PIPELINE MATERIAL GRADE SELECTION

JANUARY 31, 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT

General Principle
The steels applied in the offshore oil and gas industry vary from carbon steels (taken
from American Petroleum Institute standards- Grade B to Grade X 70 and higher) to
exotic steels (i.e. duplex). The following factors are to be considered in the selection
of material grades:
 Cost;
 Resistance to corrosion effects;
 Weight requirement;
 Weldability
The higher the grade of steel (up to exotic steels) the more expensive per volume
(weight). However, as the cost of producing high grade steels has reduced, the
general trend in the industry is to use these steel of higher grades.

Fabrication, Installation, and Operating Cost Considerations
The choice of material grade used for the pipelines will have cost implications on:

 Fabrication of pipeline;
 Installation;
 Operation.
Fabrication
The cost of steels increases for the higher grades. However, the increase in grade
may permit a reduction of pipeline wall thickness. This results in the overall reduction
of fabrication cost when using a high grade steel compared with a lower grade steel.

Figure 1. Fabrication
http://www.cecventura.com/images/fab_copy.jpg
Installation
It is difficult to weld high grade steels, and consequently lay rate is lower compared
to laying the lower grade steels. However, should the pipeline be laid in very deep
water and a vessel is laying at its maximum lay tension, then the use of high grade
steel may be more suitable, as the reduction in pipe weight would result in lower lay
tension. In general, from an installation aspect, the lower grade steel pipelines cost
less to install.

Material Grade Optimization Optimization of material grade is rigorously applied today based on experience gained from the past 20 years of pipeline design. – H2S induced corrosion. Figure 2.com/public/Resize%20of%20Copy%20of%20S_lay_image. the operator is normally involved in the final selection of material grade. and the technical advances in linepipe manufacturing and welding. Qiang. USA: Elsevier Inc. Yong and Bai. Designing for no corrosion defect may be performed by either material selection or modifying operation procedures (i. the pipeline may be subjected to: – Corrosion (internal) – Internal erosion. 2005. The optimization is based on minimization of fabrication and installation cost while meeting operating requirements.e. . Source: Bai.jpg Operation Depending on the product being transported in the pipeline. Pipeline Installation http://www. through use of chemical corrosion inhibitors).allseas. Subsea Pipelines And Risers. As the selection of material grade will have a significant impact on the operating life of the pipeline.