile to carry out a more extensive repair. Although this defect dressing technique is used regularly on onshore pipelines. Dressing of a defect in a pipeline Dressing of defects in live pipelines must be carried out with care. such as with a repair sleeve. Some clamps are claimed to act as a permanent repair if they are subsequently welded to the pipeline (see Figure 11). 9.5 Mechanical Clamps The high pressure versions of these clamps consist of flanged and bolted heavy wall split shells with a number of elastomeric seals.06mm and this is insignificant as far as pipeline integrity is concerned.e. preferably using the 100mm dia.2. by trained operators. wheel grinderette type. in case there is further damage at the site of the ground excavation. but the depth is typically only 0. bolted) repair clamps offshore relies on : • • • good preparation of the pipe surface installation of heavy half shells without damage to the seals application of the correct torque to the bolts 360 . Figure 3. its use on offshore pipelines is limited.
Example of defect classification system used by British Gas (from Ref 1).Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 2. 361 .
they have only recently been generally adopted. However. corrosion. The shells are usually the same thickness and grade as the damaged pipe and are at least one diameter longer than the damage. Repair of pipeline damage with epoxy grouted shells is not new. including cracking. For offshore pipelines. The grout may be 362 . Examples of welded and flanged epoxy repairs are shown in Figures 5 and 6.2.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE A number of aids to achieving these requirements have been developed. The technique is suitable for repair of all types of damage. gouged dents and defective girth welds. For onshore pipelines companies prefer to regard mechanical clamps as a short term repair and aim to replace them with welded repairs or to replace the damaged pipe section when operational conditions allow. mechanical clamps may often be left in place as a semipermanent repair subject to regular inspection. The half shells may be joined together by a longitudinal seam weld (Figure 4). which enable more consistent performance from mechanical clamps to be obtained. due to the lack of satisfactory published performance data. gouges. Figure 3. and familiarity with welded shells.6 Epoxy grouted repair sleeves. such as clamp handling frames and torque indicating bolts. The ends of the annular gap can be sealed with a fast setting epoxy putty and the enclosed cavity is then filled with a high stiffness epoxy grout. or by fitting the abutting edges with flanges which may be bolted together. The epoxy filled shell repair comprises two half shells which are joined to encircle the damage leaving an annular gap of between 3 to 40mm. The technique avoids the need for welding on to live pipelines and fit-up problems are reduced compared to welded shell repairs. because of the costs involved in subsea intervention. 9. Bolted repair clamp (courtesy Plidco).
Figure 4. Welded repair shell (from Ref 2) 363 . and this is done for the more severe defects (Fig 7). Schematic of welded epoxy grouted repair shell (from Ref 2) Figure 5. in which case the repair works by transfer of the pipeline stress to the shell. or a low (less than 7 bar) pressure.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE injected at high pressure. Flanged repair shell (from Ref 2) Figure 6. in which case the main effect is to prevent bulging of the defective area. Some stress transfer to the shell may be obtained with the low pressure technique by carrying out the repair at reduced pipeline pressure (15-30% reduction).
Fatigue tests have shown that even defects which would fail on the first cycle in the unrepaired condition had acceptable fatigue lives after repair (2). Figure 7. it is believed that their use offshore has been restricted to strengthening of platform tubulars and to the reinforcement of riser pipes.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Experimental tests have shown that repairs are stronger than the pipe in static burst tests. Low pressure grouting procedure from (Ref 2). Although grouted repair shells have been used extensively for the repair of onshore pipelines. The use of epoxy repair shells subsea would be difficult and entail using a dry habitat so that the required high standards of pipe preparation could be achieved. even for repairs to defects which would have failed at 30% pipe yield strength without repair. 364 .
giving a total thickness of 12. 9. 365 . There is a concern that the composite strength and stiffness might diminish with time. applying adhesive between the layers to create an essentially monolithic sleeve around the pipe (Fig 10). but further work is ongoing to explore their long term behaviour(5). The Clock Spring repair is applicable to the repair of blunt defects such as general corrosion. Clock Spring Figure 9. Figure 8. Figure 8.7mm. Applying adhesive to Clock Spring The width of the Clock Spring is approximately 300mm and the number of layers wrapped around the pipe is typically about 8. The defective area is thoroughly cleaned and the metal loss region is filled with a compound to allow load transfer to the spring to be achieved. and partly by polyester resin adhesive placed between the layers.2. so that it is not suitable for the repair of circumferential damage such as defective girth welds.7 Clock Spring Repair The Clock Spring repair is a multi layer pre-formed fibreglass bandage which is wound around the pipe and held in place partly by its own 'springiness' (like a spring in a watch or clock). Composite Clock Spring repairs have performed very well in short term burst tests. although it is claimed that Clock Springs removed after 2-7 years exposure time show no significant loss of mechanical performance or chemical breakdown(4). One disadvantage of the technique is that it provides very little end load resistance. Longer defects can be repaired by the use of multiple adjacent Clock Springs. The repair is suitable for pipe diameters from 100mm to 1400mm. Offshore applications of clock spring repairs have been for topside piping and riser strengthening.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 9. and only a small clearance is required around the pipe to install it. Whilst the filler compound is still pliable the composite is installed by wrapping the flexible layers of composite over the defect.
wet laminates. Example of clock spring repair on land pipeline. The systems are supplied as tape 25 to 200mm wide which is wrapped around the pipe under hand tension to build up several layers. Wet laminates are applied by painting the pipe and reinforcing material with an epoxy or vinyl ester resin and wrapping the pipe. Stop It. Trial repairs to pipes and tees underwater have been undertaken and are continuing (7).2. or Super Wrap are claimed to work on leaking pipe and can be used for chemicals. but repairs using carbon fibre reinforcement have been used to seal leaks up to 200bar. Devonport Royal Dockyard have developed a repair system called the RIFT process (Resin Infusion under Flexible Tooling) and it is claimed that the repairs produced by this process can be inspected using ultrasonic techniques because of the low void content. oil. and gas. 366 . Some systems can be used underwater and use a water initiated curing system. Leak sealing capabilities of the repairs depend on the pressure and pipe diameter. based on epoxy or polyurethane resins. A third technique is to apply a dry pre-formed carbon fibre fabric which is then injected with resin so that it cures in-situ.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 10. The partially cured spiral wraps such as Technowrap. 9. Alternate layers of chopped strand and woven wroving may be used.8 Alternative Composite Repair Systems Although the Clock Spring is perhaps the most well known composite pipe repair technique. or dry fabrics which are then loaded with resin(6). Leaks must first be sealed with putty or a rubber patch. there are other techniques using composites which usually involve either applying partially cured wraps.
at least in part.9 Welded patches and half shells.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 9. Comparison of welded repair fittings 367 . Figure 11. and since the longitudinal direction on a pipe sees twice the stress of the circumferential direction. Their main disadvantage is that they involve fillet welds which are orientated. Figure 11.2. are difficult to inspect thoroughly. their use is not permitted by many offshore pipeline operators. However. Fillet welded patches and half shells are simpler to install than full encirclement shells or hot tap tees. there is a danger that they would constitute a potential source of problems. along the length of the pipe. Since fillet welds have poor fatigue properties.
368 . However. Although the full encirclement repair shells are nominally classed as snug fit shells.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Although some local welded repairs to subsea pipelines have been carried out by wet welding or welding using a local habitat around the welding torch. The problem can be overcome by making sure that when the seam welds cool the shell does not clamp the pipeline.10 Welded full encirclement shells and hot tap fittings. work has shown that if the fit is too good then defect stress may increase due to the ovality in the shell created when the longitudinal seam welds cool and contract (Fig 12). the gap between the shell and the pipe should not be too great otherwise the risk of weld cracking when the circumferential fillet welds are made increases. since they are thinner and normally made from rolled plate. Figure 12. For this reason the additional extra cost of installation of a full encirclement shell compared to a half shell or a patch is probably not very significant. and have better weldability than forged repair fittings such as mechanical clamps. Full encirclement shells are lighter.2. Pipe bending stresses due to pipe and shell ovality and weld shrinkage (from Ref 1). for high integrity there is a need to install a hyperbaric chamber around the pipe and this operation is very expensive. 9.
the potential for the general use of this technique is not very great. therefore. since it is expensive and leaves fittings welded to the sleeve which make wrapping it with protective tapes difficult. 369 . The annulus should only be pressurised. for offshore pipelines the same arguments would apply as those previously discussed for patches and half shells. in the case of extreme damage. (8). Although sleeve repairs to offshore pipelines could be carried out by wet welding.11 Local weld deposition repair Weld deposition repair of localised defects. when it is essential to do so. the highest quality repair would be achieved by installing the sleeve inside a hyperbaric weld chamber. lying between the depth of corrosion which may be dressed and left intact without further repair (up to 40% of wall thickness in some cases) and the minimum remaining ligament for safe welding (usually about 5mm) which must remain after the corrosion has been dressed.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE The shell thickness is normally chosen to be twice the carrier pipe thickness.2. 9. Although such a technique is useful to have available for special situations. This is important. Pressurising the annulus by under pressure drilling of the shell and the pipeline to allow gas pressure to equalise on each side of the damage will reduce the stress on the defect. so that the fillet weld leg length is at least twice the wall thickness. particularly where an Engineering Critical Assessment may not require an immediate repair but further corrosion may be anticipated due to the location or geometry of the pipeline. One example is to prevent the propagation of defects which are longer than the critical length for rupture. In order to produce a technically acceptable repair the weld deposition operation would have to be carried out in a hyperbaric chamber and the extra cost of using a full encirclement fitting would not be very great. on a live pipeline is an operation which needs to be carried out with great care and little published research is available. the technique has been used on a number of occasions for onshore pipelines. the fillet weld throat can be stressed to near yield if the pipeline is operating at 72%SMYS. This is because the defect depth window for application of the technique is rather small. because if the annulus between the pipe and the shell is pressurised. Also the technique is not economically attractive for the recovery of large areas of pipe surface because of the welding times involved. (Fig 13). Usually this option is only undertaken rarely. However. In these cases a welded or epoxy grouted shell repair would be more suitable. Recently the technique has been incorporated into the AGA pipeline repair codes. Also. such as corrosion.
or to use expensive habitats in the case of subsea pipelines.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 13. This problem can be very serious in old pipelines and has led to the need for complete pipeline replacement in some cases (9). Similarly internal welding machines have been constructed to weld tubular tethers for floating platforms (11). Figure 14 (12) . The weld deposition repair method discussed above is suitable for the repair of external defects. There has. The difficulty in using such technology to carry out remote repairs is the problem of transmitting sufficient power to the repair equipment to allow the welding process to operate. One of the oldest mechanised welding systems for pipeline construction. therefore. followed by gas metal arc (GMAW) 370 . Consequently. the only ‘remote’ internal repairs of this type have been carried out in onshore pipelines by tethered vehicles which are supplied with power via an umbilical from a suitable access point in the pipeline. Schematic of weld deposition repair ‘window’. requires access to the external surface of the pipeline. such as corrosion and. been an interest in equipment which will carry out remote internal repair welding of pipelines without the need to excavate the pipeline. the CRC Evans process. Some pipeline corrosion problems are internal. The technology to carry out welding inside a pipe has existed for many years. such as the preferential corrosion of weld root beads in wet gas or oil pipelines or process pipework. At first sight it would seem possible to combine such technology with a specialised pig which could carry out internal repairs to de-commissioned. which employs internal grinding of the weld preparation. offshore pipelines. The system. uses an internal pipe alignment clamp containing GMAW welding heads which deposit the root bead from inside the pipe (10). of course. The Japan Gas Association reported the development of an internal welding robot system for 600mm diameter pipelines which was designed to produce an internal weld root reinforcement for old pipelines with partial penetration girth welds. but not excavated.
371 .5D bends in the pipeline but is limited to a maximum distance of 150m from the access point. Figure 14.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE welding controlled by video monitoring. Schematic of girth weld internal repair welding procedure (from Ref 12) Figure 15. Schematic of remote repair robot (from Ref 12) Although there have been proposals to develop similar equipment for the internal repair of offshore pipelines the high development costs and logistical difficulties of deploying such a device offshore have prevented any progress in this direction. Figure 15. can negotiate 1.
It is then possible to install a bypass pipe between the valves attached to these tees. Figure 17. which involves leaving a large number of expensive fittings permanently attached to the pipeline. If the pipeline is designed for sour service then the welding procedure for attaching the fittings to the pipeline must be designed to ensure that NACE hardness limits are met (13). This can be carried out without disrupting the supply through the pipeline by a technique known as a ‘stopple and bypass’ operation. Figure 16. Figure 18 although the tapping operation can be carried out in the wet by divers. such as the welded sleeve. The stopple fittings have to be welded to the pipeline inside a hyperbaric chamber.12 Cut out pipe section and replace – welded spool piece If the corrosion or damage in the pipeline is too severe to allow a local repair. is very time consuming and expensive and hence the importance of regular inspection programs to help avoid the need for such repairs. A pair of split tee pieces are welded to the pipeline either side of the damaged section of the pipeline and under-pressure drilling equipment attached to the outer two tees is used to penetrate the pipe wall (‘hot tapping’). Schematic of stopple and bypass operation 372 .Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 9. It also possible to obtain combined stopple and bypass tees so that the number of large diameter tees which need to be welded to the line is halved. then the damaged section may have to be replaced. The number of such bypass operations for subsea pipeline repair was only estimated at three in total in 1990(15) Figure 16. The inner two tees are then drilled in a similar manner and stopple plugs are inserted into the pipeline to stop the flow in the damaged section. Obviously such a major operation.2. After purging the product from the isolated section it can then be removed and replaced with a new section. Figure 19(14).
Welding tee to subsea pipeline inside hyperbaric chamber(14) 373 . Combined Stopple and Bypass Tee. (courtesy T D Williamson).Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 17. Figure 18.
2. 9.(14) 9.2. such as mechanical locking slips which grip the pipe outer surface to contain the axial loads. The bore of the coupling may have grooves into which the pipe material is deformed in order to give greater pull out resistance. 9. The long term performance of elastomeric seals may be questionable and the seal material has to be chosen carefully for the anticipated service environment.2 Forging systems One cold forging system uses an internal forging tool which expands the pipe bore by means of rollers so that the pipe yields circumferentially and makes intimate contact with the bore of the coupling.mechanical connectors An alternative to the expensive hyperbaric welding operations involved in the conventional replacement of damaged pipe sections is the option to use in-line mechanical connectors to tie-in the new pipe section.1 Elastomer systems These systems use elastomer seals (which may be bolt activated) to contain the internal pressure and usually a separate system.2. those which use metal to metal seals initiated by deformation of the pipe/coupling..13.13 Cut out pipe section and replace . Mechanical connectors can be of several types : • • • those which use elastomer seals.13.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 16. Some systems also rely on grout injection behind the seals as an additional precaution. After forging the 374 . Tapping a subsea pipeline. those which use metal to metal seals initiated by bolts or studs.
so allowing the dam to sink into the channel which had been formed. The former will be necessary to access the damaged area and the latter may be required to investigate the pipeline damage and to ensure sealing of any temporary clamps.3 Metal seals Another mechanical coupling system uses an expandable steel bladder which is inflated inside the coupling to grip the pipe by means of hydraulic pressure or a chemical action. after which they are placed over the ends of the pipe to be joined and allowed to warm up.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE pipe yields plastically by about 2% and the coupling is in a state of elastic tensile hoop stress. However. Couplings made from the memory alloy ‘Tinel’ can be expanded by immersing them in liquid nitrogen. 9. 9.1 Pipeline excavation Excavation of the damaged pipeline can be problematic in unstable seabed conditions and a coffer dam may need to be constructed around the pipeline to prevent the excavation from being re-filled and to provide protection from tidal currents during the repair.13. care must be taken to ensure that these connectors do not pose an obstacle to pigging operations. and sealing glands in the bore of the coupling grip the pipe. so maintaining metal to metal contact. Figure 20. BG plc developed a self-burying coffer dam to keep on standby for emergency repairs to its Rough Field and Morecambe Bay pipelines. The water jets fluidised the seabed. which was then pumped away by jet pumps. A flanged coupling is attached to each end of the damaged pipeline and then a flanged spool piece is fabricated topside to go between the two flanges. various articulated ball joint connectors and sliding joints are available. 375 .2. also built into the wall of the dam. This used a series of water jets built into the base of the dam which were fed from a ring main at the top of the dam. At this stage they contract. Figure 21.3 ANCILLIARY REPAIR EQUIPMENT Two of the first problems that may be encountered when carrying out an emergency repair to a subsea pipeline are excavation of the pipeline and the removal of any damaged concrete weight coating in the area of interest.3. A further form of metal/metal seal is the use of heat shrinkable alloy couplings. 9. In order to accommodate any misalignment in the two pipe ends and to ease the difficulty in fabricating the spool piece exactly to length.
Prototype self burying coffer dam (from Ref 3) 376 .Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 20. Figure 21. Use of coffer dam for subsea excavation (from Ref 3).
Then concrete is cut into two semi-cylindrical shells which are removed from the pipe with a second machine. The mechanised system consists of a saddle frame which straddles the damaged area of pipe and is held in place by chain tensioners. Although this can be done manually by divers.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE For more difficult clay seabeds a rotary clay cutting device was also developed which uses water jet cutters to break up the clay. 377 . Figure 22. A diver operated hydraulically driven diamond tipped saw is mounted on the frame and can cut in both the longitudinal and circumferential directions. This equipment can be mounted on a seabed crawler to manoeuvre it over the seabed. Prototype clay cutting equipment (from Ref 3) 9.3.2 Concrete weight coating removal Once the pipeline has been excavated the concrete weight coating must be removed. the debris again being removed by jet suction. Figure 22. Figure 23. with less risk of damage to the pipe. and both the concrete and the reinforcing can be removed with underwater disc cutters or high pressure water jetting. a mechanised system has been developed by BGplc and this allows greater control of the operation. The weight coating is reinforced with steel reinforcing bars.
Figure 5 Schematic of concrete coating removal equipment (from Ref 3). depending on the visibility. Schematic of concrete coating slitting equipment (from Ref 3). but in this case four rams are arranged to grip the two half shells of concrete and prise them apart in order to remove them without damaging the pipe. The second machine consists of another saddle frame held in place by chains. Figure 24.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE Figure 23. 378 . Experience with the equipment suggests that 2m long sections of concrete can be removed from the pipe in four to six hours.
Pressure sensors were used to monitor pressures in the various parts of the plug so that any leakage in the high or low pressure parts of the plug could be detected. The plug was tested at 70 bar and successfully deployed for operation at 35 bar. such as equipment availability. area to be removed.3. 9. Hydroplug flow stopping pig – schematic(17) 379 .Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE The optimum solution for concrete weight coating removal will depend on a combination of factors. Remotely deployed plugs rely on battery power and computer control to allow them to be deployed several kilometres down a pipeline. A two stage (low pressure and high pressure differential) plug was designed which was over 4 metres long. with signals relayed to the surface control vessel. An alternative is to use flow stopping plugs and these can either be directly or remotely operated. Figure 6.3 Flow stopping pigs The replacement of pipe sections using conventional stopple and bypass methods is very expensive. Because of the need to use umbilicals these types of flow stopping pig can only operate at a distance of a few hundred metres from the access point. A recent example of the use of such a plug was to carry out a subsea tie-in on the Phillips 34inch Ekofisk oil pipeline while the pressure in the line was 35 bar(17). Figure 6. Communication with the plug was via the pipe wall using magnetic modulation techniques from a skid unit placed on the pipe wall. and the location of the reinforcing bars through the concrete thickness. Directly operated plugs can be used to replace components such as valves and risers at the end of the pipeline and are operated by umbilicals passing through pressure seals(16).
September 1993 3. Maintenance and Repair of Pipeline Systems Pipeline Indusries Guild/Institute of Gas Engineers Joint Meeting. 1994. A WEST. 10. Killingworth. 6. 16. I CORDER. 15. J F KIEFNER. Newcastle upon Tyne 24-25March 1999. 12. D R STEPHENS Composite Reinforcement of Pipeline Corrosion Defects . 9 September 1987.4 REFERENCES 1. JAPAN GAS ASSOCIATION ‘Internal Welding Robot System for 600mm Steel Pipelines’ Berlin 18th World Gas Conference 1990 13. N BLOCK Rehabilitation of Corroded Pipelines : Strength Restored with Composites Rehabilitation : Piping and Infrastructure Conference. J A FARQUE Remotely Operated Hydroplug Keeps Vital Pipeline Online Pipeline & Gas Journal 44-47. R STARSMORE Hot Tapping on a Subsea Pipeline Welding and Metal Fabrication 136-139 April 1995. 11.ANON ‘Innovative EWI Hot tap welding procedure helps BP’ EWI Insights. 18-21 April. UK.R L JONES ‘CRC Automatic Pipeline Welding’ Pipeline Industries Guild Journal 67. 5. P HOPKINS ‘The Repair of Pipeline Defects Using Epoxy Filled Sleeve Repair’ AGA 8th Symposium on Line Pipe Research. 26-29. ANON ‘New techniques for Heidrun’ Highland Fabricator’s house magazine March 1994. 2. 7-13. Cambridge. R WILLIAMS Subsea Hot Tapping : A Review of Applicable Codes and Standards. P S HILL Strengthening and Repair of Pipes and Structures using Carbon Fibre Reinforced Composite Materials Piping and Infrastructure Conference.Main Menu PIPELINE ENGINEERING: MATERIALS & WELDING MODULE: OFFSHORE 9. Newcastle upon Tyne 24-25March 1999. P A C MEDLICOTT Overview of Composite Offshore Repair Systems Rehabilitation : Piping and Infrastructure Conference. W A BRUCE. 9. J NAYLOR New Pipeline Isolation Systems Benefit Maintenance and Servicing of On-Shore and Offshore Lines Pipes and Pipelines International. May 1992. February 1999. 17. 380 . C J LONDON ‘The Forties Export Pipeline Project’ Pipes and Pipelines International May-June 1991. England. 14. W PALLAN ‘Pipeline Maintenance and Repair’ Pipeline Industries Guild Meeting. 1979. JulyAugust 1977. 17-18. Pipelines for Marginal Field Studies 280-281 1990. 7. December 31. Newcastle upon Tyne 2425March 1999. 8.G HUTT. 5-18. AND D R STEPHENS ‘Pipeline Repair Manual’ American Gas Association Catalog No L51716. L M JOHNSON. 4. Ambergate 14th September 1994.: New Anomalies’ EPRG/PRC 10th Biennial Joint Technical Meeting on Linepipe Research.
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