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Proceedings of the 6th International Oshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics Conference:

Confronting New Challenges and Sharing Knowledge, 1113 September 2007, London, UK

CONTROLLING CONDUCTOR DEVIATION WITH


INCLINED DRIVING SHOE
Engueran Tisseau, Christophe Jaeck and David Cathie
Cathie Associates, Belgium

Abstract
Closely spaced conductor piles are sometimes deviated away from the group to reduce the risk of interaction, using an inclined driving shoe.
The theory developed by Poskitt1 for modelling the deviation of bent conductors or piles during driving
has been extended to conductor piles with an inclined driving shoe. Variables include the axial tip and
side resistance of the pile, the lateral soil resistance, and the length and inclination of the driving shoe.
Parametric results are presented to illustrate the sensitivity of the results to input parameters. A comparison between the theory and the actual deviation of a conductor pile with a driving shoe conrms
the reasonable agreement between theory and practice.

1. Introduction
The conductor pipes of oshore wellhead platforms are often installed closed together. In order to reduce the risk of
interaction, the peripheral conductor piles can be deviated
away from the group. One method that can be used is to
provide an inclined driving shoe, thus creating a tendency
for the pile to deviate in a particular direction. By adjusting
the length and inclination of the driving shoe, the lateral
deviation of a conductor pile can be controlled.
In some cases it is important to know the path of the conductor pile. As deviations may not be small, conventional beamcolumn theory is not applicable and a more general theory
must be used. Poskitt1 has developed a method to compute
the path of a bent pile during driving. From this theory it is
possible to develop a method applicable to conductor piles
with inclined driving shoe. The parameters acting on the deviation of the pile are the axial tip and side resistance of the
pile, the lateral soil resistance, and the length and inclination
of the driving shoe. In order to understand the inuence of
these parameters, a sensitivity analysis was performed. Then,
the developed method was for a real case, where the deviation
was measured, to check the relevance of the model.

Figure 1a corresponds to the forces acting on a perfectly


straight pile if the soil is homogeneous. In practice, the piles
are never perfectly straight, so lateral and moment forces
appear at the tip of the pile deviating the pile away from the
vertical (Figure 1b).

2.1 Fundamental equations


From Kirchos equations, Poskitt shows that a small curved
element of pile of length, ds, is governed by the following
equations (see Section 6 for notation denitions):

(1)
These fundamental relationships lead to the following
equation

2. Poskitt Method
Poskitt has described an incremental method to determine
the path of a non-straight pile during driving. This method
is based on nite dierences and is applied to a pile with
constant initial curvature. The path of a pile is function of
the tip resistance, the shaft friction and the normal pressure. The forces acting on the pile are shown in Figure 1.

(2)
with the boundary conditions as follows

(3)

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Tisseau, Jaeck and Cathie. Controlling Conductor Deviation with Inclined Driving Shoe

points satisfy equation 2. Replacing the dierential derivatives with their nite dierence equivalents, equation 28
from Poskitts work is obtained.
The top and the toe of the pile (j = 0 and j = r) are governed
by the boundary conditions (equation 3). Written in nite
dierences, it becomes equation 4.

(4)
Assuming that -1 = 1, a system of r equations with r unknowns (1 to r) is obtained.
Figure 1: Pile forces (a) perfectly straight pile and (b) pile
with initial curvature

Figure 2: Incremental path: (a) addition of a new increment;


(b) application of the forces; (c) iterative calculation of the displacements and (d) addition of a second increment and calculation of the new shape of the pile

2.2 Incremental method


The pressure normal to the pile, p, depends on the path followed by the pile. So the solution must be computed in an
incremental manner starting from when the pile rst enters
the soil. A pile increment is vertically added (Figure 2a), the
forces are then applied (Figure 2b) and the displacements
calculated iteratively (Figure 2c). Then, a new straight increment is added following the tangent of the curve at the
last point of the pile (dashed line in Figure 2d). The loads
are applied again and the
Figure 3:
displacements calculated
Finite dierence scheme
(solid line in Figure 2d).
The method is repeated
until reaching the desired
penetration.

2.3 Numerical solution


Using the equations given
in Section 2.1 and nite
dierences at each grid
points, a non-linear system of equations can be
derived, governing the
path of the pile. Figure 3
shows a pile after adding
r increments. The results
at all the internal grid

The values pj (normal pressure at grid point j) depend upon


the displacements normal to the pile. Therefore, the vertical
and lateral displacements, xj and yj, are calculated using the
trapezoidal rule, as in equation 5.

(5)
The Newton-Raphson method can be used to solve the
problem and determine = (1, ... , r). Let A(n) be the
matrix formed with the gradient vectors of the system of
equations (partial derivation relative to [1, ... , r]). A(n) is
the Jacobean matrix of the system (taking into account the
second and higher products and the pj gradients). The iteration routine of Newton-Raphson is given in equation 6.
(6)
where (n + 1) and (n) indicate the (n + 1)th and nth iterates,
respectively, and e(n) is the residual vector obtained by substituting (n) into the equations.

3. Adaptation of Poskitts Method to a Pile


with a Bent Shoe
3.1 Methodology
The Poskitt method can be adapted to a pile with a shoe by
calculating the forces applied by the soil on the shoe. The
pile is divided into two parts: the body pile and the shoe (as
shown in Figure 4a). These two parts are supposed to have
a negligible internal curvature angle.
The forces on the shoe are the normal pressure, which is
determined from a simplied model of p-y curves, the axial
Figure 4: Modelling of the pile with bent shoe: (a) pile elements; (b) forces acting on the shoe and (c) simplied model

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Proceedings of the 6th International Oshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics Conference:
Confronting New Challenges and Sharing Knowledge, 1113 September 2007, London, UK
tip resistance and the shaft resistance, as shown in Figure
4b. The normal pressure induces a bending moment at the
elbow point in the direction of the shoe. The tip resistance
and the shaft resistance induce an upward axial force and a
radial force which causes bending in the opposite direction
to the normal force. Once these forces and the soil forces
acting on the body of the pile are determined, the path of
the pile can be solved using the forces as boundary conditions in the original method, as shown in Figure 4c.
The forces acting on the pile can be written as in equation 7
(using the same notations as for equation 1).

(7)
The subscript elb applies to the elbow between straight pile
section and bent shoe. Lshoe is the length of the bent shoe.
The incremental solution is then implemented in a Visual
Basic for Application (VBA) spreadsheet.

3.2 Calculation of the forces


The p-y, t-z and Q-z curves are needed to solve the problem
and are drawn from the soil prole using American Petroleum
Institute (API) RP2A2. For all analyses performed, the unit
shaft resistance value, t, and the axial tip resistance, Pr, were
taken as the ultimate values. To simplify the problem, the
p-y curves were modelled assuming a linear elastic-perfectly
plastic relationship, as shown in Figure 5.
The pu value is the ultimate pressure. The slope of the linear
part is taken as the tangent of the p-y curve at very small displacements and is called the subgrade modulus K (= pu/yu).

3.3 Sensitivity analysis in a homogeneous soil composed


of clay
A sensitivity analysis has been performed on an 80m long, 26in
OD x 1.25in WT conductor pile, with a typical bent shoe
1.5m long and 0.75 inclined. The soil is taken as clay with an
undrained shear strength, su, varying with depth: su = 0.25*v
(with v being the eective vertical overburden pressure).
A factor 0.5 is applied on the interface undrained shear
strength in order to derive the unit shaft resistance: fs = 0.5*su;
this is considered a high estimate parameter, particularly
for continuous driving in sti normally consolidated clay.
Reference can be made to typical methods for assessing the
soil resistance to driving of tubular piles, e.g. Stevens et al.3
Figure 5: Modelling of the p-y curves

The unit end bearing is taken as nine times the cohesion and
the pile is supposed to be plugged. To remain conservative
(large lateral soil resistance induces large pile deviation), a
high subgrade modulus is selected with the ultimate value
reached for a displacement yu of 550D (50 is the strain at
one-half the maximum deviator stress on laboratory undrained compression tests of undisturbed soil samples). For
comparison, Matlock4 suggests a larger value yu of 2050D.
The sensitivity of the results to the pile increment length are
rst analysed to determine the optimum length, for which
accurate results are calculated but within a reasonable calculation time. The calculated pile deviation for the base case
(bent shoe 1.5m long and 0.75 inclined) are presented in
Table 1 for three pile increment values. The results show
that an increment length of 1.6m is small enough to obtain
acceptable solutions.
The sensitivity of the pile deviation to the following parameters has then been analysed:
Lateral subgrade modulus
Axial tip resistance Pr
Length of bent shoe Lshoe
Inclination of bent shoe elb.
3.3.1 Eect of soil resistance (lateral subgrade modulus
and axial tip resistance)
The eects of the subgrade modulus and the axial tip resistance on the deviation of the pile are presented in Tables 2
and 3, respectively. The eect of both parameters is also
illustrated on Figure 6.
Table 1: Eect of increment length: 26in OD x 1.25in WT pile,
80m penetration (bent shoe 1.5m long and 0.75 inclined)
Increment
Length (m)

Segment
Number

Pile Tip
Angle of
Deviation (m) Deviation ()

2.5

32

1.07

0.77

1.6

50

1.15

0.83

1.0

80

1.17

0.84

Table 2: Eect of lateral subgrade modulus, K,


26in OD x 1.25in WT pile, 80m penetration
(bent shoe 1.5m long and 0.75 inclined)
Subgrade
Modulus, K

Pile Tip Deviation Angle of Deviation


(m)
()

Kref/2

0.56

0.40

Kref

1.15

0.83

2*Kref

2.22

1.59

Table 3: Eect of axial tip resistance, Pr, 26in OD x 1.25in WT


pile, 80m penetration (bent shoe 1.5m long and 0.75 inclined)
Axial Tip
Resistance, Pr

Pile Tip Deviation Angle of Deviation


(m)
()

Pr,ref/2

1.18

0.84

Pr,ref

1.15

0.83

2* Pr,ref

1.11

0.79

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Figure 6: Eect of the subgrade modulus and the axial tip resistance on pile deviation

Figure 7: Eect of shoe geometry on the deviation of the pile

The lateral subgrade modulus has a large inuence on the


pile deviation. For the case studied, the calculated angle of
deviation is 0.4 for half the reference subgrade modulus,
but is increased to 1.6 for twice the subgrade modulus. The
pile deviation is increased by a factor of 4.

3.3.2 Eect of shoe geometry (inclination and length)


The eect of the inclination and length of the bent shoe
on the deviation of the pile is presented in Tables 4 and 5,
respectively. The eect of both parameters is also illustrated
in Figure 7.

On the contrary, the value of the axial tip resistance has


a limited impact on the results, as shown in Table 3 and
Figure 6. Therefore, for clay conditions, considering either
coring or plugged behaviour during driving should have a
limited eect on the pile deviation.

The deviation of the pile is signicantly inuenced by the


length of the bent shoe. For a short shoe (0.5m long), almost no deviation is calculated for the considered inclination at the elbow (i.e. 0.75). But increasing the length of
the shoe from 1.5 to 3m leads to a deviation at pile tip
multiplied by a factor 8 (from less than 1 to nearly 7).

Table 4: Eect of inclination of shoe, elb:


26in OD x 1.25in WT pile, 80m penetration (bent shoe 1.5m
long, reference soil resistances, Kref and Pr,ref)
Shoe Inclination,
elb ()

Pile Tip Deviation Angle of Deviation


(m)
()

0.25

0.38

0.28

0.50

0.77

0.55

0.75

1.15

0.83

1.00

1.54

1.10

1.50

2.21

1.58

2.00

2.47

1.77

3.00

2.62

1.88

4.00

2.62

1.88

5.00

2.59

1.86

10.00

2.31

1.66

As shown on Figure 7, the pile deviation versus bent shoe


inclination curves can be subdivided into three parts: rst
the deviation increases with the value of the inclination at
the elbow; then the deviation reaches a plateau; and nally
the pile tip deviation slowly decreases with increasing inclination of the bent shoe.
Figure 8: Initial and computed deviated shapes of a
30in OD x 1in WT conductor pipe (oshore Nigeria)

Table 5: Eect of length of bent shoe, Lshoe:


26in OD x 1.25in WT pile, 80m penetration (bent shoe 0.75
inclined, reference soil resistances, Kref and Pr,ref)
Length of Bent
Shoe (m)

Pile Tip Deviation Angle of Deviation


(m)
()

0.5

0.01

0.01

1.5

1.15

0.83

9.17

6.61

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Proceedings of the 6th International Oshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics Conference:
Confronting New Challenges and Sharing Knowledge, 1113 September 2007, London, UK
For small inclination values, the force generated by the normal soil pressure on the shoe increases more quickly than the
radial force applied at the elbow, Felb, which is inuenced by
the axial tip resistance and the shaft friction on the shoe.

The two values are in reasonable agreement with a dierence of less than 3m of deviation and of 2.8 in terms of
angle of deviation. The computed shape of the deviated pile
is plotted in Figure 8.

When the angle becomes more important, the normal


soil pressures on the shoe reach their maximum value, pu.
Therefore, the two opposite forces (normal pressures on the
shoe and radial force applied at the elbow) tend to progressively counterbalance each other. This corresponds to the
second part of the curves.

5. Conclusions and Recommendations

For large shoe inclination values, the radial force applied at


the elbow continues to increase while the normal pressures
applied on the shoe remain constant (having reached the
ultimate value).

4. Comparison with Real Installation Case


At a well-head platform located oshore Nigeria, 30in OD
x 1in WT conductor pipes with a bent shoe 1.5m long and
0.75 inclination were driven to a depth of 75m. The soil
conditions at this location are summarised in Table 6. For
one of the driven conductor pipes, the inclination of the
pile tip at nal penetration was measured and found to be
9 at a deviation of approximately 11.7m.
The computed solution is presented in Table 7 together with
the measured deviation. The subgrade modulus, which is the
most critical soil parameter, is assessed using the simplied
model of p-y curves described in Section 3.2. The ultimate
values are calculated in agreement with API RP2A2. In clays,
the ultimate lateral resistance is reached for a displacement yu
of 550D (as indicated in Section 3.3). In sands, the stiness
at small displacement is considered for the linear elastic part
of the p-y curves.
Table 6: Location of well-head platform oshore Nigeria: soil
stratigraphy

This paper has presented a simplied methodology to assess


the pile tip deviation during driving of conductor piles with
an inclined driving shoe. Such conductor piles are sometimes considered to reduce the risk of interaction between
closely spaced conductor piles.
The incremental solution developed by Poskitt[1] for modelling the deviation of bent conductors or piles during driving, as briey described in Section 2, is extended to conductor piles with an inclined driving shoe (see Section 3.2). The
required variables include the axial tip and side resistance of
the pile, the lateral soil resistance, and the length and inclination of the driving shoe. The incremental solution is then
implemented in a VBA spreadsheet.
A parametric study is conducted to illustrate the sensitivity of
the results to the input parameters. The results of this study
are presented in Section 3.3 and show that the most sensitive
soil parameter is the lateral soil resistance, while the axial tip
resistance has a small eect on the pile deviation in clay.
A comparison between the theory and the actual deviation
of a 30in OD x 1in WT conductor pile with a driving shoe
(wellhead platform installed oshore Nigeria) conrms
the reasonable agreement between theory and practice (see
Section 4).

6. Notation
fs

unit shaft friction

length of a pile increment

normal force per unit length of pile

Depth
(m)

Description

distance along pile axis

0.007.10

Very soft clay (su = 1 to 8kPa)

tangential force per unit length of pile

7.1015.60

Medium dense sand

x, y

coordinates (x = vertical; y = lateral)

15.6030.50

Firm to sti clay (su = 50 to 130kPa)

elastic modulus of the pile

30.5040.00

Loose sand

shear force

40.0060.50

Dense to very dense sand

60.5069.70

Medium dense sand

moment of inertia of the pile

69.7078.00

Very sti clay (su = 200kPa)

lateral subgrade modulus

embedded length of pile

Lshoe

length of the pile shoe

bending moment

axial force in pile

radius of curvature of pile

R0

initial radius of curvature of pile

su

shear strength

angle between tangent to the pile and the vertical

elb

angle of the shoe with the body part of the pile

eective overburden stress

Table 7: Measured and calculated CP tip deviation:


30in OD x 1in WT pile, 75m depth (bent shoe 1.5m long and
0.75 inclined)
Penetration
(m)

Pile Tip
Angle of
Deviation (m) Deviation ()

Measured
Onsite

~74.1

~11.7

Computed
Solution

74.5

14.5

9.0
11.8

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Tisseau, Jaeck and Cathie. Controlling Conductor Deviation with Inclined Driving Shoe

References
1. Poskitt TJ. (1996). The deection of piles during driving.
Gotechnique 46(2), 235243.

3. Stevens RS, Wiltsie EA and Turton TH. (1982). Evaluating pile


driveability for hard clay, very dense sand, and rock. OTC 4205,
Proc. Oshore Technology Conference, Houston, USA, 465481.

2. American Petroleum Institute (API). (2000). Recommended practice for planning, designing and constructing xed oshore platforms,
21st edition (RP2A). Washington, DC: API.

4. Matlock H. (1970). Correlation for design of laterally loaded


piles in soft clay. OTC 1204, . Oshore Tech. Conf., Houston,
USA. Preprints, Vol. 1, 557588.

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