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Proceedings of the 2012 9th International Pipeline Conference IPC2012 September 24-28, 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada



Yoshiyuki Matsuhiro Sumitomo Metal Pipeline and Piping, Ltd. Osaka,Japan Noritake Oguchi Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. Tokyo,Japan Toshio Kurumura Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. Chiba,Japan

Masahiko Hamada Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. Hyogo,Japan

Nobuaki Takahashi Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. Ibaraki,Japan

Atsushi Shirahama Sumitomo Metal Pipeline and Piping, Ltd. Ibaraki,Japan

ABSTRACT The construction of the first L555(X80) pipeline in Japan was completed in autumn, 2011.In this paper, the overview of the design consideration of the line, technical points for linepipe material and for girth welds are presented. In recent years the use of high strength linepipe has substantially reduced the cost of pipeline installation for the transportation of natural gas. The grades up to L555(X80) have been used worldwide and higher ones, L690(X100) and L830(X120), e.g., are being studied intensively. In the areas with possible ground movement, the active seismic regions, e.g., pipeline is designed to tolerate the anticipated deformation in longitudinal direction. In Japan, where seismic events including liquefaction are not infrequent, the codes for pipeline are generally for the grades up to L450(X65). Tokyo Gas Co. had extensively investigated technical issues for L555(X80) in the region described above and performed many experiments including full-scale burst test, full-scale bending test, FE analysis on the girth weld,etc.,when the company concluded the said grade as applicable and decided project-specific requirements for linepipe material and for girth weld. Sumitomo Metals, in charge of pipe manufacturing, to fulfill these requirements, especially the requirement of roundhouse type stress-strain (S-S) curve to be maintained after being heated by coating operation, which is critical to avoid the concentration of longitudinal deformation, developed and applied specially designed chemical composition and optimized TMCP(Thermo-Machanical Control Process) and supplied linepipe(24OD,14.5~18.9mmWT) with sufficient quality. It

had also developed and supplied induction bends needed with the same grade. Girth welds were conducted by Sumitomo Metal Pipeline and Piping, Ltd and mechanized GMAW(Gas Metal Arc Welding) was selected to achieve the special requirements, i.e., the strength of weld metal to completely overmatch the pipe avoiding the concentration of longitudinal strain to the girth weld, and the hardness to be max.300HV10 avoiding HSC(Hydrogen Stress Cracking) on this portion. Both of RT (Radiographic Test) and UT (Ultrasonic Test) were carried out to all the girth welds. These were by JIS (Japan Industrial Standards) and the project-specific requirements. INTRODUCTION Recently, higher grade linepipes are increasingly used for gas pipelines in the world to reduce the construction cost. High grade material such as L555(X80) has been investigated in Japan as well. However, considering the fact that Japan is a highly earthquake-prone country, and that high-pressure gas pipelines are unavoidably installed in urban areas, linepipe for pipelines in Japan must have extremely high safety and seismic performance over and above the general requirements. Specifically, the requirements include the prescribed linepipe strength, the strength of girth welds, NDI specifications for onsite girth-welded sections, and more. Each of these must exceed the requirements of API standard. This paper presents the specifications based on the design concept for the gas pipeline mentioned above, the technologies for manufacturing steel linepipe to satisfy the requirements, girth welding techniques and the outline of construction of the line.

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DESIGN Allowable Stress In Japan extremely strict standards are legally established for high pressure gas pipelines because they are often constructed in urban areas. As these standards are automatically applied to current pipeline of grade L555(X80), the allowable circumferential stress under the maximum operating pressure is limited to 222 N/mm2 (=40%SMYS (Specified Minimam Yield Strength)). This means the design factor is 0.4 or less, and the pipeline is believed as safe against failures Seismic-Proof Performance Pipelines laid underground would be deformed at the time of an earthquake due to lateral flow caused by liquefaction and ground movement. Of the several types of deformation, buckling requires particular attention. It is known that a longitudinal round-house type S-S curve of the pipe is useful for anti-buckling performance. This fact can be confirmed by the FE analysis results[1]. If the strength requirements for L555(X80) is based only on API standards, which include no requirement on longitudinal strength, pipe material may have yield plateau type S-S curve in this direction and when bended, the pipe will buckle at a low bending angle. When the pipe has a round-house type S-S in this direction, it will endure substantially larger bending angle before buckling. The results means that L555(X80) linepipe fulfilling only API requirements will not show sufficient anti-buckling performance. The specifications for the linepipe to be used for the current project are based on these considerations, and include longitudinal strength requirements in addition to the API standards and numerical specifications to make the longitudinal S-S curve a round-house type. As these requirements are for the completed pipelines, the type of S-S curve is specified to that obtained after the thermal cycle of the external coating process. Girth Welding As the width of girth welds are extremely narrow compared with the pipelines length, strain concentration caused by tensile load due to ground movement must be prevented. In addition, high safety requirements are imposed because the pipeline is constructed in urban areas. Taking these requirements into account, concentration of strain must be prevented in all girth welds for every length of linepipe. In order to achieve this, the strength of weld metal to be used must completely overmatch the linepipe. That is to say, the lower limit of the tensile strength of weld metal must exceed the specified upper limit of the longitudinal tensile strength of the pipe. However, simply increasing the strength of the weld metal should be avoided, and factors such as hydrogen embrittlement must be considered when determining the upper limit of the weld metal hardness. Even if the strength requirements are macroscopically satisfied, concentration of strain may occur if the girth weld has

internal flaws. High level of NDI requirements are introduced in order to eliminate this problem. Nondestructive inspections using RT and (A)UT were performed at every girth weld of the pipeline, fulfilling the much stricter requirements than API1104. PIPE MANUFACTURING The specifications which need special mention among those described in the previous section relate to the longitudinal round-house type S-S curve (after the coating process). Explained below are the basic investigations and the manufacturing process for meeting this requirement. Round-House Type S-S Curve Usually, S-S curves of UOE steel pipes for pipeline use, made of steel plates manufactured through controlled rolling, are the round-house type as cold strain is added in the pipe making process and there is a density of mobile dislocations. The external surface of linepipe is usually coated in order to prevent corrosion. This coating process involves heating the pipe at 150 to 250 for about 5 minutes. During this process, the mobile dislocations are either reduced or fixed, and as a result, the S-S curve of the linepipe changes to that with a yield plateau. In order to have the linepipe maintain the round-house type S-S curve after being heated, it must retain a sufficient density of mobile dislocations. The following two approaches are considered to achieve this: 1) Generate a large amount of mobile dislocations in the asrolled condition. 2) Suppress interstitial solute elements, free nitrogen in particular. It is known that a hard structure called MA(Martensite and Austenite Constituent) is generated within thick steel plates when they undergo a continuous cooling process. MA has a high carbon content, and can be used to increase the mobile dislocation density in the linepipe plate in its as-rolled condition. When MA is generated, a large amount of mobile dislocations are formed around it, which then work as the initial mobile dislocations and contribute to the forming of round-house type S-S curves. In order to increase MA structures within high-strength steel plates, it is important to optimize the TMCP conditions, particularly to control the slab reheating temperature and the temperature at which the accelerated cooling is stopped. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the outcomes of basic investigations of these approaches[2]. Figure 1 shows the correlation of the MA content with uniform elongation and Y/T ratio. As the MA content increases, the uniform elongation increases, the Y/T ratio decreases, both of which increase deformability of the material. Figure 2 shows the finding that as the slab reheating temperature is lowered, the MA content increases and the steel acquires a compound structure. Figure 3 shows microstructures of rolled plates with different accelerated cooling stop temperatures. MA content increases as the stopping

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temperature shifts toward the lower end. To increase the MA content, it is important to (1) enrich carbon in and (2) to cool the carbon-enriched to the temperature of MA formation. Adding an optimal dose of titanium suppresses free nitrogen. In order for titanium to completely consume free nitrogen, the Ti/N ratio has to be 3.4 or greater based on their atomic weight ratio. Figure 4 shows the influence of various Ti/N ratios[3]. A round-house type S-S curve can be maintained even after the heating in the coating process if the Ti/N ratio is 3.4 or greater.

Fig. 2 Microstructures of different reheating temperatures in steel plate for high grade linepipe revealed by nital(above) and Le Pera etching(below) ([2]Igari et al(2011),)

Fig. 1 Relation between deformability (Y/T ratio and Uniform Elongation) and area fraction of MA ([2]Igari et al(2011),)

Fig. 3 Microstructures of different ACC stop temperatures in steel plate for high grade linepipe revealed by nital(above) and Le Pera etching(below) ([2]Igari et al(2011),)

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Fig. 5 Schematic illustration of steel making process

Slab Slab reheat (batch or continuous) descaling rolling accelerated cooling

Fig. 6 Schematic illustration of plate making process

Fig. 4 Effect of Ti/N ratio of steel on S-S curves after heating in the coating process ([3]Minato et al(2008),)

Manufacturing Process Steel pipes were manufactured in Sumitomo Metal Industries Kashima Steel Works, based on the outcomes of the basic investigations outlined in the previous section. The manufacturing processes are shown in Figures 5, 6 and 7. The accelerated cooling equipment incorporated in the steel plate rolling facilities shown in Figure 6 is currently replaced by DAC-n which has substantially enhanced cooling performance and control capability (Figure 8), enabling the large and efficient production of steel pipes to the identical specification in this paper.

Fig. 7 Schematic illustration of pipe making process

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foreseen. Figure 10 shows the microstructure of the base material and Figure 11, a macrostructure of cross section of a seam weld. Table 2 24-L555(X80) pipe assortment used

Wall thickness (mm) 14.5 15.3 17.6 18.9

Pipe Straight pipe, Induction bend Straight pipe, Induction bend Straight pipe Straight pipe, Induction bend

Fig. 8 New accelerated cooling equipment DAC-n

Nominal stress (MPa)

A typical chemical composition of the steel is shown in Table 1, where the Ti/N ratio has been controlled. For steel plate manufacturing, the temperature at which the accelerated cooling is stopped was set to the room temperature, and the MA content was increased to the optimum level to secure mobile dislocations. Additionally, a low temperature coating at 160C was adopted to ensure the stability of the round-house profile. Table 1 Typical chemical compositions of L555
C 0.06 Si 0.15 Mn 1.79

Pcm 0.19

Other several alloys, minimized impurities

900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 5 10 15 Nominal strain (%)

The steel pipes shown in Table 2 were manufactured and used in the current pipeline construction, and the range in thickness is between 14.5 mm and 18.9 mm, for both of straight pipes and induction bends. Sampled manufacturing data are shown for actually fabricated 24-X80 steel pipe with 14.5 mm thickness. Figure 9 shows a longitudinal S-S curve after being heated in the coating process, showing that the round-house profile is perfectly maintained. Table 3 shows a typical example of the pipes longitudinal strength, which changes from 0.5% yield strength, 1.0% yield strength to tensile strength, increasingly. The round-house profile is also confirmed by these figures. The absolute value of elongation is 24% (round bar specimen), which is quite satisfactory, and YR is as low as nearly 80%, showing this to be a good material with extremely high deformability. Table 4 shows the results of the Charpy impact test and the DWTT(Drop Weight Tear Test), which show that the material is extremely safe to use in the actual application environment under real operating conditions. The Charpy impact energy, for instance, maintained the 200 J level equally at the pipe body, weld and HAZ section. This value is more than twice of what is required to stop an unstable ductile fracture under an internal pressure of 74%SMYS, which is approximately 100 J. The safety margin is far higher than that required for the linepipe to be used in the current pipeline project, where the allowable stress is set at 40%SMYS. Table 5 shows hardness data, indicating a level where no problems are

Fig. 9 Typical S-S curve in longitudinal direction of L555 used (after coating ,14.5mm wall thickness) Table 3

Typical tensile properties in longitudinal direction

EL (%) 24.3 YS/A (%) 90.8 YS/TS (%) 80.4

TS YS(N/mm ) A(N/mm2) (0.5% total elongation) (1.0% total elongation) (N/mm2) 602 663 749

Table 4 Typical mechanical properties : Charpy test, DWTT(0)

Absorbed energy Ave.(J) 239 215 260 Shear fracture area Ave.(%) 100 100 98 100

Charpy test(Pipe body) Charpy test(Weld metal) Charpy test(HAZ) DWTT

Table 5

Vickers hardness of pipe (HV10)

Base metal 227237

HAZ 202227

Weld metal 231265

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Fig. 10 Microstructure of the base material

2)employment of mechanized GMAW with high repeatability of weld quality 3) using a narrow-angle groove so that the heat input to each layer becomes uniform (reduction in the hardness range of individual welding metals: from normal 3040HV10 to 30HV10 or less) 4) using a wide-angle groove to enhance NDI quality As 3) and 4) disagree with each other, the optimum choice of 30V groove was determined after investigation. The girth welding technique was developed in the following order; 1) selection of candidate materials from commercially available welding consumables, 2) fine adjustment of chemical composition of weld metal through adjustment of the shield-gas mixture ratio using the selected welding material, and securing the mechanical characteristics, and 3) confirmation, in parallel, of NDI quality.
Strict requirement from NDI specification
Both are to be fulfilled

Allowable strength range to girth weld(narrow) upper limit by maximam hardness lower limit by minimum strength

TS distribution of pipe (L-direction)

Fig. 11 Macrostructure of cross section of the seam weld. GIRTH WELDING As mentioned earlier, a complete overmatching is required for girth welds. The average longitudinal tensile strength of the base material is approximately 750 N/mm2 as indicated in Table 3. This means that the strength of the weld metal must be targeted at around 825 N/mm2 for a 10% or greater overmatching. In terms of hardness, it turns out that 260HV10 or more is roughly required through the thickness by converting the level of the tensile strength to hardness. However, the hardness of a weld often varies, and it is not unusual that the variation is as much as 3040HV10. As a result, the maximum hardness may significantly exceed 300HV10, which is not desirable, if the weld metal strength greatly surpasses 825 N/mm2 in the condition where no particular control is exerted over the welding method. In other words, the allowable range of girth weld strength is extremely narrow or even a pinpoint. Furthermore, the NDI specifications set for welds are of an extremely high standard. This means welding of an exceptionally high technical level is needed to satisfy the performance requirements of joints and to meet the NDI specifications at the same time. Figure 12 schematically depicts this difficulty. Concepts of girth welding that satisfy the specifications mentioned so far include: 1) selection of welding consumables of a correct strength level


Strength (Hardness)

Fig. 12 Schematic illustration of the allowable strength range to girth weld metal in comparison with pipe body strength Selection of Welding Consumables First, 6 commercially available welding consumables meeting AWS A 5.28 ER100S-G or ER 110S-G were selected for candidates (shown in Table 6) , and weldability test were conducted using a 13.2 mm thick steel plate with the same composition as L555(X80) steel pipe. GMAW was conducted with an average heat input of 8.7 to 11.1 kJ/cm to form a multilayer weld (5 layers) and was performed in two welding positions, i.e., flat position(ASME 1G) and vertical downwards position(ASME 3G). Based on the primary assessment of the maximum hardness of the weld metal and facilitation of the welding process (adherence and fluidity of slag), mark A of LowC-MidMn-LowNi-Mo_add. was selected.

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Table 6

Selection of the welding consumables

a : good
Result Slag removability b c c c c c

b : acceptable
Weldability of root pass b c c c c c

c : bad
Selection after the primary assessment Selected

Welding consumables
Standard Mark ER100S-G A B C D E F Composition LowC-MidMn-LowNi-Mo LowC-LowMn-MidNi-Cr,Mo LowC-LowMn-MidNi-Mo LowC-LowMn-HighNi-Cr,Mo LowC-LowMn-MidNi-Cr,Mo LowC-MidMn-MidNi-Mo Hardness a a a b b c


YS, TS(N/mm2)

Mechanical Properties and NDI Qualities of Joints Full-scale basic investigations using GMAW were conducted on 24 X80 steel pipes, using type A welding consumable conforming to ER100S-G, in pipe fixed horizontal position(ASME 5G). Table 7 shows the welding conditions, including steel pipe material, welding consumable, groove profile, multiple pass layers, heat input, and shielding gas mixture ratio. Figures 13 and 14 show the hardness and tensile strength obtained. The average and maximum hardness of the root pass(first-layer) weld, where the hardness increases most, is shown in the figures. The tensile strength was obtained by testing a 6 mm diameter round bar specimen taken along the circumferential direction of the girth weld. The welds hardness and strength reduce as the mixture ratio of CO2 increases in the shielding gas. Figure 15 shows the number of porosities in a girth weld joint, as detected by RT, which will be more fully described later. A strong correlation with the shielding gas composition was observed as well. The number of porosities clearly decreased with increasing CO2 in the shielding gas. No defects were found through AUT(discussed later). The most desirable results in terms of the external appearance of the bead (undercut, smoothness) and the amount of spatter were achieved at 20%CO2. They gradually deteriorated as the CO2 increased. Based on these results, and also considering the performance of the joints, NDI quality and facilitation of the welding process, a welding procedure with a 30 groove and Ar-40%CO2 shielding, using type A welding consumable was decided for adoption. Table 7 Welding conditions of basic investigation
L555(X80) 24OD 15.3mmWT GMAW 5G Standard V-Groove(30V) 67Layers AWS A5.28 ER100S-G (mark A) Ar - 20, 30, 40, 50%CO2 8.610.3kJ/cm

330 Hardness of root pass weld metal (HV10) 320 310 300 290 280 270 260 250 10 20 30 40 50 CO2 mixture ratio to Ar (%) 60

Fig. 13 Relationship between CO2 mixture ratio of shielding gas and weld metal hardness(root pass)




Round Bar Specimen


Pipe Process Welding Position Groove Design Pass Sequence Welding Consumables Shielding Gas Heat Input



650 10 20 30 40 50 CO2 mixture ratio to Ar (%) 60

Fig. 14 Effect of CO2 mixture ratio onYS and TS of weld metal

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25 Number of porosities of 1 joint (0.6mm and larger)

Oxygen concentration of weld metal







0 10 20

CO2 mixture ratio to Ar (%)
30 40 50 60


30% 40% CO2 mixture ratio (%)



Fig. 16 Influence of CO2 mixture ratio to oxygen concentration of girth weld metal

Fig. 15 Effect of reduction on porosities by CO2 mixture ratio Consideration of the Influence of Shielding Gas Composition The effect of the shielding gas composition on the weld metals strength and hardness obtained from the basic investigation is shown in Figures 16 through 18, and in Table 8. The oxygen concentration in the weld metal increases as the proportion of CO2 increases (Figure 16), and Mn, Si and Ti, which are solid-solution hardeners, decrease as the proportion of CO2 increases(Table 8). It is also clear that the area ratio of grain boundary ferrite in the weld metal structure increases with increasing CO2 (Figures 17 and 18). These observations indicate that the strength (hardness) of the weld metal can be finely adjusted by changing the proportion of CO2 in the shielding gas through the following influences: Changes in the proportion of CO2 changes in oxygen concentration of the weld metal 1) changes in the yield of solid-solution hardeners, such as Si, Mn and Ti changes in the strength (hardness) 2)changes in the oxygen ratio in micro-oxides changes in the compatibility between ferrite (bainite) and microoxides changes in the microstructural precipitation state changes in the strength (hardness) Table 8 Chemical compositions of weld metal (wt%)

Ar - 50%CO2

Ar - 40%CO2

Ar - 30%CO2

Ar - 20%CO2

Fig. 17

Microstructure of weld metal of various mixture ratio of CO2 to shielding gas


Area ratio of grain boundary ferrite (%)



CO2 mixture ratio O(ppm) Si 327 0.53 50% 294 0.56 40% 279 0.57 30% 20% 227 0.61

Mn 1.72 1.79 1.82 1.88

Ti 0.035 0.036 0.038 0.043



0.00 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
CO2 mixture ratio (%)

Fig. 18 Effect of CO2 mixture ratio to amount of grain boundary ferrite in girth weld metal

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Mechanical Properties of Girth Weld Tables 9 through 11 and Figure 19 show typical data for the developed welding procedure and for the joints obtained. Repair welding was performed using GTAW(Gas Tungsten Arc Welding). Table 9 Summary of GMAW procedure
Pipe Process Welding Position

Table 10 Typical mechanical properties of girth weld metal : Strength, Hardness

Strength of weld metal Ave.(N/mm )

Hardness (HV10) Weld metal 242291 HAZ 215235

YS (0.5% total elongation)


TS 842

API 5L L555(X80) 24in.OD 14.518.9mmWT GMAW 5G

t = 14.5 18.9

Fig. 19 Macrosection of girth weld

Cu backing

(To be removed after finish welding) Joint Preparation Run Sequence AWS A5.28 ER100S-G (mark A)0.9mm Welding Consumables Ar60 CO24060min Shielding Gas 8.510.5kJ/cm Heat Input

Table 11 Typical mechanical properties of girth weld metal :Charpy V-notch test (0)

Weld metal HAZ

Absorbed energy Ave. (J) 114122 234265

Shear fracture area Ave. (%) 95 100

CONSTRUCTION Figure 20 shows the construction site of the pipeline, which has a total length of approximately 20.5 km and is located in the outskirts of Tokyo. The pipeline is installed under roads, as usual in Japan.


Fig. 20 Location of the first L555(X80) pipeline in Japan (the thicker red line)

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Figures 21 through 24 show the construction work. First, as indicated in Figure 21, the asphalt paving is broken up and removed, and a trench is dug in the cleared area. Then a crane places pipes in the trench one by one (Figure 22) and girth weld is conducted individually in the trench (underground). Then NDI is conducted, followed by coating and backfilling. Figure 23 shows the welding operation, and Figure 24 shows AUT performance. For NDI, RT and (A)UT are performed on each and every joint weld. RT is based on Japanese Industrial Standards. The inspection standards are extremely strict. For RT, the allowable number of porosity is from several to 10-odd pores per joint, as detected with the film capable of producing a clearly identifiable image of a wire 0.32 mm in diameter. For

(A)UT, the detection sensitivity is set higher than API1104 by around 12 dB, while the allowable length of linear indication is about a third to a quarter of that in API1104. These stringent inspection requirements mean that the girth welds of the pipeline are virtually free from defects. Cold bend steel pipes were also used in the construction. They are ordinarily cold-bended on site. However, in light of the importance of their quality, they are fabricated (coldbended) in accordance with the projects specific requirements in a specialized factory under thorough supervision. Figure 25 shows their fabrication and on-site installation.

Fig. 21 Trench digging under the road

Fig. 22

24L555(X80) pipe placing to trench

Fig. 23

Girth welding (GMAW)

Fig. 24

Automatic ultrasonic testing (AUT)


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(a) Fabrication (cold-bending) Fig. 25 Cold bend steel pipe SUMMARY Extreme care was exercised during the review of the safety design, technical development and manufacture of the steel linepipes, including the optimization of the girth welding technique. This has enabled us to construct, for the first time in Japan, a high-pressure gas pipeline of grade L555(X80) with built-in seismic durability.

(b) Installation into the trench

REFERENCES [1] Shitamoto H., Hamada M., Okaguchi S., Takahashi N., Takeuchi I., Fujita S(2010),Evaluation of Compressive Strain Limit of X80 SAW pipes for resistance to ground movement Proc of the 20th Int Offshore and Polar Eng Conf, ISOPE-2010-TPC-1075 [2] Igari H., Nakamura H., Okaguchi S(2011),Metallurgical Design and Microstructure for High Deformability of X100 Linepipe Steel Proc of the 21st Int Offshore and Polar Eng Conf, ISOPE,Hawaii, USA, pp569-574 [3] Minato I., takahashi N., Yamamoto A(2008), PATENT in Japan, P2008-77985


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