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OTC 23586

Design and Installation of Submarine Pipelines and Risers against Severe


Underscouring
Atul N. Waghode, Avinash S. Darekar and Sachin J. Samant, Aker Solutions, Mumbai, India

Copyright 2012, Offshore Technology Conference


This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 30 April3 May 2012.
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright.

Abstract
A pipeline laid directly on the seafloor experiences boundary layer effects of waves and current-dominated flows close to the
seabed in shallow and intermediate waters. Type of seabed soil plays a vital role in changing as-installed condition of pipeline
throughout its lifespan. Hydrocarbon fields located in the immediate vicinity of shores on the west coast of the Indian
peninsula experience some of the worlds most severe seabed currents. The seabed soil in these offshore regions is primarily
fine loose sand with great potential for liquefaction. Due to a combination of strong underwater currents and moving soil
sediments, the seabed is considerably mobile and poses a great challenge to pipeline engineers in designing subsea facilities
that can withstand underwater scouring. The remedial measures for scour protection have a vital role in the feasibility of a
project if the field is marginal. It also affects the installation schedule to a greater extent considering a vey narrow weather
window. This paper details the methodology used for optimum design and safe installation of a subsea pipeline-riser system
along with permanent scour protection supports with minimal impact on installation costs and project completion schedule.
Project Overview
Exploratory efforts carried out in the field have resulted in a gas discovery in prospect A in the block. The field is
comparatively marginal producing 2.4 million standard cubic meters per day of gas containing more than 98% methane with
no CO2 and H2S. The field development involves installation of 2 unmanned wellhead platforms located in water depths of
25m and associated submarine pipelines. Gas from these platforms will be gathered on an existing wellhead platform by 18
rigid pipelines. For hook-up of this pipeline major modification works have also been planned at the existing platform which is
located at a distance of 30km from the coastal town of Suvali. The gathered gas will be transferred to an onshore processing
facility via an existing 24 submarine pipeline. The operator planned to develop the field on a fast track with the target of start
of commercial production by the last quarter of 2011.
Geographical Location
The hydrocarbon field is located in the Gulf of Khambhat, (also called the Gulf of Cambay) about 250 km North West from
the city of Mumbai, India and around 35-40 kms from the shoreline. As shown in Figure 1 Gulf of Khambhat is trumpetshaped gulf of the Arabian Sea, indenting northward the coast of Gujarat state in western India, between the city of Mumbai
and the Kathiawad region of Gujarat. The gulf is 200km wide at its mouth between Diu and Daman, but rapidly narrows to
25km. It receives many rivers, including the Sabarmati and Narmada (Ref. 1) in the same region. In the subtropical regions of
the Indian subcontinent the direction of the wind is from South West during the monsoon season lasting from June to
September. The shape of the Gulf of Khambhat and its orientation contributes to a high tidal range in order of 12m and a high
velocity of entering tides. At low tide, the bottom is left dry for a few kilometers away from the coast. Shoals and sandbanks
are treacherous to navigation, and all the gulf ports near the Gulf of Khambhat have suffered from silting caused by tides and
flood torrents from the rivers. The field is well known for its harsh environment and very few installation contractors
participated in the bidding process anticipating difficulties to be faced during installation.

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Figure 1: Geographical Location of Gulf of Khambhat


Environmental Conditions
At the offshore locations near the Gulf of Khambhat, there is a dry, cooler season from December to February and a dry hot
season from March until May. The South-West monsoon brings wet, windy and humid weather from June to September which
is slightly cooler than the hot seasons. Tropical cyclones sometimes occur in the Gulf of Khambhat but the probability of
occurrence is much less than on the east coast of India. The gulf experienced two major cyclones, one in June 1998 and
another in May 1999.
During South-West monsoons near gale force winds occur over the Arabian Sea. Near the Gulf of Khambhat as waves travel
towards the coast they are subject to shallow water processes such as shoaling, refraction and bottom friction. Extreme waves
are most likely to approach the platform from between South and South-West locations. Topography of the seabed near the
proposed platform location is such that it consists of broadly parallel banks which are dry at several places at low tide and
encourage wave breaking even when under water. For 1-year extreme wave case with a wind speed of 13.5m/s, the significant
wave height in the South of Gulf of Khambhat is around 6m with a peak spectral period of 10 seconds. For 100-years extreme
condition with a wind speed of 30m/s, the significant wave height is 8m with a peak spectral period of 12 seconds.
The tides in the Gulf of Khambhat are semi-diurnal i.e. two high and two low tides a day. It exhibits considerable variations in
tidal ranges and the datum used to present heights. The chart datum varies considerably in the estuarine regions and therefore,
the tidal heights are measured relative to lowest astronomical tide (LAT) to maintain consistency. LAT is referred to the chart
datum (CD) which can be reached without seabed drying. The highest astronomical tide is 9.3m above CD measured for 100years extreme weather conditions. Sustained calculated wind speed of 30m/s generates a surge of up to 3.0m. Current speed
and orientation varies considerably over short distances due to the nature of the shoreline, seabed, topographical features like
channels, islands etc. For extreme conditions, the surface currents in the Gulf of Khambhat have been reported as high as 4.4
m/s (8 knots) in the monsoon season and other periods (monthly). The mean spring tidal current is estimated to be around 3.2
m/s (6 knots).

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Geological Features
A pre-engineering survey was carried out for the proposed platform locations and along the route of two 18 rigid pipelines
pre-monsoon and post-monsoon. The survey procedure consists of bathymetric, shallow seismic high resolution profiling and
side scan sonar surveys. The surveyed area indicates highly undulating and mobile seabed topography. Significant scouring/
erosion and deposition are observed over the general area especially when the post-monsoon survey bathymetry is compared
with the pre-monsoon survey bathymetry. The wellhead platforms are found to be located on a relatively even seabed. There
are some topography shelves up to 3m indicating a scarp like feature in the vicinity of one of the wellhead platforms. Both the
pipeline routes pass over highly undulating seabed from a depth of 10m to 40m exhibiting valley-like features at frequent
locations. These ripple marks are also clearly identified in side sonar records.
In the vicinity of the proposed platform locations up to a depth of 20m, sand has high carbonate content of over 50% and falls
in the category of siliceous carbonates. Presence of varying silt content though low, is also observed in the sandy zone. Below
20 m depth, highly plastic clay is observed with undrained shear strength of 65kPa. Particle size of the sand is fine to medium
and relative density is loose to medium dense as depth of penetration increases. Along both the pipeline routes, the layer up to
first 5m below the mudline is found to consist of silty fine loose sand. Between certain kilometer points (KP) along the route,
the top soil layer is found to be siltstone with fine sand and coarse gravel with shell fragments. Vibrocore soil samples are
collected at an interval of 1km along the proposed route. Being loose sandy soil, very few soil samples were recoverable by the
survey vessel for testing onshore in the laboratory. An important lesson learnt was that sufficient and correct geotechnical data
is crucial to the accurate and optimized design of facilities in a field like this.
Generally, liquefaction of sandy soil may occur due to build up of pore water pressures when subjected to cyclic loading or
seismic activity. Loose fine sands are most susceptible to liquefaction. After the investigation of available soil samples, it was
found that liquefaction is not expected for soil with high silt content. However, the quantification of liquefaction risk was
difficult due to limited information on soil density, non-homogeneous nature of soil and cyclic loading data pertinent to this
field.
Pipeline Route Selection and Optimization
The gas field is virgin terrain with no presence of any type of subsea development in the past. The field has not been surveyed
in the past for bathymetry, soil investigation and magnetic anomalies. The sole information available about the topography is
based on the British Admiralty Chart No. 1486 (Ref. 1). Considering the nature of the seabed which may change every year
after the monsoon season, it was challenging to select pipeline route survey corridors. During the pre-engineering survey
carried out by the installation contractor, it was found that topography has not changed considerably, compared to that given in
British Admiralty Chart No. 1486.
The overall field layout is presented in Figure 2 focusing more on the effect of topography on route selection. Platforms A and
B are proposed unmanned wellhead platforms to be installed as part of this field development. Well fluid from Platform A will
be transported to Platform B via 18 rigid pipeline. Combined well fluid from A and B will again be transported to gas
gathering Platform E via an 18 rigid pipeline. Platform A and Platform B are minimum facilities platforms with separators
and knock-out drums for oil-gas-water separation.
The simplest route connecting the platforms B and E is straight in West-East direction since both the platform locations are on
same latitude with the pipeline length of 12km. The main consideration with this route is the bank which lies east of Platform
B as shown in Figure 2. No route could be found directly across the bank from the available survey data. This shortest route
from proposed wellhead Platform B to existing wellhead Platform E would have to cross over these sand bars for about 2km.
To negotiate the bank it is necessary for the route to run south and then turn east after skirting the southern tip of the bank.
Pipeline route from North side of platforms was not considered as that area has the well array and was reserved for approach
by drilling rigs.

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Figure 2: Overall Field Layout with Proposed Pipeline Routes (For Survey Purpose)
To alleviate this situation, pipeline approaches/departures at Platform B are altered with a major change in pipeline route
thereby increasing the pipeline length by 6km. The approach angle into Platform E is suitable for a stalk-on riser installation.
The route stays within water deep enough for pipelaying partly to minimise environmental effects. The route is parallel to the
west contours of the bank over the first 8 km. It allows for optimization of the water depth to suit the environmental conditions
which have critical wave and currents approaching from South and South West directions. Bathymetry along the proposed
pipeline routes, as a finding of the pre-engineering survey, is presented in Figure 3. The colour coding of contours is such that
variations in water depth from shallow to deep are indicated by colours changing from red to green.

Figure 3: Bathymetry along the Surveyed Pipeline Route after Pre-engineering Survey

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Pipeline On-bottom Stability


A stable pipeline does not displace beyond the smallest permissible value against combined effects of wave induced velocity
and seabed currents. As mentioned by Ryan et al. (2011) (Ref. 2), three types of interactions namely; fluid-pipe, pipe-soil and
fluid-soil affect on-bottom stability of submarine pipelines. Pipeline stability is a major challenge in the Gulf of Khambhat due
to the wicked combination of shallow waters, strong seabed currents and undulating mobile seabed with fine loose sand. A
errant design against pipe stabilization could be a major cost driver contributing to around 30% of capital expenditure over the
project as reported by Brown et al. (2002) (Ref. 3).
The traditional method to achieve pipeline stability is to apply sufficient amount of concrete weight coating (CWC), thereby
increasing its submerged weight. In terms of CWC thickness, there is a practical lower and upper limit. For an example for an
18 pipe, the minimum thickness is 30 mm and the maximum thickness is about 100 mm due to installation vessel tension
capacity. In case, the CWC thickness is impractical, wall thickness of the linepipe is recommended to be increased causing
significant impact on the capital expenditure. Besides this, increasing wall thickness is not found to be helpful in most cases.
Submarine pipelines in the present field development are designed as per the guidelines of DNV 1981 (Ref. 4) which allows
no lateral displacement of pipeline when exposed to environmental conditions associated with extreme return period. The
static stability approach is based on simple force balance with safety factor of 1.1 on the required submerged weight of the
pipeline. The analysis assumes a minimum depth of 10m to ensure stability during the installation phase. When evaluated with
this approach, the required CWC thickness is found to be well beyond the practical limit of 100mm for a pipe-soil friction
factor of 0.5. As a result, the pipelines are recommended to be installed in trenches with a minimum trench depth of around
1.2m to top of the pipe. For evaluating static stability of trenched pipelines the hydrodynamic coefficients are modified to the
values recommended by Wilkinson et al. (1988) to take into account the effect of sheltering (Ref. 5). The required CWC
thickness values are found to be 92mm for 1-year return period conditions. The pipelines are found to be laterally unstable
even in the trench for 100-years return environmental conditions and are further recommended to be buried during their
operating life.
Installation Constraints and Impact on Design
The surface currents in the area of the pipeline route have been reported as high as 4.0 m/s (8 knots) in the monsoon season
and other periods (monthly). However, the likely time of these high currents is known and the pipelay contractor will have to
plan around them. A typical flat bottomed S-lay pipelay barge can lay pipe in approximately 1.5 m/s (3 knots) current and
would normally lay down the pipe on the seabed and standby once this limit is reached. When the currents reach 2.5 m/s (5
knots) the barge will go into survival mode and change heading to try and reduce the effects of the currents. It should also be
noted that typical anchor handling tugs operating in that region can only work in currents up to 2m/s (4 knots). As a result,
there is a very narrow weather window available for installation of pipelines. Waves should not cause a problem during
pipeline installation as long as the pipeline is installed outside the monsoon season (mid-May, June, July, August and
September).
The suspended sand particulates in water result in a high level of turbidity near the seabed at all times. Due to the relatively
high seabed currents (up to 4 knots even outside the monsoon season) and reported poor visibility, any diving work will be at
the best inefficient and at worst potentially dangerous. In addition, the available weather windows for diving work are short
(hardly 1.5 hours a day) which will increase installation vessel time and therefore costs. In the absence of any metocean data at
the start of the field development, it was decided to pre-install rigid risers at new platforms within the jacket confinement and
connect them to pipeline by spools and flanges in a subsea tie-in. The limited available diver intervention time made this
strategy unfeasible and it was decided to install the risers in stalk-on fashion along with the pipeline after installation of the
jackets. It added a significant cost to the project since riser guard structural framing is required to protect the risers against
external impact.
The choice of trenching method i.e. pre-trenching and post-trenching has a significant impact on project cost. If post-trenching
is opted, the duration between pipeline installation and trenching operation becomes crtical as the pipeline, though concrete
coated, is self-stable only for a short duration. Due to undulating bathymetry in the field, pre-trenching was the only option
acceptable to the operator and no free span correction was permitted after installation. Any expected free spans were to be
corrected by pre-sweeping only. Post-lay pipeline trenching options like jetting and ploughing were completely discarded.
Additionally, in the basic engineering phase of the project carried out by the field operator, it was reported that it requires only
5-6 hours to fill a 10m wide trench with a slope of 1:3. The operator suggested to minimise the gap between pre-trenching and
pipe laying to maximum 2 days so that the trench does not fill up by shifting sand particles prior to pipe laying. Due to limited
availability of dredging equipment at the time of installation, the contractor was left with no choice but to dredge the proposed
pipeline route 2 weeks prior to start up of the pipe laying operation. Continuous monitoring and maintenance of the trench
using a smaller vessel was required during this period.

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Scour Protection
A pipeline resting on the seabed attains settlement primarily in three ways. During installation, vessel heave causes repeated
lift off of the pipeline near the touchdown point increasing the contact pressure on soil. Cyclical motion of the pipe back and
forth caused by wave and current hydrodynamic forces further enhances the initial embedment of pipe in soil. Gaps underneath
the pipe during installation over uneven seabed create non-uniform contact pressure. If initial settlement of pipe is not large
which generally happens with non-cohesive soils like sand, the pressure differential upstream and downstream of the pipe
under steady flow causes onset of scour. Even under moderate flow velocities, onset of scour is possible when there is a small
gap underneath the pipe when resting on top of ripple crests, or a gap due to erosion by strong upstream eddies. Depth of scour
underneath the pipe and length of free span caused by scouring depends on hydrodynamics in the field, soil strata and pipe.
As-laid conditions of pipe span change year to year with appearance of new spans.
As explained by Niedoroda et al. (1981) (Ref. 6), scouring around a subsea structure resting on seabed is caused by combined
flow dynamical behaviour around the structure and sediment transport of seabed soil particulates. Critical conditions for onset
of scour have been studied in detail by Sumer and Fredse (1991) (Ref. 7), Sumer et al. (2001) (Ref. 8) and others for waves,
currents and combinations of waves and currents. Myrhaug et al. (2009) suggested a methodology for estimating scour depth
below pipelines and around vertically mounted pile-like cylindrical structures for wave dominated flows. Local scouring of
soil underneath cylindrical shaped objects like pipes and pipelines have different implications. Local erosion surrounding
vertically mounted pile has detrimental effects on its fixity whereas the same phenomenon may be advantageous in a few cases
considering on-bottom stability of pipeline. Self burial of pipelines is generally caused by sagging of pipelines at span
shoulders, due to soil failure because of liquefaction of soil (specifically for sand) and shear failure at span shoulders (Ref. 8).
For cohesionless material like loose sand, the scour hole is formed on sides and upstream side of subsea structures like jackets,
manifolds or PLEM facing steady currents for considerably longer time in the same relative direction. Shapes of these scour
holes are largely dependent on the submerged angle of repose of the cohesive soil. In the present field development, it has been
anticipated that shifting sand may lead to large scouring around platform jackets. The minimum depth of scour around the
jacket legs/piles was estimated to be 3 to 4 times the diameter of the pile. All around the jacket, a general scour of 1m
extending to a distance of 30m from jacket perimeter at seabed is considered. From the feasibility studies of the project, it was
concluded that due to these excessive scouring around jacket bases, the spool after riser bottom bend would remain suspended
for distances considerably exceeding the maximum allowable free span length and a permanent protection support was
recommended. In the conceptual phase, the basic design proposed is as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Basic Scour Protection Support Design for Riser Bottom Spools

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Option 1 suggests supporting the riser bases with grout bags and covering the pipe from top with a cap grout bag to restrict its
lateral movement. The scheme was ruled out on the basis that the grout bags would not be stable on the loose fine sand and
may lead to sinkage in slurried bottom soil overstressing the riser bottom bend. In option 2, the riser base is supported on a
steel frame mounted on the seabed. To avoid damage to the pipe coating, a layer of grout bags is placed between the pipe and
the steel framing. When evaluated for structural integrity, it was found that the framing would not be stable laterally on the soft
soil sediments and may sink like option 1 or be overturned. Additionally, arrangements in both these options will attract more
scouring around their periphery by obstructing the flow of fine particulates suspended in water.
An option like the one designed and deployed successfully by Johnson (2003) (Ref. 9) in the Ceiba field development, West
Africa was taken into consideration. Floating Jack Stand, as the name suggests, is an automotive style vertical jack stand,
mounted on a mudmat. The support has a saddle with hinge to support the pipeline with adjustable heights. The mudmat is
designed with perimeter skirts having openings in the top plate for the escape of soil-water suspension mixture. The floating
jack stand was proven to be stable against sliding and overturning in depths of 650m in the Ceiba field in calm waters.
However, there were strong reservations about performance of such a system in a shallow field with harsh environmental
conditions like the one discussed here. The system would have attracted a considerable scour because of its geometry and size
leading to catastrophic failure of the foundation (e.g. settlement and loss of skin friction). The other point which went against
this option was stability and positioning of the structure during installation, considering very high tidal currents and weak soil
strata.
The solution used involves resting the hanging lengths of riser bottom spools on permanent monopile mounted supports. The
main advantage of such a support is that the scour spread is limited due to a single circular member. Also, the penetration of
the pile in soil, much deeper than estimated scour depth, ensures a morestable foundation.
The monopile is 32 inch diameter with an open circular section with 1wall thickness and 20m penetration into the sea bed
below mudline (Refer Figure 5). It has a horizontal flat plate on top, large enough to accommodate the installation tolerance
for the pipe to be laid after. Sacrificial anodes are mounted on the plate. Vertical curved guide plates are provided to restrict
inservice motion of the pipe beyond the permissible limits. Design loads on the monopile are obtained from the riser stress
analysis. Vertically downward load and lateral load are 20MT each. The scour support is modeled and analyzed in SACS
software (SACS 5.3 Engineering Dynamic Incorporation) as it has the ability to model the non-linear spring stiffness of soils.
The soil parameters giving curves for axial load vs. displacement and the lateral load vs. displacements are obtained from
available geotechnical report of the field. The effect of scour (scour depth calculated as given in subsequent section) is taken
into consideration by neglecting the soil support both axially and laterally up to the predicted scour depth in the analytical
model. Considering allowable free span lengths for riser spools, 2 monopile supports are provided for every riser bottom
spool. The first monopile support is provided at 15m from riser bottom bend whereas the 2nd support is 18m away from the 1st
support.
For the field, the design depth during the installation environment is 28m. As the design length for the scour support pile was
of 20m, a chaser pile of the same section as that of the scour support pile is proposed as an installation aid for driving. The
drivability study is carried out using GRLWEEP software for IHC S-90 as main hammer and IHC S-280 as a backup. Both the
chaser pile and scour support pile are checked for lifting, stick up and drivability stresses. The chaser pile is found to be an
economical solution as the same chaser pile is utilized for installing a number of such scour supports.

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Figure 5: Pile Scour Protection Support Design for Risers


Prediction of Scour
The field experiences scour because of tidal currents and waves in a shallow water depth. When currents and/or waves
encounter a structure on the seabed, it results in an increase in orbital velocities due to reflected waves, acceleration of
currents, flow separation and creation of vortices. These result in a local scour or clear water scour. The field also experiences
a bed level movement i.e. a global scour or live bed scour which is about 1m obtained from historical records. In general the
scour occurs when maximum bed shear stress due to combined wave and current is greater than sediment critical shear stress.
Calculation for Maximum Bed Shear Stress, cw
Current speed of 2.8 m/sec (uc) and design water depth of 28m (y) were considered for calculation, as per metocean data of
field.
For tidal current bed shear stress, c is calculated from general formulation to be 3.75 MPa,
c =
Where,

uc 2 Cc w

uc is current velocity = 2.8 m/sec,


w is unit weight of seawater = 1027 kg/m3
Cc is drag coefficient
Cc

z+y

2 0.32 y
C

1
7

Where,
C is Chezy coefficient,
Z is vertical gap coordinate with origin at still water level and positive upward
The orbital velocities generated by waves also contribute to scouring. For this particular gas field a maximum wave height of
12.5 m and period of 14.2 sec were considered in the analysis .The horizontal particle velocity due to wave is estimated to be
1.5 m/s as,
cosh(k (z + y ))
uw = a
sin( t k x )
sinh(k y )
Where,
is angular frequency,
a is wave amplitude,
k is angular wave number,
z is vertical gap coordinate with origin at still water level and positive upward,
y is water depth,
t is time,
x is horizontal coordinate

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Shear stress on the sea bed resulting from wave is calculated to be 0.01 MPa from the general formulation given as,
w =
Where,

0. 5 w f w u w 2

0 .3
fw is friction coefficient = 1.39 u w

ks

ks is bottom roughness

0.52

Combined shear stress due to wind and waves, gives a maximum bed shear stress value, cr of 4 MPa as given below,

cw = c + w + c w
Calculation of Sediment Critical Shear Stress, cr
From the geotechnical report, the sea bed sediment for the field is predominantly fine sand with a median grain size, d50 of
0.1mm. Using the formula by Soulsby (Ref. 10) the criticial shear stress, cr is calculated as 1.6 MPa.
*
0.24
cr = * + 0.055 1 e 0.02d g ( s w ) d50
d

Where,

s 1
w

0.333

d50

is kinematic viscosity of seawater,


s is soil grain density

This shows that the governing metocean criteria for this field result in sediment transport and scouring as cw > cr .
Size and Extent of Scour Pit
In the case of the monopile proposed for the pipe support, the scour size calculation is done considering current and wave.
When the current hits the monopile, flow acceleration takes place producing a horse shoe vortex on the upstream side and a
wake on the downstream side, (Refer Figure 6) resulting in a scour pit with an inverted cone shape. CSU equation by
Richardson et al. (1975) (Ref. 11) and Jain equation (Ref. 12) are used for calculating the scour depth because of current.

Figure 6: Vortex Formation around a Pile

10

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Using the CSU equation,


0.65

b
Ys = y 2 K s K
Fr 0.43 =

Where
uc
;
Fr is Froude Number =
g y

2.65m

Ks is Shape factor = 1 for a circular pile;


K is Pile orientation factor =1
b is Pile diameter = 0.812 m
Using Jain Equation,
0. 3

y
Ys1 = b 1.84 Fr 0.25
=
2.78m

The equation from US Army Corps of Engineers (Ref. 13) is used for calculating the scour depth because of waves.
Ys2 = 1.3 b 1 e 0.03(KC 6 )
=
0.6 m

u T

The Keulegan-Carpenter number KC = w


for wave is 25.
b

The total scour depth worked out to be 3.38m as an adition of YS1 and YS2.
The extent of scour is calculated to be 6m using the above scour depth and the angle of the side slope of the scour hole, which
was 30 degrees as per the soil investigation report for the platform locations. For a typical scour pit refer Figure 7.

Figure 7: Typical Scour Pit around a Pile


Design of Scour Protection
In the structural analysis of monopile the scour effect is considered by neglecting the lateral soil support to the pile up to a
depth equal to global scour plus local scour. However, to control the pile head deflection and reduce the monopile diameter,
protection by riprap armoring method is provided. There are two types of design approach.
1.
2.

The static design method in which protection is given before the formation of scour pit
The dynamic design method in which the scour pit is allowed to develop to its equilibrium depth and then
subsequently field with rock armor.
The static design method is adopted in the present design considering the installation schedule. In this method initially the
filter layer of fine material is placed on the sea bed before pile installation. A layer of rocks is placed around the monopile
after installation. The design includes determining the size, grading and thickness of the rock armor and the filter layer.
Sizing, Grading and Thickness of Rock Armor
The rock armor stones are sized so that they are large enough to resist the waves and currents, while small enough to prevent
filter material underneath from being removed.

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11

As per USACESs Coastal Engineering Manual (CEM) (Ref. 13) and Federal Administrations Hydraulic Engineering Circular
(HEC)23 and (Ref. 14), the median (D50) size of rock armor is calculated as 250mm as ber the following formula.
D 50

0.692 (K s u)2
2 g (S s 1)

Where,
Ks is shape coefficient = 1.2
Ss is Specific Gravity
g is acceleration due to gravity
u is water velocity at sea bed
As per Parola (Ref. 15), the median (D50) size of rock armor is calculated as 285mm as,
f f
D 50 = y 1 3 Fr 2
S s 1
Where,
y is water depth,
Ss is specific gravity,
f1 is shape coefficient = 0.71,
f3 is size factor = 0.83,
Fr is Froude Number,
The selected minimum size of rock armor, D50 is 285mm.
Median rock armor weight was calculated to be 62kg as,

W50 min = (D 50 ) s
3

Where,

s is unit weight of armor stone


The table below gives riprap gradation based on CEM.
Sr No

% of Stones
Smaller by Weight

CEM Formula

Weight (kg)

Size(mm)

01

W100max

5*W50min

310

1425

02

W100min

2*W50min

124

570

03

W50max

1.5*W50min

93

430

04

W50min

1*W50min

62

285

05

W30

W50min/1.7

37

170

06

W15max

0.75*W50min

47

213

07

W15min

0.31*W50min

20

88

Table 1: Riprap Gradation


The thickness of rock armor stone layer, r is estimated to be 90cm when calculated by following formulation,
r

W
3.8 30
s

0.333

The following checks are given on thickness of riprap as per Melville and Coleman (Ref. 16).
1. minimum thickness to be 300 mm
2. more than twice what required for D50
The provided thickness of 1000mm and median size of 300mm satisfies all above criteria.
Sizing, Grading and Thickness of the Filter Layer
Double layer filter is provided (filter for bed and filter for riprap). The sizing of filter which is provided near to the riprap is
based on the following criteria,

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D 50 (riprap)
< 40 giving d50(filter) = 7.127 mm minimum
d 50 (filter )

D15 (riprap)
< 40 giving d15(filter) = 2.2 mm minimum
d15 (filter )

D15 (riprap)
> 5 giving d15(filter) = 17.6 mm maximum
d15 (filter )
A riprap filter layer of thickness 300mm and median size 15mm and a bed filter layer of thickness 300mm and median size
4mm, are provided.

Extent of Riprap
Flat rock armor riprap is provided around the monopile. As the field has global scour of 1m and scour iss also expected to
occur around the rock protection layer, the falling apron is considered for determination of the riprap add on extent.
Overall riprap extent of 4m on all sides of monopile is given. Refer Figure 8 for more details.

Figure 8: Riprap Protection


Installation of Scour Protection Support
Installation procedure for monopile scour protection support for riser spool is pictorially represented in Appendix 1. The steps
involved in the offshore installation involve;
1. The bed preparation is made and filter layer is placed.
2. A temporary guide frame is fabricated on the side shell of installation barge to support the chaser pile and scour
support pile.
3. Installation barge is then positioned such that the guide frame is exactly above the in-service location of scour
support.
4. The scour support pile is then lifted and stabbed on to the guide frame.
5. The chaser pile follows and stabbed on to the scour support pile.
6. A specially designed sling connection between chaser pile and scour support pile is then activated to form the
assembly.
7. The assembly is then lifted, removed from the guide frame and lowered in water.
8. The assembly is oriented in the final position on the guide frame once again such that the chaser pile now rests on the
guide frame.

OTC 23586

9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

13

The scour support pile is allowed to self penetrate to about 10m.


IHC S-90 hammer is engaged on the chaser pile and scour support pile is driven to the required penetration of 20m.
A diver is sent down to check the penetration. IHC S-90 hammer is disengaged after clearance from the diver.
The sling connection of the assembly is disengaged and the chaser pile is recovered to be utilized at other locations.
The riprap armor layer is placed.

Summary
This paper highlights the issues related to design and installation of pipelines in harsh environments like the Gulf of Khambhat
on the west coast of India. The geographical location of the field has some of the worlds strongest seabed currents in shallow
waters. The installation constraints due to severe metocean conditions have significant impact on overall project schedule and
cost. The undulating and mobile nature of seabed has led to major changes in pipeline route. The correctness of metocean data
and geotechnical information in the field has a major influence on design and installation of subsea facilities in such fields.
Seabed scouring around the jacket legs, its perimeter and protection of riser bottom spools from overspanning is highlighted in
this paper. Various options for permanent scour protection of risers have been evaluated with respect to design, integrity and
sustainability. Monopile scour protection support is found to be the most suitable option for riser bottom spools considering
availability of hammers for the adverse metocean conditions. The installation procedure for the monopile support has minimal
diver intervention. The monopile support results in limited scouring and controlled pipe head deflection.
References
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Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE 77849.
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Trenches, Offshore Pipeline Technology Conference (OPT), Stavanger, Norway.
6. Niedoroda, A. W.; Dalton, C. and Bea, R.G., (1981), The Descriptive Physics of Scour in Ocean Environment, OTC
4145.
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Offshore Polar Engineering, 1(3), pp 189-194.
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Division, Volume 107, No. 5.
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Appendix 1: Installation Procedure for Monopile Support