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OFFSHORE PIPELINES

DESIGN
CAD OF OFFSHORE STRUCTURES-COURSE 4
CMU-8 H

5.1 Routing
There are a number of important stages in the life cycle of an oil or gas transmission
pipeline: design, construction, operation and maintenance and nally repair. This
chapter will look at the initial stage of pipeline design for oil and gas pipelines. Within
the planning phase, and before any work commences on constructing a new
pipeline, factors that affect the design process include:
the effect on the environment;
the pipeline routing process;
approval and legal considerations.
There are currently numerous standards available that provide guidance on the
design of pipelines. Some operators may use their own national standard, but many
others use foreign standards that are widely used throughout the pipeline
industry. In particular, for oil and gas pipelines worldwide, the API (American
Petroleum Institute), ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and BS (British
Standards) are widely used. Within the UK, oil and gas pipelines are based on
guidance provided by PD 8010 [1]. In addition, the IGE/TD/1 standard [2] is a pipeline
code developed by the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers within the UK for the
design, construction and operation of pipelines operating at pressures exceeding 16
bar. In addition, IGE/TD/1 takes into account extensive research into the causes
and consequences of pipeline failure. It is appropriate, therefore, that IGE/TD/1 be
referenced for developments in international pipeline standards and current best
practice throughout the pipeline industry. A summary of the main standards used
worldwide includes those shown in Tables 5.1.

Ioan Calimanescu PhD

Constanta Maritime University

Table 5.1 Overview of standards that


provide guidance on design,
construction and maintenance

Consideration must be given to the likely impact a newly constructed pipeline will
have on the environment.
It is important to identify the likely environmental effects of a planned pipeline and satisfy
appropriate legislation. Obviously there will be different requirements around the
world, but a typical example used within the UK includes the Public Gas Transporter
Pipeline Works Regulations. This legislation requires an environmental impact
assessment (EIA) in sensitive areas. Consequently, before the operator can construct
a new pipeline, an EIA should be conducted at the design stage.
.
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Having considered the environmental impact and routing selection, the next
important stage is to notify the relevant authorities of the intention to construct a new
pipeline. In the UK, authorization would be provided by the Department of Trade and
Industry (DTI), who must be notied of any new construction projects and updated
on the likely environ- mental effects. For cross-country pipelines, farmers should be
consulted, since compensation payments are likely, in order to allow a pipeline to
cross private land. In addition, permission will be required in areas where the
proposed pipeline route will cross roads, railways or river crossings. Finally, to
prevent any disruption to the project at the construction stage, appropriate
measures should be taken to ensure that the proposed route does not affect
protected wildlife species, preventing costly delays later in the project. Once all these
considerations have been addressed and the route options for the pipeline have
been selected, detailed design of the pipeline system can be done. What does the
detailed design involve?
The starting point for the best route is a straight line from where you found the reserves
to where you want them delivered. However, very few pipelines go in a straight line and
there are numerous factors which lead us away from the straight route. The issues
surrounding the route selection for the pipeline are considered in this section.

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Fig.5.3-Choosing the best route


In open sea, platforms, wellheads, wrecks and anchors should be passed with a
minimum clearance of 500 m (1640 ft).
Where possible, existing infrastructure should be avoided. This cannot always be the
case as often you will actually be bringing your pipeline to tie into the existing
infrastructure. The basic rules are that the number of pipeline and cable crossings
should be minimised, pipelines should be corridored where possible, and anchoring
areas and dropped object zones should be avoided.
FPSO and semi-submersible drilling rigs have anchor spreads which may have a radius
of 2 km (1.2 miles). The area within the spread will be dead to any passing pipelines.
Pipelines to and from the FPSO or subsea development must route in between anchors.

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Constanta Maritime University

Fig.5.4-Seabed obstructions

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Where a route runs parallel with an existing pipeline, the DTI is likely to specify that you
must corridor your route with the existing line. Pipelines may be crossed, but you
should endeavour to minimise the number of crossings as these introduce additional
construction costs.
Existing pipelines are preferably crossed perpendicularly with the minimum angle being
30. The reason for this is that any shallower angle of approach would lead to a long
and extensive volume of rockdump to make up the elongated crossing.
The oil industry shares the seabed with the telecommunications industry (amongst
others). With the advent of subsea fibre optics for international phone calls and internet
traffic, there are many cables currently being installed. Whilst crossing an existing cable
would probably not require a pipeline route deviation, it would be important to know
where the crossing would occur and to take measures to protect the cable against
damage.

Fig.5.5-Pipelines and cables

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Many other users have a claim on the seabed and can influence the seabed route.
Crossing international boundaries increases the design and operational reporting
requirements.
Exclusion zones and dredging areas will need to be routed around.
It is often necessary with trunk lines to cross the license blocks of other companies.
Normally this is done by way of negotiation - company A crossing company Bs license
block in return for company B crossing company As license block somewhere else. In
case of difficulties, the DTI has the authority to impose a solution.
There may be environmental pressure to avoid fishing grounds, sites of special scientific
interest and special areas of conservation. However, given that virtually
all the UK coast and coastal waters fall under some such classification, the approach is
generally to evaluate the sensitive areas and select the route of minimum environmental
impact.
Where there are busy shipping lanes, the route should go perpendicular so that the
construction vessels spend the minimum amount of time obstructing those lanes.
Areas of rock outcrops are avoided where possible.
Similarly, areas of sandwaves are avoided where possible. As a fallback the pipeline
may be routed through the valleys if they have a suitable orientation. As a last resort,
and if it is necessary to cross mobile sandwaves, the sandwave may be dredged down
to the level of the valleys.

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Constanta Maritime University

Pockmarks are craters typically up to 50 to 60 m (164 - 196 ft) across and 2 to 4 m (7 13 ft) deep, thought to originate from shallow gas pockets. The pipeline would be routed
around, rather than across, these.
Mudslides sometimes occur on steep slopes particularly near river estuaries. If these
slopes cannot be avoided, then the route should run down the slope rather than across
it.
Subsea mud volcanoes and volcanic eruptions simply have to be circumnavigated.
Iceberg scars can be very steep-sided deep valleys, which are best crossed at an angle.
5.2 Sizing the pipeline-The Diameter
Having dened the pipeline route, taking into consideration factors described in
Chapter 1, the next stage is to start the detailed design of the pipeline, including
parameters such as volume throughout, length of the pipeline and acceptable
pressure loss. Note that the length of transmission pipelines varies considerably and
can range from less than 1 km to thousands of kilometres.
When deciding the form of product to transport, it is important to consider the
advantages and disadvantages of using liquid or gas. The main advantages of liquid
transmis- sion pipelines include the following:
During inspection using intelligent pigs, the speed is easier to control.
The pipelines are easier to inspect using ultrasonics.
It is possible to transport products in batches.
Liquid is incompressible, and so the consequence of failure is less critical (i.e. ow can
quickly be stopped).
Flow is more controllable.
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Disadvantages of liquid pipelines are as follows:


There is a greater risk of pollution when leaks occur, i.e. hydrocarbons are heavier
than air.
Pipelines can easily become clogged with waxy deposits.
There is a greater risk of corrosion from sour operating conditions.
The main advantages of operating gas transmission pipelines include the following:
Pollution is less critical since gases such as methane are lighter than air and diffuse
into the atmosphere.
Gases can easily be vented
Generally, gas pipelines suffer less from deposits than liquid pipelines.
Sour corrosion is not as big a problem as on liquid pipelines.
Disadvantages of gas pipelines are as follows:
The consequence of failure is higher since the gas is compressible and ow is not
as easily controlled.
Inspection using ultrasonic tools is more complicated and specialist tools are required.
Gas pipelines are usually operated as a single product.
During inspection using intelligent pigs, the speed is more difcult to control owing to
the compressible nature of gas.
The methods for sizing pipeline diameters are presented, focusing on the considerations
of fluid property effects and required flowrates. The basic equations for analysis of fluid
flow are given along with a description of the different flow regimes within a pipeline.
Experience of design of pipeline diameter is gained by completing an exercise.
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The methods for sizing pipeline diameters are presented, focusing on the considerations
of fluid property effects and required flow rates. The basic equations for analysis of fluid
flow are given along with a description of the different flow regimes within a pipeline.
Experience of design of pipeline diameter is gained by completing an exercise

Fig.5.8-Sizing for flow

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This flow chart illustrates the process of pipeline sizing. We consider all of these
aspects in the followings.
The principal factor in diameter sizing is the peak flowrate through the line for an
acceptable pressure drop. There are, however, secondary implications that need
consideration in the design process:
Check for low flow conditions
Check for secondary criteria
Flow regime
Temperature profile
Erosional velocity
Naturally occurring oil and gas may contain a range of components, as below.
Hydrocarbons
Water
Acid gases
Solids
Sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen compounds
Heavy metals
Whilst not all of these components are of interest from the viewpoint of flow and pipeline
sizing, they do influence corrosion (addressed later in the course). We will, for
completeness, briefly overview all of these components here.
3 main hydrocarbon series found naturally:
Alkanes (Paraffins)
Cyclo-alkanes (Naphthenes)
Aromatics
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Viscosity for each series increases with carbon number. Boiling temperature for each
series increases with carbon number
Alkanes are straight and branched saturated hydrocarbon chains, the simplest of which
is methane (CH4).
Cyclo-alkanes have ring structures and are again saturated. The simplest cyclo- alkane
is cyclo-pentane (C5H10).
Aromatics are hydrocarbons which are based upon the benzene ring structure. Benzene
is the simplest member of the aromatic group, being composed of a ring of six carbon
atoms and six associated hydrogen atoms, leaving three pairs of unsaturated carbon
bonds between members of the ring.
A constituent worthy of note is Asphaltenes. This is a heavy fraction; a tar-like sticky
deposit often seen as a residue when gas is removed in a separator
Oil and gas sit above water within the reservoir. Water will be produced together with oil
or gas. The quantity of water produced will increase with production rates, and also
later in life as the water level rises within the formation.

Fig.5.9-Produced water

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Fluid properties are of relevance to the pipeline designer. They are:


Phase fractions
Density
Viscosity
Compressibility
Heat capacity
Thermal conductivity
The phase diagram illustrates how the flow properties change with pressure and
temperature. The point marked C is the critical point. The corresponding pressure and
temperature are termed critical pressure and critical temperature.
The fluid phase above the cricondenbar is termed dense phase. In the dense phase the
fluid remains as a single phase fluid provided the pressure does not fall below the
cricondenbar. In this state, changes in temperature alone will not change the phase.
The fluid in dense phase is neither liquid nor gas but the density of the dense phase fluid
can vary between the two. Both liquid and gas flow equations may be used for dense
phase. In a dense phase line, the drop in pressure along the line can cause the flow to
become two-phase.
Flow characteristics of fluids are dependent on density and viscosity. Density of oil is
sometimes defined by API gravity.
The definition of API gravity is shown above: S (60/60) is the specific gravity of the oil at
600F compared to water at 600F. Oils with low densities, and hence low specific
gravities, have high API gravities.

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Fig.5.10-Phase diagram

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Behaviour depends on density and viscosity. Density will sometimes be defined by


specific gravity or API gravity.
API gravity

141.5
131.5
S 60 / 60

Viscosity is the ratio of shearing stress (force per unit area) to shearing rate (strain rate
or velocity gradient of flow). Viscosity may be defined by dynamic (absolute) viscosity or
kinematic viscosity. Kinematic viscosity is used for convenience and is simply dynamic
viscosity divided by density.
Fluids where viscosity is constant at a given temperature are called Newtonian Fluids.
Water and liquid hydrocarbons are Newtonian. Fluids for which viscosity is a function of
shear rate are called Non-Newtonian Fluids. A fluid where the viscosity decreases with
increased shear rate is known as shear thinning. Similarly, if viscosity increases with
increased shear rate, it is known as shear thickening.
Oil/water emulsions are usually very viscous and usually more viscous than the original
oil. The appearance is often referred to as chocolate mousse.
The specification of pipe diameter should be based on normal conditions although upset
conditions should be considered; e.g. start-up.
For gas flow, gas compressibility also needs to be known as this controls the
relationship between pressure, temperature and density.

PV mzRT

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Where P is the pressure; V is the volume; T is the temperature; R is the universal gas
constant
m is the number of moles of the gas z is the average gas compressibility
There are many references that provide generalised compressibility graphs such as on
the followings.
The reduced pressure and temperature are the ratio of actual pressure and temperature
to the critical pressure and temperature.
In the following diagram TR = T/Tcritical and PR= P/Pcritical

Fig.5.12-Generalized compressibility chart

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The composition of the fluid being pumped through the pipeline needs to be analysed so
that the properties of the fluid can be predicted. The pipeline design is dependant on
the fluid properties in three respects:
1. Density and viscosity of the fluid affect the flowrate and so influence the diameter
sizing
2. The thermal properties affect the heat loss and so influence the thermal design
3. The chemicals within the fluid composition react with the steel pipe wall causing
corrosion and so influence the required corrosion protection on the internal pipe wall.
An additional property is required if considering the flow behaviour of gases. Gases are
compressible and therefore a compressibility factor of the fluid needs to be determined
Flow may be single phase (i.e. just liquid or just gas) or multi-phase (i.e. both liquid and
gas flowing in the same pipeline).

Fig.5.13-Flow regimes

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The diagram above shows a schematic of a typical subsea development. Following the
oil from the reservoir, where it is single phase, it passes up the well. As the pressure
reduces on the way up, the lighter hydrocarbons vaporise to give multi- phase flow. This
passes through the wellhead and Xmas tree (which is essentially a block of valves) and
passes into the horizontal flowline. It passes through the flowline in two phase flow back
to the production facility. It then passes up the riser and into the separator.
The prime function of the production facility is to separate the oil and gas into single
phases, and put these into export pipelines where they can be pumped to shore or to a
tanker.
The following pages show how pipeline diameter is determined for the different flow
regimes.
The change in phase composition within the well and flowline can be illustrated by the
line of pressure and temperature on the phase diagram above. As the temperature and
pressure drop as the fluids flow along the flowline, so the phase composition changes.
There are two types of flow regime relevant to the movement of hydrocarbons, these
being single and two phase flow.
Hydrocarbons located in the field will be under high pressures which keep the
hydrocarbon in the liquid form. However, as the hydrocarbons are drawn to the surface,
the reduction in pressure may cause the lighter hydrocarbons to vaporise, resulting in
two-phase flow.

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Hydrocarbons located in the field will be under high pressures which keep the
hydrocarbon in the liquid form. However, as the hydrocarbons are drawn to the surface,
the reduction in pressure may cause the lighter hydrocarbons to vaporise, resulting in
two-phase flow.
Phase diagrams are used to illustrate the relationship between the phase composition,
the pressure and the temperature of the fluid
The flow in pipelines are characterised by:
Bernoulls equation

p V2

H constant
g 2 g
Bernoullis equation defines the energy balance for flow problems.
Where p is the fluid pressure; is the density; g is the gravity constant; V is the flow
velocity; H is the head.
In practice energy is dissipated through friction losses.
Modified Bernoulli equation

p V2

H h f constant
g 2 g

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(5.4)

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Where hf is head loss due to friction.


For pipelines, energy can be added by pumps or compressors and is dissipated by
friction and heat flow. In flow analyses, the heat loss is ignored and the Bernoulli
equation can be modified to include the frictional energy loss.
Pressure drop in the pipeline is given by the Darcy equation. This equation works for
any combinations of compatible units:

fv 2 L
P
2D
Where f - friction factor related to internal roughness and Reynolds Number. is density;
v is flow velocity; L is pipeline length; D is pipeline internal diameter.
The friction factor is dependent on Reynolds number. Reynolds number is defined as
(velocity x diameter)/(kinematic viscosity):
Re

V 2
V

DV

The friction factor, f, can be derived from the Moody diagram shown. This plots friction
factor against Reynolds number for a range of surface roughnesses. It should be noted
that f is nearly constant in the turbulent region.

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Fig.5.14-Moodys diagram
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Alternatively, there is a range of formulae available for the calculation of friction factor,
such as the Colebrook-White equation given above. Equations for laminar and turbulent
flow are shown.
Laminar flow Re<2000:
f

64
Re

Turbulent flow Re>2000


2k
18.7
1.74 2 log 10
f
D Re f

Re = Reynolds number (defined previously); k = roughness (mm) (in) D = diameter


(mm) (in)
A note of caution on Moody diagrams and friction factors: there are two different
systems in use. The above is the US system which is used throughout the oil and gas
industry. The other system has a friction factor of f = 0.25f, and is shown in some
textbooks.
Typical roughness values are defined. The clean steel value shown is conservative and
actual values could be as low as 0.02mm (0.787mil). As pipe manufacturing processes
improve, k drops. Sometimes roughness is defined as relative roughness, which is
simply the ratio k/D.

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Alternatively, there is a range of formulae available for the calculation of friction factor,
For gas transmission lines - e.g. NTS and CATS, the pipe is shot-blasted which gives
typical roughness values of 0.045mm (1.77mil). If a pipe is internally coated with FBE
the surface roughness improves dramatically, with the value for k dropping down to
0.005mm (0.197mil)

Fig.5.15-Pipe roughness

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Consider the liquid flow governed by equation (5.4) and characterised by the fact that
velocity does not change along line -therefore ignore and the head due to elevation is
important due to higher density
The velocity term does not change and can therefore be ignored in single phase liquid
flow. The changes in elevation can have a significant effect and therefore input pressure
may be governed by elevation of the terrain over which the pipeline passes, and not
necessarily by the required delivery pressure.

Fig.5.16-Conservation of energy

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Having sized the pipeline for maximum flowrate, we need to consider the secondary
issues, and if necessary adjust our design. We need to consider the flow velocity. At
high flowrates, solids or water droplets can start to cause erosion of the pipeline walls,
particularly at bends. API RP 14E gives the above formula for the velocity at which
erosion may start to occur. Normal practice would be to ensure that this velocity is not
exceeded.
The units are metric, with velocity in m/s (ft/s) and density in kg/m3 (lb/ft3).
Erosional velocity is :
V e

122

Crudes containing large chain paraffins are called waxy crudes. They:
Contains paraffins with carbon number > 30
Dissolved at higher temperatures
Crystallisation occurs as temperature drops
Cloud point - wax crystals first form
Pour point - wax matrix formed
Non-Newtonian viscosity behaviour
Care when mixing - mixture of two cool waxy crudes can raise the pour point
Wax deposition can significantly reduce oil throughput in a pipeline. Options to consider
are:
Oversizing the line to allow for a build-up of wax
Insulating the line to keep the temperature up
Specifying a pigging regime to control wax build-up
Injection of a wax suppressant
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In shut-down conditions, the wax can deposit in a gel like matrix across the pipe bore
entrapping the liquid oil within it. Under these conditions, a significant pressure
differential may be necessary across the wax gel plug in order to shear and break-up the
matrix.
The most significant difference between liquids and gas pipelines is the compressibility
of the gas. Whilst this introduces certain operational problems, it also adds additional
operational flexibility. The pipeline will store gas and supply and demand rates can
therefore differ to some extent.
The analysis of gas flow is complicated by the changing properties of the gas. Velocity
and density change as the gas flows down the line. If we again consider the energy
conservation equation, no terms within the equation remain constant for gas flow.
The energy balance is illustrated above. The effects of terrain are much less significant
for gas flow because of the relatively low density.
The frictional head loss (hf) can be calculated using the same approach as for oil.
However, empirical formulae, incorporating the velocity component and compressibility,
have been derived and are often used.
Empirical Equations for Gas Flow are:
Weymouth (high Reynolds numbers
0.5

Tstp P12 P22

D 2.667
Q 433.5

Pstp GTLZ

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Fig.5.17-Gas flow

Fig.5.18-Conservation of energy
in gas flow

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Panhandle (longer lines)


Tstp
Q 4335.7
P
stp

1.0788

P12 P22
0.8539

G
TLZ

0.5392

D 2.6182

The Weymouth equation assumes that the friction factor only depends on the pipeline
diameter. It is used extensively for short lines within a plant where gas velocities will be
higher. For longer gas pipelines with slower flow, the friction factor depends on both
diameter and flow rate, and in these cases the Panhandle equation is better.
Because of the empirical nature of these formulae it is necessary to ensure correct units
are used, i.e. Imperial:
Q is the flowrate (standard cubic feet per day) ; Tstp is standard temperature (0R); Pstp is
standard pressure (psia)
P1 is inlet pressure (psia) ; P2 is outlet pressure (psia); G is gas specific gravity (air = 1)
T is average gas temperature; L is line length (miles); Z is average gas compressibility;
D is inside diameter (in).
Compressibility Z is selected for average pressure
Pavg

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PP
2
P1 P2 1 2
3
P1 P2

29

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As mentioned previously, the compressibility Z is derived from published tables or


charts.
Compressibility charts reference critical pressure and temperature. These are published
for individual components. The main gas constituents are shown in the following.
Combined Tc and Pc for a mixture can be determined by summation of molar
proportions of components.

Fig.5.19-Compressibility factor

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Critical pressure and temperature can be determined for mixes by summing the
molecular proportions multiplied by the individual component properties
Fig.5.20- Critical pressure and temperature

Wellstream fluids are usually two-phase or multi-phase. This type of flow is therefore
most commonly experienced in in-field flowlines.
Wellstream fluids are typically a mixture of gas, oil and water. Flowlines and pipelines
from minimum facility installations will typically be multiphase flow. They are:
Mixture of oil, gas and water
Typically wellstream
Tie-backs of subsea wells or minimum facility platforms
The wellstream fluids are a mixture of different hydrocarbons, each having different
boiling temperatures. Therefore, there will be a mixture of gaseous and liquid
hydrocarbons in the flow. As temperature and pressure change, the gas and liquid
content will change.
Two-phase flow characteristics are dependent on the flow rate and the proportions of
gas and oil.

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Stratified flow is characterised by slow moving liquid in the lower part of the pipe with
faster moving gas flowing above. Water drop out at the bottom of the pipe can cause
tram-line corrosion.
Slug flow is characterised by individual slugs of liquid separated by gas. The slugs will
tend to cause vibrations at any change in the flow direction.
In faster, predominantly liquid flow, the gas is carried as bubbles within the liquid. At very
high flows, the liquid is displaced out to the pipe wall and carried as mist droplets in the
gas.

Fig.5.21-Types of two phase flow

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The localised gas and liquid velocities are dependent on the overall flowrate, the
pressure and the temperature.
The seabed terrain affects the flow regime in a number of ways.
In stratified flow, liquid may tend to hold up at low points in the line. This build up will
continue until it creates sufficient pressure drop for it to begin moving as a slug. The
seabed terrain will therefore contribute to the onset of slug flow. The terrain will also
affect the pressure drop along the line. At the bottom of a depression or a hill, the liquid
component will collect. It will be carried up the side of the hill as liquid slugs and will
therefore experience a loss of pressure as the head increases. The liquid flows down
the other side of the hill in stratified flow, and therefore reduction in head is not
converted back to pressure, but to velocity instead.

Fig.5.22-Flow maps

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Fig.5.23-Two phase flow regime

Multi-phase flow analysis requires the use of specialised software.


Steady state methods using correlations to predict pipeline pressure drop, liquid hold up
and thermal response provide a simple, and often effective, tool for pipeline design.
There are a large number of alternative flow correlations that can be used. e.g. for
pressure drop/hold-up in vertical and horizontal flow, PIPESIM uses a default correlation
by Beggs and Brill.
Transient simulations bring an improved understanding of the behaviour of multiphase
flow in pipelines. Many of the problems associated with the design and operation of
multiphase pipelines are transient in nature:
Slugging
Start-up / shutdown
Production rate changes

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In the absence of transient simulation, these issues are addressed through


assumptions, often conservative by necessity, based on the results of the steady state
modelling. This often leads to over-specification and increased cost.
The steady state example above shows a temperature profile along a pipeline. At 6km
(3.7 miles) and 20km
(12.4 miles) there are pipeline tees where new wells are tied-in. The analysis is run for
four different wellhead temperatures.
At 6km (3.7 miles), the incoming flow is hotter than the pipeline flow. This results in the
commingled flow downstream of the tee being hotter.
At 20km (12.4 miles), the incoming flow from the well is cooler than the pipeline (longer
step out). This results in the commingled flow being cooler downstream of the tee.
The flow regime may change through the pipeline life as the flow rates and compositions
change. In particular, slugging flow may develop. There are a number of ways of
dealing with turn-down:
The installation of multiple flowlines designed for the high start of life flow rates, mean
that fewer lines can be used later in life to maintain sufficient velocities.
Gas lift can be used both downhole and at the base of risers to increase the flow
velocity and to reduce the overall density so that slug size is reduced.
Downhole pumps will maintain a high flow rate.
The liquid and gas can be separated subsea and transported through separate singlephase lines.
Gas or water injection to maintain the well pressure
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Ihe flow regime can introduce a range of problems to pipeline operation.


Slug flow is particularly problematic and can induce vibrations and fatigue at bends. Slug
catchers are often installed in the process system to remove slugs of liquid
from the pipeline before the separator, otherwise the separator and other process plant
can become flooded. A typical slug catcher is shown above.
It is essential to control the size of slugs within the pipeline.
As corrosion inhibitor is carried in the liquid phase, we may not get adequate protection
in stratified flow. Water drop out in stratified flow can cause localised corrosion. The
water can be highly acidic, leading to rapid corrosion.
Hydrates are a particular problem in multi-phase flow and wet gas flow where water is
present. They are formed under conditions of low temperature and high pressure.
A hydrate plug can block the line. This presents both an operational and a safety
problem. The pressure differential across that plug will increase. It may then shift at
high pressure and travel along the line at high velocity. It can therefore cause damage
when it reaches a bend or some equipment.
Control of hydrate formation is by control of the operating pressure and temperature of
the pipeline, and by injection of a hydrate inhibitor.

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Fig.5.24-Implications for thermal design

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5.4 Thermal design


Having calculated the required pressure and diameter based on the above ow
equations, it is important that the pipeline is thick enough to contain this design
pressure. The basic formula shown in many pipeline codes, relating nominal wall
thickness to design pressure for a straight section of steel pipe, is given in Fig.
2.2, where t is the nominal wall thickness, P is the design pressure (N/mm2
, D is the diameter (mm), S is the specied minimum yield strength (SMYS),
(N/mm2 , F is the design factor, E is the joint factor and T is the temperature derating
factor.
Codes such as IGE/TD/1, PD 8010 , B31.4 and B31.8 for transmission pipelines use
this approach in calculating nominal wall thickness. When considering wall thickness
for offshore pipelines, the pipe must be thick enough to prevent hydrostatic
collapse under external pressure but also contain the internal pressure.
There are several reasons why the pipeline temperature can be important.
The flow can be heavily dependent on the contents temperature and there are three
main effects. In oil lines wax may start to form if the temperature drops below a critical
point. The wax will deposit on the pipe walls and restrict the flow. In gas lines, hydrates
may start to form, with a similar effect. Finally, the fluid viscosity will change with
temperature, and this will have an effect on the pressure drop in the line. For liquids,
viscosity will decrease with increasing temperature while for gases the reverse is true.
High temperatures can give problems for the pipeline. The pipe will want to expand and
this can give rise to upheaval or lateral buckling. At elevated temperatures, the strength
of the pipeline may be reduced. Finally, polymer coating systems have temperature
limitations.
Ioan Calimanescu PhD

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The two main conditions that need consideration are given above. The product
temperature will fall as it flows along the pipeline due to conduction of heat through the
pipe to the surroundings. The temperature profile of the pipeline can be calculated for
the steady-state flow conditions, and so the arrival temperature of the contents at the far
end of the line may be determined.
If the steady flow conditions are interrupted, for example to do maintenance work, then
the contents will cool down. The temperature of the contents as a function of time must
be determined, with the aim of keeping the temperature at an acceptable level.

Fig.5.24-Need for thermal analysis

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The image above shows the effect of severe wax deposition in a pipe section.
Wax or hydrate formations can be dealt with in different ways:
Regularly sweep the line with pigs to prevent build-ups
Avoid shut-in conditions where plugs may form (e.g. flush the line before shut-in)
Either batch or continuously inject chemicals into the line that suppress the tendency of
the fluid to form waxes or hydrates.
Design the pipeline to meet the thermal requirements that avoid the conditions that will
form wax or hydrates. Combinations of these techniques are often used.
Hydrates are compounds of gas and water that look very much like water ice. The gas
molecules are trapped within a cage of water molecules. Hydrates form under
conditions of low temperature and high pressure, so they can be broken down by
reducing the pressure in the pipeline.
Pipeline design needs to account for influence of thermal effects on the flow of product
through the pipeline. With low temperatures there are implications on the product flow.
At high temperatures there are implications for the pipe integrity.
There are also requirements imposed on the pipeline system, where minimum arrival
temperatures and maximum pipe wall temperatures may be specified during steadystate flow. During a shut-in situation, a maximum cool-down rate may be specified to
prevent the product reaching a temperature where wax or hydrates may form during the
shut-in situation.
The thermal behavior equations below assume steady state conditions:
-Heat conduction in 1D
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Total heat flow


Q x kA

dT
dx

Per unit area


qx

Qx
T T1
k x 2
hx T2 T1
x2 x1
Ax

Where Qx is the total heat flow; A is the area of the body perpendicular to the heat flow
direction; k is the thermal conductivity of the material; T is the temperature; x is the
linear distance through the material in the direction of heat flow h is the heat transfer
coefficient.
For most thermal analyses of pipelines, axial conduction of heat along the pipeline can
be ignored and therefore the analysis becomes one of simple radial heat flow.
The below equations show the radial heat flow and the heat transfer coefficient. In
these equations r1 and r2 represent the inner and outer radii of the layer being
considered.
Pipelines are often multi-layer systems, which include the steel pipe wall, anti- corrosion
coatings, insulation coating layers and concrete weight coating. With multi-layer
systems, an overall heat transfer coefficient needs to be calculated as shown in the
next.
Radial heat conduction
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Total heat flow per unit length of pipeline


Qr 2k

Heat transfer coefficient

hr

T2 T1
r
ln 2
r1

2k r
r
ln 2
r1

Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient (OHTC)


Requires reference diameter
1
1
1

htot

...
h
h
h
r2
rn
r1
h
U OHTC tot
Dref

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Fig.5.25-Radial thermal profile


through the pipeand insulation

The plot shows a sample radial thermal profile through the pipe and insulation. Note that
as steel is an effective conductor, pipe temperature is equal to content temperature.
The overall heat transfer is determined by combining the individual layer heat transfer
coefficients as shown.
OHTC stands for Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient. It gives a measure of the
performance of the overall coating system and allows comparison between different
systems. Units of OHTC are W m-2 K-1 (BTU/hr/ft2/F), hence OHTC requires a
reference surface. Most common is to reference the OHTC to the ID or OD of the steel
pipe.
For transient conduction problems, the rate of change of temperature depends not only
on the thermal conductivity of the material, but its density and specific heat capacity.
The differential equations can be solved numerically.
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Transient conduction in 1D:

T
k 2T

t c p x 2
Transient conduction in cylindrical system:
T
k

t c p

2 T 1 T
2

r t
x

In order to calculate the thermal properties of the system, then, three physical properties
are needed for each material. The conductivity is needed for any thermal analysis,
either steady-state or transient. For transient analyses, the density and specific heat
capacity are also needed. The product of density and heat capacity is sometimes
known as the thermal inertia. Remember that these properties are themselves
temperature-dependent, and so must be measured in the temperature range of interest.
The fundamental assumption in the thermal analysis of pipelines is that the heat loss
occurs primarily in a radial direction. In order to assess the performance of any multilayer insulation coating system, we need to estimate the Overall Heat Transfer
Coefficient (OHTC) for the combined coating system.
The thermal analysis of pipeline systems can be undertaken in two ways: Steady-state
analysis, which requires only the material property of the thermal conductivity.
Transient analysis, which requires the thermal conductivity property and also the density
and specific heat capacity properties of the system materials.
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Thermal profile analysis is the determination of the temperature profile along the pipeline
as the contents are cooled by conduction of heat through the pipe to the surroundings.
A pipeline resting on the seabed is normally assumed to be fully exposed. Where
operational pipelines are inadequately insulated, trenching and back-filling may improve
or solve the problem. It is necessary to take into account changes in burial levels over
field life, and hence changes in insulation values.
The increase in insulation for the pipeline under partial burial conditions is not great.
Heat will flow circumferentially through the steel to the section of exposure. Even
exposure of just the crown of the pipeline results in efficient heat transfer to the
surroundings, due to the high thermal conductivity of the steel.

Fig.5.26-External heal loss

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Buried pipe heat transfer:


hsoil

2k soil
2b
a cosh
D

Pipeline burial occurs due to:


Deliberate placement of rock, grit or seabed material on the pipe for stability or
protection requirements
Collapse of sides or gradual infill due to sediment mobility of a trenched pipeline
Propagation of sandwaves across the pipeline
General embedment of the pipeline into the seabed due to mobility of the seabed or
movement of the pipeline
Sediment flow at river mouths/deltas
Whilst seabed soil can be a good insulator, porous burial media, such as rock dump,
may give little in the way of additional insulation since water can flow through the spaces
between the rocks and transfer heat to the surroundings.
Where a pipeline design has assumed that it will be exposed on the seabed, then burial
may cause problems. The lower heat loss can give rise to upheaval buckling, increased
corrosion and overheating of the coating.
The density, thermal conductivity and specific heat of the fluid are pressure and
temperature dependent. Later in field life, the water cut tends to increase. Water
has a higher density and specific heat, hence the temperature drop along the pipeline
tends to decrease (although this effect tends to be partly offset by lower flow rates due
to dropping reservoir pressure) (GOR = Gas Oil Ratio).
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Fig.5.27-Thermal profile

Exponential decay along pipeline is:


htot x

T ( x) Tamb Tin Tamb exp


flow c

mass pcont

Thermal profile analysis is the determination of the temperature profile along the pipeline
as the contents are cooled by conduction of heat through the pipe to the
sea/surroundings.
The basic equation of temperature along a section of pipeline is shown above. This
assumes steady state flow conditions, constant fluid properties, uniform insulation and
uniform ambient temperature along the pipeline section.

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In this equation,
T(x) is the contents temperature at distance x along the pipeline; Tamb is the ambient
seawater temperature; Tin is the flowing inlet temperature flowmass is the contents mass
flow rate; Cpcont is the contents specific heat capacity
The key parameter that determines the onset of wax and hydrate problems is the
temperature of the fluid, and it is the requirement to avoid their formations that
determines the fluid arrival temperature.
Most pipelines require thermal profile analysis in a number of sections, due to changes
in the conditions:
riser sections with different insulation systems or seawater temperatures
spoolpieces
sections of the line which are buried or may become buried
intermediate facilities such as valves or tees
changes in contents thermal properties due to flow conditions, pressure, temperature or
density effects
(all of which are inter-related)
The analysis should consider each section sequentially, with inlet properties determined
by the outlet conditions from the preceding section.
Process simulation software such as PIPESIM accepts heat transfer coefficients
determined for each insulation system, enabling the concurrent modelling of the effects
of content changes and external condition changes on contents temperature.

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Fig.5.28-FEA/CFD numeric analysis

Simple pipeline configurations can readily be analysed using spreadsheets. More


complex systems, such as multi-core umbilicals or service lines are better suited to
analysis with FE. Operational considerations often result in some cores operating with
others shut-in. Complexity can also arise due to fluid-filled interstitial cavities, that are
potentially susceptible to convective heat transfer. Analytical approximations for
convection are available for flat plates or tubes, which provide qualified estimates. The
highest integrity solution is to model the cavities using Computational Fluid Dynamics
(CFD).
Options to assist or avoid thermal insulation include electric heating or circulating a hot
fluid through spare cores. These may also need to be modelled.
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Analysis techniques are required to determine the thermal profile along the length of the
pipeline. The radial heat loss by convection to the surrounding water will result in an
exponential decrease in temperature along the pipeline length. The insulation system
needs to be designed to ensure that the minimum required arrival temperature is met.
For complex problems, such as umbilicals and bundles, it may be necessary to utilise
computerised approximation techniques such as Finite Element (FE) analysis to
estimate the radial heat loss.
We should note that when determining the thermal profile we need to consider the
change in the thermal properties of the contents over time as the Gas Oil Ratio and
water cut of the field changes through its life.
Thermal cooldown analysis is the evaluation of the contents temperature as a function
of time, following the shut-in of the line. Cooldown analysis tends to be either:
to find the final temperature of the contents after a defined shut-in duration (typically 4 to
20 hours)
to find the time taken for the contents to reach the temperature when wax or hydrates
may start to form
to find the OHTC required to meet a given minimum contents temperature following a
given shut-in duration
Cooldown analysis is normally performed at the outlet from the pipeline, as this gives the
coolest contents from the thermal profile analysis.
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Fig.5.29-Cooldown during shut-in

Temperature after time t given approximately by:

htot t
T (t ) Tamb Tinitial Tamb exp

mass
c
i pi

The basic equation of temperature at a point in a shut-in


pipeline
versus time is shown
above. This assumes constant fluid properties, uniform initial system temperature,
constant ambient temperature and also that the contents and steel pipe are the only
layers that contribute to the thermal inertia (i.e. thin coatings), while other layers
contribute to the insulation.
In this equation:
T(t) is the contents temperature after time t ; Tamb is the ambient seawater temperature;
Tinitial is the contents initial temperature; massi is the mass (per unit length) of the pipe
contents, steel etc
Cpi is the specific heat capacity of the pipe contents, steel etc
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For complex umbilicals, interstitial cavities may be flooded with seawater, which has a
high heat capacity. This increases the thermal inertia and may usefully contribute to
maintaining the contents temperature during shut-in. For complex systems such as that
illustrated, finite element analysis provides the simplest method of analysis.
The simplified method described on the previous slide becomes inaccurate when the
pipeline is coated with a thick high density coating. The method assumes that the
thermal inertia is concentrated at the centre of the system at constant temperature and
that the coating simply provides insulation. With thick coatings, the coating will also
contribute to the thermal inertia, although it is not at constant temperature. Again, FEA is
the simplest method for analysis of thick coating systems.

Fig.5.30-Cool down-complex systems

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Insulation design is primarily determining the pipeline coating system required to meet
compromises of:
coating costs
material performance under thermal and environmental loading during service
the effectiveness of the system in meeting required insulation performance
The primary insulation materials used are polymeric coatings. The strength of the
polymers varies inversely with temperature. These polymers are frequently mixed with
plastic or glass microspheres (small spherical beads filled with gas) to enhance
insulation properties. Plastic beads are more common and lower cost. Glass beads
have greater strength and therefore depth capability, but have a potential problem of
breakage during mixing with the polymer and pumping.
Foams are made by blowing the polymers with CO2, N2 or water. The density of the
foam can be controlled and this determines the wall thickness of the foam bubbles.
The thermal conductivity of foams is proportional to the density:
high density = high conductivity, low insulation performance
The higher the foam density, the greater the strength:
high density = higher temperature or depth
Other materials include Fly ash and EPDM rubber.
The cavities in pipe-in-pipe systems may be filled with microspheres, inert gas (N2) or
evacuated. All these materials have an upper service temperature limit.
The extrusion process involves a continuous wrapping process of an extruded strip of
the polymeric material onto a rotating pipe joint. This process is typically used for solid,
syntactic or foamed polypropylene
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This process can apply both thin and thick layers by using multiple extrusion heads.
Casting is typically used for polyurethane coatings and field joints.
Pouring is a continuous process that applies a bead of liquid polymer to the rotating pipe
joint. The process can be used for foams and syntactics as well as solids. The polymer
cures rapidly and by use of multiple heads, a multi-layer coating system can be rapidly
applied.

Fig.5.31-Pipe coating

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The foams have lower strength and greater elasticity than steel. Analysis of insulation
systems can be undertaken by breaking the coating down into concentric virtual sublayers, over which approximately constant material properties are evaluated. The radial
compression by hydrostatic pressure results in a reduced diameter, which causes
circumferential compression of the foam. The radial strain on inner layers enhances this
effect. The radial strain and circumferential compression propagate in through the
coating. Inner layers are less compressed
than outer layers, and therefore have lower thermal conductivity. Accurate analysis can
be done using FEA or programs such as Mathcad.
Polymer strengths are reduced at higher temperatures, which means that the depth
limits will be correspondingly lower.
Thermoplastic materials are susceptible to creep, which manifests itself as a time
dependent strain, even under a constant load condition. Creep of pipeline insulation
systems results in thinner, more dense coatings. Therefore, the coatings have higher
thermal conductivities and reduce the performance of the insulation system.
In foam systems, creep is caused by the gradual deformation and collapse of the gasfilled cells or cavities. Flattening of the cells results in a loss of the mechanical strength
of the cell, hence the creep successively causes the crushing of most of the cells.
Beyond a certain level, sufficient strength is lost and the creep rate increases rapidly as
a Phase 2 creep. Insulation systems should be designed to avoid entering this phase of
creep.
As a rule of thumb, strain should be limited to not more than 5%.
The plots above show an example of the change on OHTC due to creep over the life of
the coating, and a typical three stage creep rate for an insulation coating.
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Almost all polymers allow the diffusion of fluids at variable, often very low, rates. Most
coating systems are therefore susceptible to water ingress or permeation.
Pipe-in-pipe systems are normally designed to avoid water ingress, and may include
scavengers to mop-up any residual moisture.
Ingress is time dependent and may take a significant proportion of the design life to
reach equilibrium. The water can permeate along cell boundaries in syntactics and
foams. It can also fill foam cavities or syntactic microspheres.
The water has a much higher thermal conductivity than the polymer insulation or gas
filled cavities. Hence 5% water content (a high value) significantly affects the material
performance. The resulting thermal conductivity of the material is analysed by adding
the thermal conductivity of water, multiplied by the absorption fraction. It is not just a
simple weighted balance between the basic material and water content, since the
absorption of water does not reduce the mass of parent material present, hence does
not reduce its conductivity.
Fig.5.32-Creep

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Fig.5.33-Water absorbtion

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Ficks law for water absorbtion is:

J D

c
x

Water diffuses through polymers, and the rate of diffusion increases with both
temperature and pressure. Higher temperatures also cause an increase in solubility, ie
more water will be absorbed at higher temperatures. Diffusion is modelled using Ficks
law, as above, where:
J = flux of water concentration; D = diffusion coefficient; c = mass concentration of
water; x = distance
The example above shows the results of a comparison between a predictive numerical
analysis (e.g. FEA) with experimental testing. The results show that only very low
absorption takes place in the inner layers of the insulation. The analysis shows the
steady state water content after many years.
The competing effects are the diffusion of the water in the direction of the partial
pressure (concentration) gradient versus the diffusion of the water in the direction of the
temperature gradient. The net effect, as shown above, is that little water is absorbed
into the coating except in the outer layer.
A vicious cycle exists in the performance of insulation coatings:
with creep and hydrostatic compression causing increased thermal conductivity
which increases the temperature of the coating, resulting in increased creep and
compression

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This consideration makes the evaluation of insulation coating systems complex.


However, analytical approximations with Mathcad or Excel are possible alternatives to
FEA. Coating system suppliers are worth consulting for recommending the correct
system.
Most insulation requirements tend to be in the range between 2 and 5 W/mK (0.35 and
0.88 BTU/hr/ft/0F). Typical pipe coating systems for this insulation duty are shown
above. These would be applied over a corrosion protection coating comprising:
A 0.5 mm (0.02in) layer of fusion bonded epoxy (FBE), which gives the anti- corrosion
protection
An adhesive layer to give bonding between FBE and insulation layer
Note that the above depth and temperature limitations may not both be attainable
together. For example it may be possible to get a polyurethane foam to either 150 m or
1000C, but not both at the same time.
Some of the limitations in the above can be overcome by using composite systems. For
example, by applying a layer of solid polypropylene between the pipe and a layer of
polypropylene foam, the temperature in the foam is reduced and the system can be
used up to temperatures of 1400C, the upper limit for solid PP.
A typical pipe coating system for this insulation duty is a pipe-in-pipe system using PUF
or loose packed microspheres.

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Fig.5.34-Rules of thumb for medium insulation

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A typical pipe coating system for this insulation duty is a pipe-in-pipe system using PUF
or loose packed microspheres.
For the lowest U values in deep water, it is currently necessary to use pipe-in-pipe
systems. Developments in syntactic coatings are likely to produce coatings capable of
U values down to less than 1 W/m2K.

Fig.5.35-Thermal insulation capability guide

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Field joints are areas where greater heat loss may occur. If the field joint insulation is
not as good as that on the main pipe body then additional heat loss will occur by heat
flowing axially towards the field joint and then radially through the poorer insulation. The
assumption made previously that the heat flow was only radial is therefore not valid and
a more sophisticated analysis is needed. Accurate analysis can be done using FEA of a
complete pipe joint.
Field joints are therefore a potential location where axial heat conduction may result in:
lowering of the OHTC of the pipe system
under-prediction of the OHTC using 2D analytical or FE evaluation
Field joint design involves a compromise:
ideally as good an OHTC as the main coating system
as rapid a field jointing operation as possible
The design of thermal insulation coating systems requires a compromise between the
cost of the materials, the performance of the materials under the applied environmental
loads during the design life and the effectiveness of the coating system at meeting the
requirements.
The majority of the pipe length can have the thermal coating applied onshore in a
controlled environment. However, the ends of the pipe must remain uncoated so that
the pipe joints can be welded together on the lay vessel. Therefore, specialist field joint
coatings must be designed that can be applied on the vessel after the joint make-up.
The integrity of these field joints must be ensured prior to pipe installation.

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The current trend is to exploit reservoirs with harsher production characteristics,


including high temperature, high pressure fields. These fields also have a tendency to
contain aggressive fluids, which can be highly corrosive. They may also have severe
wax or hydrate problems. There are also trends towards using a larger number of
pipelines over longer distances in order to minimise topsides processing. Hence
unprocessed well fluids are being transported greater distances. The performance
requirements and use of insulation systems on subsea pipelines is therefore increasing.
5.8 Stability
If a pipeline is not stable then it will move under the actions of waves and currents. This
is a problem since the movement will cause bending stresses in the pipeline, which may
then cause the pipe to fatigue and fail. Alternatively, it may cause damage to pipeline
coatings, such as cracking of concrete.
Submarine pipeline stability is governed by the fundamental balance of forces between
loads and resistances.
This approach to stability design of pipelines was incorporated into DNVs Rules for
Submarine Pipeline Systems issued in 1976 and was the basis of design for many
pipelines around the world.
It was known from experimental research that the hydrodynamic loads on a pipeline
could be very much higher than in the DNV 76 model. In 1981, DNVs revised rules
incorporated a much more realistic hydrodynamic model.

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This created an anomaly - the new approach suggested many of the existing pipelines
designed to DNV 76 were unstable. However, annual surveys showed no evidence of a
wide-spread problem. The explanation lay in the lateral resistance of a pipeline to
movement also being very much higher than predicted by the simple model. It was
shown experimentally that during a storm a pipeline undergoes small displacements
under the action of wave forces, gradually digging itself into the seabed. The pipeline
therefore had small soil berms either side, providing increased resistance to movement
and greater hydrodynamic shielding. The results of this research were incorporated into
AGAs suite of stability design software, providing a state of the art approach.

Fig.5.59-Pipeline instability

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The first pass approach to pipeline stability is a simple force balance model in 2
dimensions. It is the basis of the design methodology used in:
DNV 76 + 81
AGA Level 1 stability software

Fig.5.60-Stability fundamentals

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Vertical forces are:


Hydrodynamic lift
Pipe and contents submerged weight (weight - buoyancy)
The pipeline is vertically stable if the submerged weight exceeds the maximum lift force.
Horizontal forces are:
Hydrodynamic drag and inertia
Lateral resistance to movement due to seabed friction
The pipeline is horizontally stable if the lateral resistance exceeds the combined drag
and lift loads throughout the wave cycle.
In this simple approach seabed friction is modelled using coulomb friction.
We will look at how information is gained for determining the hydrodynamic forces,
which are dependent on local particle velocities.
The field of oceanography plays a large role in subsea pipeline design. Although
pipeline engineers are not often directly involved in the derivation of environmental
design criteria, an appreciation of the issues involved is required to ensure a good
pipeline stability design.
Environmental data is recorded using a large variety of instruments:
Global wind data / synoptic charts
Satellite imagery (SAR)
Wave rider buoys
Ship observations
Platform-mounted measurements
Hindcast numerical modelling
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Fig.5.61-Data sources

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Recorded data relevant to subsea pipelines includes:


Wave heights and directions: cause hydrodynamic loads on pipes
Wind speeds: drive sea currents
Currents: cause hydrodynamic loads on pipes
Tide heights: affect water depth
A large variation exists in the quality and quantity of this data between mature offshore
oil and gas areas (e.g. the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico), and much younger greenfield
areas (e.g. West of Ireland). Outside major oil & gas areas it is common not to have 100
years of recorded data. It is also unusual to have data recorded in the exact area of
interest.
Inherently, pipelines differ from platforms and similar structures in that they traverse the
seabed. Major trunk lines can be hundreds of kilometres long and therefore have
changes in data along the route. Pipelines can therefore be subjected to a considerable
range of oceanographic conditions. Numerical models are used to hindcast or
extrapolate conditions from known storms to a sufficient number of locations along the
pipeline.
-Significant wave height (Hs)
Hs= 4.0 mo (where mo is the variance in the water surface elevation)
Hsthe average of the highest 1/3 of the waves
-Maximum wave height (Hmax)
Hmax1.86 x Hs
Hmaxis limited by water depth 0.78 x d

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Significant Wave Height


Hs has its origins in the analysis of results from plotter data recorders, where a physical
line could be drawn below the highest 1/3 of the waves, then the average of the wave
heights determined. It corresponded to what a trained ship-bourne wave height
observer would report as the wave height when watching these same waves. Significant
wave is the most commonly provided measure of wave height in pipeline engineering.
Hs is a fundamental seastate parameter, which is indicative of the energy of a given sea
state.
Maximum Wave Height
The probability of exceedence for a single wave out of a group is given by the Rayleigh
distribution. The typical duration of a design return event or storm is normally taken to
be 3 hours. Assuming a typical wave period of 10 s means that about 1000 waves will
pass the design location in that time, which by applying a Rayleigh distribution to the
expected extreme value results in the highest wave being about 1.86 times the height of
the significant wave.
The theoretical limit of wave height for a given water depth is 0.78 times the depth.
When the breaking wave limit is reached, the wave spectra become truncated at the
breaking wave limit. This alters the meaning of Hs and validity of the above
relationships. This is important when doing stability design using Hs.

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This illustrates how significant wave height is determined from the statistical data of
wave height. It shows the probability of a particular wave height occurring. The
coloured portion of the graph shows the highest third of the waves. Hs is the mean of
this area.
The other main parameter important in determining wave properties is the period.
Ts and Tmax are the time periods of the significant and maximum waves respectively. The
most commonly recorded data is Tz, the mean zero crossing interval as shown in the
plot below

Fig.5.62-Wave height

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Fig.5.63-Wave period

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The spectral peak period, Tp, is determined from spectral analysis and is commonly
used in design. For different JONSWAP peakedness values, conversion curves are
provided in DNV RP E305.
As a default RP E305 provides an upper limit of the peak period according to the
following relationship:
Tp = (250 Hs/g)
In practice the peak period will depend on fetch and depth limitations as well as duration
of the sea-states.

Fig.5.64-Wave kinematics

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Wave Kinematics
Wave kinematics are used to describe the velocities and accelerations of water particles
that make up the wave.
Airy and Stokes wave theories are the simplest, describing the shape of the water/air
interface as a function of time. They both treat waves as a continuous series. Airy wave
theory uses a simple sine function while Stokes extended the description of the sea
surface using a 5th order sine series. In the above image, it means that Stokes wave
theory can provide a better approximation to the steeper waves typically encountered in
shallower water.
Stream function wave theories are better approximations in shallow water. They are
more complex and require numerical solutions.
Breaking Waves
Theoretically, waves break when their tips (or crests) move forwards at a higher velocity
than the wave celerity. Breaking waves can be spilling, plunging or surging. The
hydrodynamic loads produced by breaking waves are not well defined, especially lower
down in the water column.
Water depth classification as deep, intermediate or shallow is a relative measure and
depends on the wave period. The ordinate H/g T2 is a measure of wave steepness,
which is related to the angle of the face of the wave.
The above diagram refers to the conditions at the surface and not the seabed

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Fig.5.64-Wave kinematics

Wave particles move in an approximately elliptical path. In deep water, the paths are
nearly circular and decay exponentially with depth, so that at a depth of about one half
of the wave length there is very little effect due to surface waves. Because of this
currents tend to dominate over waves for deepwater developments.
In shallow water the paths are elliptical, as shown above. At the seabed, the particle
motion is purely horizontal, with the results that wave induced seabed currents are high,
with no bottom boundary layer. More pronounced asymmetry occurs with a net
displacement of particles in the direction of wave propagation.

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Airy wave theory uses a sine function to represent the surface of the sea. It is the
simplest wave theory, but it is applicable in many circumstances and it is widely used.
Airy wave theory involves an iterative solution to find the wavelength. The equations
then give the horizontal and vertical velocities and accelerations as sinusoidal functions
of horizontal distance x and time t. These sinusoidal variations with x and t are normally
replaced by a single parameter - wave phase angle .
Because a typical velocity boundary layer does not develop for wave induced seabed
currents, the normal approach is to determine the design parameters at the top of the
pipe (e.g. peak velocity and acceleration) and apply these values to the current over the
exposed area of pipe.

Fig.5.66-Airy wave theory

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Airy theory transforms wave properties: surface seabed

gT 2
Lo
2
Need to find: actual wavelength:
2d 2
L Lo tanh
L

L = wavelength ; Lo= deepwater wavelength (d/L 0.5); g = 9.81 m/s2; T = wave period
x = horizontal distance; t = time; d = water depth.
The water particle velocities and acceleration are determined by applying the Airy wave
equations. The second term in each of the above equation is the phase angle as
described in the followings..
The maximum wave induced water particle velocity and water particle acceleration occur
of a cycle out-of-phase.
Design codes such as DNV RP E305 provide graphical means of determining velocity
and acceleration directly from wave period, wave height and depth information.
Note that z is referenced from the mean water level and will be negative when
measured downwards towards the seabed.
Equations:

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z d
cosh 2

H
L x t

UW
cos2
T
d L T
sinh 2 L

z d

cosh
2

dU 2 2 H
L x t

sin 2
dt
T2
d L T
sinh 2 L

L = wavelength; H = wave height; T = wave period; z = vertical distance from mean level
x = horizontal distance from crest; t = time shift from crest; d = water depth.
The normal area of interest in subsea pipeline engineering is in close proximity to the
seabed. The applicability of Airy wave theory is generally better at the seabed than
closer to the surface, which enables it to be used with caution beyond the domain
described above. Having established the velocity contributions due to waves we now
need to consider the effect of steady currents.
Steady currents develop a boundary layer due to the viscous forces in the water and the
boundary flow condition of zero flow at the seabed.
Seabed currents in design data are frequently given at 5 m above the seabed. The
location of the pipeline in the velocity boundary layer lowers the effective velocity seen
by the pipe. The approach used is to integrate the velocity over the height of the pipe to
give an effective steady current.
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Fig.5.67-Other wave theories

Two approaches to finding the current at the pipe are shown above. The 1/7th power
law predicts the current at a height z based on the readings from the current meter (a
reference velocity Ur at a height zr). Often this is fed into the stability calculation as the
current prediction at the level of the top of the pipe.
The second formula is an average current over the height of the pipe and is modified to
take account of the effect of the seabed roughness z0. The rougher the seabed, the
thicker the boundary layer and the lower the average velocity over the pipe height.

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Fig.5.68-Currents in boundary layer

The loads due to the water particles can be classified into three types: drag, inertia and
lift.

Fig.5.69-Hydrodynamic loads

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Drag
Drag is caused by the flow of a viscous fluid past a bluff body. The drag is mainly the
result of the high pressure in front of the pipe and the low pressure region in the wake
behind the pipe. The drag is influenced by the width of the wake and also by the wave
action. The effect of waves is that the wake from the previous 1/2 wave cycle is swept
back over the pipe again.
Inertia
Waves produce cyclic loadings on the water particles in the water column. These cyclic
loads accelerate and decelerate the water particles in both the horizontal and vertical
directions. Where a body sits within the water flow, it experiences the loads that would
have been exerted on the water that would have occupied the volume of the body.
Lift
Lift is produced in the same way as flow over an airfoil. The presence of the seabed
introduces an asymmetry between the flow over the top of the pipe and the flow
underneath. This causes slower flow (or no flow) underneath the pipeline (high
pressure) and higher velocities over the top (low pressure), resulting in lift.
Loads by Morisons equations:
Drag:
FD 0.5C D DV 2
Inertia:

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C M a
FM
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Lift:

FL 0.5C L DV 2

Typical pipe on seabed Drag CD= 0.7, Inertia CM = 3.29, Lift CL= 0.9.
When the water particle velocities are known the loads on the pipe are calculated using
Morisons equations, as shown above. The combined wave and current velocities and
wave accelerations are input into the above equations where:
CD = Drag coefficient of pipe; CM = Inertia coefficient of pipe; CL = Lift coefficient of
pipe; = Density of seawater; D = Overall diameter; V = Total current and wave
vertical velocity; a = Wave particle acceleration.
There is a phase difference of 90 between the maximum water particle velocity and
acceleration. The maximum lift and drag occur when the inertia load is zero and the
maximum inertia load occurs when lift is at a minimum.
The lift, drag and inertia coefficients are empirically determined, and vary depending on
the flow conditions. The selection of suitable coefficients is discussed in the following
slides.
The magnitude of drag and lift forces depends on the flow boundary layer and the level
of turbulence.
-Lift and drag coefficients are affected by:
The Reynolds Number of the flow: Re = U OD/, where = kinematic viscosity and is
approximately 9.8 E-7 m2/s (1.06 E-5 ft2/s)
The pipe roughness (Bare steel / concrete / marine growth shown above)
The Keulegan-Carpenter Number of waves: Kc = Umax T/OD
Any embedment of the pipe into the seabed
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Fig.5.70-Hydrodynamic coefficients

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The figure in the above slide illustrates the change in drag coefficient in steady flow for
changing Reynolds number and pipe roughness.
The following slide shows changing drag in wave flow.
Experimental research performed in the 1980s provides the best source of data is
Hydrodynamic Forces on Pipelines - Model Tests, Final Report DHI report to the AGA
PR-170-185.
-Inertia coefficients consists of two components
1 + added mass coefficient
Cm= 1 + Ca
-Value of Ca determined experimentally
depends on height above seabed
reduces with distance above the seabed
Ca 2.29 at the seabed
Ca1.1 more than 3 diameters above seabed
Cm3.29 at the seabed
The inertia load results from the differential pressures created by the wave. These
differential pressures accelerate the water particles as the wave passes. The inertia
loads on the pipe are increased because the movement of water close to the pipe is
restricted by the presence of the pipe. Consequently additional load from this water is
transmitted to the pipe.
There are two components:
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Consider a stationary cylinder of fluid in the middle of a volume of that fluid. If the
volume of fluid is accelerated sideways, the cylinder of fluid experiences an acceleration
force in the same direction. This gives an inertia coefficient of 1. The second
component is due to the additional acceleration of fluid particles in order to pass around
the cylinder, which results in a coefficient greater than 1. For a pipeline on the seabed, it
gives an inertia force roughly equal to 2.29. These inertia components add up to give
3.29. Inertia coefficients vary depending on wave properties.
-Seabed resistance - simple approach
R = (WS-FL)
-Submerged weight
WS= Self weight - Buoyancy
Self weight: (contents, steel, coating, concrete, marine growth)
Buoyancy based on overall OD
-Seabed friction
Coulomb friction
Typically = 0.2 - 0.4 clay, = 0.5 - 0.9 sand
In a simple analysis, the seabed frictional resistance can be represented by coulomb
friction. The resistance is therefore the friction coefficient multiplied by the vertical
reaction between the pipeline and the seabed. As the lift force fluctuates through the
wave cycle, the resistance will fluctuate.
Normally pipelines will require some form of stabilisation. Reelable concrete- coated
pipelines are not currently an option. Concrete coating or a thick steel wall are the
normal means of stabilising non-reeled pipelines. Concrete aggregate has a density of
about 2400 kg/m3 (150 lb/ft3), but by addition of haematite (iron ore) a density of 3040
kg/m3 (190 lb/ft3) or even higher can be achieved.
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Concrete coating is normally applied either using the wrap or the impingement method.
Coating thickness tolerance is normally not better than 5 mm, hence there are
tolerances and uncertainty on the pipe weight, although testing following fabrication
usually includes measuring the mass of the pipe. Water absorption is normally quoted
by weight of concrete

Fig.5.71-Stabilizing parameters

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The presence of a trench has two beneficial effects. Firstly, the trench may provide
some degree of hydrodynamic shielding. A number of research programmes have
investigated the effects of trenches on hydrodynamic coefficients (refer to bibliography).
Secondly, the lateral resistance is increased because the pipeline has to move up the
gradient of the trench side.
In the simple force balance analysis, this can be accounted for by using an effective
friction coefficient as shown in the equation above.
= slope angle from horizontal; = soil friction coefficient; eff = effective seabed friction
coefficient

Fig.5.72-Trench effects

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State of the art stability requirements allow the pipeline to move laterally up to 20 m (66
ft). This is subject to the pipeline not being within 500 m (0.31 miles) of any subsea
obstructions or facilities.
When the pipe is first laid on the seabed, a small amount of settling or embedment
occurs. This could be evaluated considering the pipe as an infinitely long foundation,
which would show that the embedment is small.
Each wave half-cycle pushes the pipe against the small soil berm created by the pipe
resting on the seabed. As wave loads gradually increase during a storm build-up, the
forces displace the pipe back and forth against the soil berms, gradually pushing them
and enlarging them. As a consequence, the pipe moves further down into the seabed.
The theory is that embedment progresses until the pipe is sufficiently embedded to
resist movement. It is possible, however, that the pipe does not embed as fast as the
storm build-up. The pipe may then break-out of the berms and move. If this movement
is within the allowable levels, the pipe may still be considered stable.
Seabed soils are classified extremely simply for pipeline stability design. Soils are either
sands or clays (if they have cohesive strength).
The pipeline submerged weight and design loadings change for different stages of the
pipeline life. The design analysis needs to consider all stages of the pipeline life.
For production flowlines, the density of the contents changes as the field is produced.
This can be due to various reasons:

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Fig.5.73-Pipe embedment

Possible changes due to an increased GOR include using the pipeline to blow down the
gas cap
Water cut can increase
Late field life can result in lower pressure in the reservoir, resulting in lower density
production fluids. This is especially the case if gas lift is used to assist production
When pipelines need to be designed to withstand extremely high hydrodynamic loads,
burial of the line by trenching and backfilling is the best option. When trenching is not an
option, pre-cutting a trench with a suction dredger or blasting can sometimes be used,
depending on environmental impact.
If large sections of a line need to be stabilised then (in the absence of trenching as an
option) rock-dumping would normally be preferred. The material, i.e. rock is cheap but
there are high mobilisation costs for the rock-dump vessel. Post-dump survey of rockdumped sections is normally required, again increasing costs.
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Checks need to be carried out on the possible damage to the pipeline during the rockdumping operation and if large diameter rock is required for stability then a smaller
diameter rock may need to be dumped as an armour layer to protect the pipeline.
Concrete mattresses are widely used to add stability and/or protection to pipelines. Their
advantages are that they are:
Cheap
Simple
Readily available - they can be taken out on a DSV and used if needed
Movable - they can be moved to another place or removed if necessary
The disadvantages are:
They may be removed by trawlers
They may not be stable in severe sea-states - the edges may lift and the mattress be
removed from the pipeline
They are not attached to the pipeline, which may move from under the mattress

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Fig.5.74-Concrete matress

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A one directional mattress (or log type) is shown here.


Mattresses can be
sized/weighted to suit a specific application. For reasons noted previously, the stability
of the mattress itself must be considered. This can be improved by using fronded
mattresses, as shown below.

Fig.5.75-Fronded matress

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Fronds can be installed on their own or can be included in concrete mattresses. They
work by encouraging the deposition of sediment, thereby building up a berm of material.
As a consequence there needs to be sediment in the water for them to work, and the
more sediment there is, the better they will work. Typical frond heights will be of the
order of one metre.
The berm will build up rapidly where there is sediment transport and a metre high berm
could be built up in about one month for a typical sandy seabed. For silty seabeds, the
berm takes longer to establish, perhaps three to four months. Once formed the berm is
compact (due to the agitation of the fronds) and durable.
The creation of a berm over the pipeline gives protection from impacts and will also
increase the thermal insulation of the pipeline. The effects of the resultant change in the
pipeline temperature may need to be assessed.
Anchors and rock bolts are also used for stabilising pipelines. They are reliant on the
seabed being able to sustain lateral and vertical loads from the pipeline.
Rock bolts are particularly used where the seabed is rocky and trenching cannot be
done. Several designs exist and are used frequently on the Australian NWS. Bolts are
installed after pipelay at a spacing of about 20 m (66 ft). They have to be installed by
divers and are an extremely expensive solution.
Anchors are also diver-installed and can either be pushed or screwed into the ground.
They work better in cohesive soils such as clay. They are more commonly used on
landlines.
Other options include burial by anchor chain or installation of doghouse tunnels.
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Introducing changes in the stability design of a pipeline is a trade-off between design


optimisation and complexity. More changes enable the stability design of each section
to be better optimised. However, changes in design complicate stockpiling and
construction. Delivery to the laybarge of different thicknesses of concrete-coated pipe
must be in the correct order. It has been known for pipe to be transferred in the wrong
order, with the high day-rate of the laybarge forcing pipelay to proceed with the pipe out
of order. Remedial stabilisation may then be required.
Short pipelines (less than 5 km (3.1 miles)) would normally not have any changes in
design along their length.

Fig.5.76-Anchor/Rock bolts

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Fig.5.77-Pipeline stabilisation

Normally Hs is used with the force balance technique for long pipelines. However, this
method is used in conjunction with Hmax for spools and jumpers which may see all of
Hmax

Fig.5.78-Force balance

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DNV 76 approach, DHI, PRCI / AGA Level 1


Check over 360 wave phase angle
Sine law for directionality of wave & current
Output is a FOS on stability for a given wave (codes suggest 1.1 minimum)
Equation of stability:
W FL
FOS S
FD FM
The most detailed and complex approach is to do a dynamic analysis. This considers
the pipeline as a compliant structure with short crested waves acting randomly along its
length. Localised movement of the pipeline is determined and resultant strains
calculated. Limiting criteria are based on a maximum permissible movement, for
example 20 m (66 ft), and operating stresses.
The dynamic analysis requires the use of finite element analysis. The analysis includes
random waves, a long compliant pipeline model and a realistic seabed resistance
model, including the effects of embedment, ie increased resistance as the pipeline
moves.
Dynamic analysis is permitted by both the DNV RP E305 and the PRCI/AGA design
methods. The DNV code specifies that it may be done but does not define in great
detail how.
Software is available for the PRCI/AGA Level 3 method. PRCI/AGA Level 3 software is
best applied as a verification tool to several key cases to confirm the bulk of the stability
analysis performed with Level 2 software.
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Good environmental and geotechnical data is required to warrant the use of PRCI/AGA
Level 3; however, this is often not available.
The software accounts for the effect of the spread in heading of waves, which serves to
lower the loads on the pipe, as well as the fact that when the wave passes the pipe at
an angle, the wave crest passes the pipe over a finite time and distributes the loading.
The quasi-static approach is a hybrid of the force-balance and the dynamic analysis. It
uses calibration factors derived from dynamic analyses to remove some of the
conservatism of the simple force-balance approach.
RP E305 is the most widely used stability design code. Incorporated into Excel or
Mathcad, it can be an expedient tool to consider large numbers of permutations. As a
general rule, RP E305 provides a slightly conservative stability design by comparison
with fully dynamic 3D pipe stability analysis, e.g. PRCI/AGA Level 3.
The design methods may use either significant wave height or maximum wave height.
Dynamic and quasi-static methods will usually use Hsig as the design wave. In dynamic
analyses the significant wave is one of the parameters used to define the wave
spectrum. The original DNV 76 rules defined the use of Hsig as it was recognised that
waves were short crested and that the resultant hydrodynamic forces would be
representative of the average force acting on the pipeline.
Maximum waves are used in analysis of pipelines that must not move. For example, a
pipeline in a trench must not be allowed to move as its stability is dependent on it
remaining in the trench.

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The two design guidelines most commonly used are the DNV RP E305 and the
PRCI/AGA guidelines. Both methods are suitable for pipelines on open seabed but do
not include trenched pipelines.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) provides the capability to model fluid flow around
subsea objects in a similar way to that of FEA in modelling stresses and strains in solid
objects. The analysis enables lift, drag and inertia forces to be determined.
CFD can model wave or steady currents, and can model and predict vortex shedding.
The primary applications of the software are for the stability design of unusual
geometries such as mattresses and piggyback pipelines.

Fig.5.80-CFD

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