Proceedings of the Ninth (1999) International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference Brest, France, May 30-June 4, 1999

Copyright © 1999 by The International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers ISBN 1-880653-39-7 (Set); ISBN 1-880653-41-9 (Vol. II); ISSN 1098-6189 (Set)

Complex Assessment of Natural Conditions for Offshore Pipeline Route Optimization
Sergey Alekseev and Alexander Dobrotvorsky State Navigation & Hydrographic Institute (GosNINGI), St. Petersburg, Russia Alexey Serebryakov North Transgas Oy, Espoo, Finland Elena Stavrova Giprospetsgas, St. Petersburg, Russia

On this paper the present-day technology of the analysis of archived data on the natural conditions for the preliminary choice of underwater pipeline routes is considered. Its essential disadvantages are shown. The new mathematical model of initial data processing which enables a more accurate quantitative evaluation of pipeline routes to be obtained, is suggested. This allows to reduce the risks during the design stage and to minimize the full-scale tests cost. Example of calculations is given.

It is difficult to overestimate how important is adequate assessment of natural conditions in the a r e a - survey costs are known to exceed expenses on office research by many times. Besides, careful assessment of available information enables us to avoid making certain mistakes in design related to peculiarities of seabed geomorphol0gy, canyon dynamics, and vertical and horizontal seabed deformation caused by waves, sea currents, river currents, etc. This is to note that experience of offshore pipeline operation across the world has shown that the majority of accidents leading to heavy environmental consequences and financial losses were caused by natural phenomena of various intensity. During the last 17 years, there were six major pipeline accidents in the North Sea, while 72% of all damages were related to pipeline scouring by seabed currents and consequential failure. TECHNOLOGY OF OFFICE INVESTIGATIONS

KEY WORDS: projecting, underwater pipeline, environmental conditions, line selection.

INTRODUCTION In accordance with current regulations and established engineering practice, preliminary offshore pipeline design includes investigation of available literature and survey materials (VSN 51.2-84, 1985). Major objectives of the investigations include: • preliminary offshore pipeline route selection • determination of scope of offshore survey of the selected routes. The major subjects under investigation in most cases include: • geotechnical conditions in the area • cartographic and bathymetric information available • hydrometeorological conditions • lithodynamic processes • environmental aspects and others issues In some particular cases such investigations are accompanied bysimulation of particular processes. The data obtained are then analyzed for most efficient utilization of information already at our disposal, with particular attention to project feasibility and safety of offshore pipeline operation.

Modem assessment methods use natural conditions classification charts (the area may be regarded as <<favorable>>, <tcomplicated,, <<unfavorable,, etc.) based on predicted impact of particular factors on offshore pipeline operation safety (Arefjev et al, 1997). All further discussion is given using the example of optimization of offshore pipeline route in the Gulf of Finland, taken as an illustration; the optimization was carried out at the feasibility studies stage specially in order to choose the route for the full-scale investigations within the North Transgas Oy company work. Here is (Office Analysis, 1998) overview of information on prospective North European Gas Transmission Route (from state, branch and special sources). Offshore survey in the Baltic Sea was performed in the course of several federal, industrial and international programs, including the International Environmental Patrol. There is sufficient information to assess geologic structure of pre-Quaternary rock and Quaternary sediments, lithology of surface deposits, seabed topology, composition and geotechnical properties of upper layers, crumbly sediments. Data of complex geologic survey are sufficient for general geotechnical assessment of Quaternary sediments down to the depth of 5-10m,

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