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While welding repairs or hot tapping onshore pipelines is a common occurrence,
welding repairs on subsea pipelines is most often never even considered. However,
the risks involved with welding subsea in-service pipelines underwater is present and
needs to be managed by ensuring that, when conducted welding is performed in a
reproducible and consistent manner.

The fact that electric arc technology could operate underwater has been

known for over a 100 years. The first ever underwater welding was carried out by
British Admiralty Dockyard for sealing leaking ship rivets below the water line in the
early 1900s and the specific waterproof electrodes and the methods to use
underwater were developed in Holland by ‘Van der Willingen’ in 1946.
Increasing the underwater welding practice
In recent years, the number of offshore structures, pipelines, and platforms being
installed in deeper waters has increased. Some of these pipelines and structures will
experience failures. Any repair for these on location will require the use of
underwater welding.
When confronted with the issue of underwater welding, we often question: “Why
should we consider underwater welding in the first place?” The immediate answer is
“Why not?”

It’s true; it is not a commonly-used technique and it does require meticulous
planning, availability of highly-skilled tradesmen and tenacity to be successful. Even
then, it is still a viable technique.

If the issues are analyzed, there is no valid reason not to consider underwater
welding, especially if production losses due to outage for repairs is punitive. Sunsea
welding generally needs specialized welding knowledge combined with diving skills,
which is more demanding than run-of-the-mill commercial divers can offer. Subsea
welding covers areas of repairing pipelines, offshore oil platforms and ships.

Subsea welding also reduces the cost for the company by directly carrying out the
welding work on location, saving time lost in production to the company.

Furthermore, because of the offshore exploration, drilling, and recovery of gas and oil
in deeper waters today, it is necessary to have the capability to repair pipelines and
the portion of drill rigs and production platforms which are deep underwater.

Risks and precautions
Welding underwater can be a dangerous profession if precautions aren’t taken. The
main risks are electric shock and the possibility of producing in the arc mixtures of
hydrogen and oxygen in pockets, which might set off an explosion. The other
common danger is breathing nitrogen in the air mix, which is absorbed into the blood
but not metabolized by the body at depths under pressure. This could turn into
bubbles on ascent and paralyze the diver. Curiously, the risk of drowning is not

considered in commercial diving because that is the first hurdle to overcome in this
The quantity of dives, dive repetitiveness, depth of the operations, time spent
underwater and the exhausting nature of a specific task increase these risks
significantly. Appropriate safety measures are provided to the diver via emergency air
or gas supply, stand-by divers and decompression chambers. The diving-related
health and safety procedures are managed by strict governing guidelines and work

When subsea welding is completed, both the welder and the structures being welded
are at risk. The welder has to be very careful to avoid receiving an electric shock. For
this, adequate precaution is taken by insulating the welder and limiting the voltage of
welding sets. Continuous control of hydrogen and oxygen build-up is managed by
removal and kept away from the arc to minimise any potential explosion.

Lastly, the welder’s time under water is controlled by using saturation diving
chambers and regular rest periods in between. Inspection of an underwater weld is
very difficult and complicated when compared to surface welding, but as it is the only
controlling process of the quality of the weld, it is always done. The weld is inspected
very carefully to confirm that no defects remain.

There are many underwater welding schools located in different parts of the world,
including Australia, to train commercial divers. Historically, underwater welding was
restricted to salvage operations and emergency repair work with limited depths of
less than 9 m.

Wet welding – the way to go
There are two well-developed major categories of underwater welding process: one is
welding in a wet environment; the other is welding in a dry environment.
Working underwater to weld serves to provide a number of benefits. Firstly, there is
no need to pull the structure out from under water to perform work. In addition, many
structures like oil rigs and ship hulls may become damaged at sea, necessitating the
need for immediate work below the surface.

Because of the poor quality and difficulty in the process of welding underwater in the
past, welding in the wet environment was used primarily for emergency repairs in
shallow water. For example, to weld a patch for short duration until a complete repair
could be performed in dry docks. With more experience and the advent of special
welding rods and the persistence of some ambitious individuals and companies
improved results were achieved, which has made wet welding a common occurrence.

Today’s underwater arc welding is accomplished in much the same manner as
ordinary arc welding the only variations being that the electrode holder and cable is
well-insulated to eliminate any possible current leakage and electrolysis of the
surrounding water and the coated water-proof electrodes are used so that the
electrodes do not get wet.

The most commonly used wet welding technique is shielded metal arc welding,
informally known as stick welding. The main differences in wet welding equipment
versus onshore welding equipment is that wet welding uses DC current only.

AC is not used as it can electrocute the diver and it is difficult to maintain a welding
arc underwater with AC. The inclusion of a single or dual circuit breaker switch and

The pipe itself represents the key member of the repair assembly with consequential limitations such as. the repair and repair preparedness strategy depends on this. The following steps have to be taken to select an appropriate repair method:  Detailed selection criteria – this can be location type and strength requirement of sleeve. Mechanical means are used to connect fittings such as sleeves/couplings and T- branches to the pipeline and welding subsequently used to make the repair permanent. and deviations in shape. Couplings connect pipes by direct attachment to the pipe walls via mechanical means and welded. . sleeve design and fabrication mechanical attachment requirements. handling requirements. Avoiding pipeline damage Pipeline damage after installation may be caused by internal and external corrosion. Typical pipeline repair methods Typical repair methods. temperature and flow characteristics. The extent of possible damage will vary from insignificant to a fully buckled or parted pipeline. Fittings for sub-sea repair must be installed with caution to reduce the likelihood of damage. Motor generator welding machines are most suitable for underwater welding. pipe wall strength.  Prevention of hydrogen cracking concerns factors. within a factor of safety as defined in the standard. Coupling strength should be sufficient in resisting stresses from all relevant loads. depth. T-branch connections and isolation plugs. hydrogen-induced stress cracking. These fittings include: couplings. as described in DNV RP F113. the use of double-insulated cables protect the diver from electrocution. factors affecting burn through such as wall thickness. are to use fittings for repairs and tie-in of submarine pipelines. anchors. surface irregularities. machined pieces of additional material that is welded to the pipe ends prior to installation. Flange joins pipes via thick. Pipeline isolation plugs or smart plugs are pumped with the pipeline fluid to the repair site and then activated to form an isolating barrier that can resist differential pressure. and. but not limited to. unstable seabed conditions. A pressurized pipeline is machined open to allow fluid flow through the branch. and dropped objects from the surface. The power source should be a direct current machine rated at 300 or 400 amperes. and operational parameters such as pressure. Clamps are fitted externally to the pipeline to prevent leaks or add strength. heat input.  A pipeline repair procedure manual. The section on the strength of the mechanical attachments is also applicable to pipeline recovery tools. seabed conditions and the design of the pipeline itself. This manual should include:  Avoiding burn-through. The risk of damage depends on the intensity of surface activities such as ship transport and offshore operations. Consequently. clamps. Hot-tap T-branch connections are fitted externally to the pipeline assembly even during operation.

 Inspection and testing. “Application of Underwater Welding Processes For Subsea Pipelines”. pigs sweep the line by scraping the sides of the pipeline and pushing debris ahead.  Proper electrode handling. predicting required heat input. which includes a launcher and receiver. However.  Welder/procedure qualification. As the travel along the pipeline. significant amounts of time and resources are still being applied to test and research programs to provide proven solutions for new repair applications. 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT While buildup in a pipeline can cause transmittal slows or even plugging of the pipeline. inter-pass temperatures. These will in turn provide the worldwide pipeline community with the correct answers and operational security required in the future. A form of flow assurance for oil and gas pipelines and flowlines. Vijay. Santos Online: http://pipeliner. Without interrupting flow. pre-heating and maintaining. Principal Integrity and QA Engineer. there are a number functions the pig can perform. The Australian Pipeliner — October 2011. pipeline pigging ensures the line is running smoothly. Usually cylindrical or spherical.  Code and regulatory requirements (changes to API 1104). Final thoughts My experience has shown that defects found in sub-sea pipelines can be permanently repaired by using mechanical intervention and underwater welding technology more safely. welding . Selecting an appropriate procedure – welding procedure options. Source: Vijayaraghavan. and.  Code requirements for weld deposition r_subsea_pipelines/063794/ PIPELINE HOW DOES PIPELINE PIGGING WORK? JANUARY 30. quickly and economically than any alternative technique. cracks or flaws in the line can be disastrous. pipeline pigs are introduced into the line via a pig trap. and control of heat-input level. or it can be towed by another device or cable. the pig is then forced through it by product flow. The maintenance tool.  Welder training. from clearing the line to inspecting the interior.

The other states that a leather-bound pig was being sent through the pipeline. Today. Foam pig There are two main hypotheses for why the process is called “pipeline pigging. Finally. Engineers must consider a number of criteria when selecting the proper pig for a pipeline.” although neither have been proved. Also. and specialty pigs are used to plug the line or isolate certain areas of the line. pipeline layout is integral to consider when choosing a pig. Utility pigs are inserted into the pipeline to remove unwanted materials. Types of Pipeline Pigs Although first used simply to clear the line. Inline inspection pigs can also be used to examine the pipeline from the inside. Because every pipeline is different. the purpose of pipeline pigging has evolved with the development of technologies. such as wax. One theory is that “pig” stands for Pipeline Intervention Gadget. the leather squeaked against the sides of the pipe. sounding like a squealing pig. pipeline pigging is used during all phases of the life of a pipeline. and while it passed. First. there is not a set schedule for pigging a line. it’s important to define what task the pig will be performing. size and operating conditions are important to regard. Lastly. from the line. . gel pigs are a liquid chemical pigging system. although the quantity of debris collected in a pipeline and the amount of wear and tear on it can increase the frequency of pigging.

bends. foam pigs. Types of utility pigs include mandrel pigs. . are used to isolate a section of the pipeline for maintenance work to be performed. MFL inspects the pipeline by sending magnetic flux into the walls of the pipe. curvature. and the utility pig is used to scrape it away. as well as serve as an interface between two different products within a pipeline. as well as corrosion or metal loss. solid cast pigs and spherical pigs Pipeline pig Inspection pigs. corrosion. The pig plug keeps the pipeline pressure in the line by stopping up the pipeline on either side of where the remedial work is being done. A combination of gelled liquids. and the pipeline is pigged before production commences. detecting leakage. The type of information gathered by smart pigs includes the pipeline diameter. gel pigs can be used in conjunction with conventional pigs or by themselves. Additionally. Inspection pigs utilize two methods to gather information about the interior condition of the pipeline: magnetic flux leakage (MFL) and ultrasonics (UT). or flaws in the pipeline. Debris can accumulate during construction. also referred to as in-line inspection pigs or smart pigs. sealing pigs are used to remove liquids from the pipeline. Ultrasonic inspection directly measures the thickness of the pipe wall by using ultrasonic sounds to measure the amount of time it takes an echo to return to the sensor Specialty pigs. utility pigs are used to clean the pipeline of debris or seal the line. Also. debris can build up on the pipeline. there are a . temperature and pressure. Pumped through the pipeline. gather information about the pipeline from within. such as plugs. Debris after pigging Similar to cleaning your plumbing line.

S. fires and earthquakes. According to the U. and pitting corrosion (Figure 1). including hurricanes. leading to an average cost of $3 million annually in property damage. Department of Transportation Office of Pipeline Safety. Even if corrosion is considered. dewatering and condensate removal. Because there now exist multi-diameter pipelines. Typical corrosion mechanisms include uniform corrosion. unanticipated changes in the environment in which the . In the United States.number of uses for gel pigs. debris removal. Similar findings have been made by studies conducted in the United Kingdom. as well. floods. stress corrosion cracking.rigzone.asp?insight_id=310&c_id=19 (30 January 2014) PIPELINE CORROSION CONTROL IN OIL AND GAS PIPELINES JANUARY 30. the annual cost associated with corrosion damage of structural components is greater than the combined annual cost of natural disasters. hydrotesting. storms. and Japan. including product separation. as well as removing a stuck pig. as well as several fatalities. The need to manage and mitigate corrosion damage has rapidly increased as materials are placed in more extreme environments and pushed beyond their original design life. internal corrosion caused approximately 15% of all reportable incidents affecting gas transmission pipelines over the past several years. dual and multi-diameter pigs have been developed. 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT RFEC system for inspection of unpiggable pipelines. Source:Online: http://www. Corrosion damage and failure are not always considered in the design and construction of many engineered systems.

monitoring. they do not directly predict remaining life. Traditional NDE methods involve the use of pipeline inspection gauges (PIGs). Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and inspection tools are critical to assessing the integrity of pipelines. cost-effective system integrity requires an integrated approach based on the use of inspection. however. Carefully validated computer models. This system uses remote field eddy current (RFEC). forensic evaluation. mitigation. Ensuring long-term. and was designed for use with the Carnegie Mellon Explorer II . Researchers at SwRI have developed an inspection system for inspecting pipelines that cannot accommodate traditional PIGs (Figure 2). in general. can lead to through-wall penetration (inset). on the other hand. such as in the stainless steel pipe shown here. Mitigation (corrosion prevention) methods and forensic evaluations play a key role in materials selection.structure operates can result in unexpected corrosion damage. Moreover. Inspections and monitoring using sensors can provide valuable information regarding past and present exposure conditions but. assessment and design. All of these corrosion-control elements represent long- standing areas of research and development at Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®). combined effects of corrosion and mechanical damage. their accuracy is highly dependent on the quality of the computer model and associated inputs. which travel through the inside of a pipe and detect the presence of mechanical damage or corrosion. and environmentally assisted material damage can result in unexpected failures due to the reduced load carrying capacity of the structure. and prediction. Figure 1: Localized corrosion in process piping. can predict remaining life. Pipeline Inspection A significant portion of many pipeline systems cannot be inspected through traditional methods.

such as elbows. SwRI has also developed a guided-wave inspection technology that can be used to inspect pipelines and other structural components such as tubes. Figure 2. which is a significant advantage of guided-wave inspection systems that use an array of piezoelectric sensors. The sensor arms retract to accommodate line restrictions. However. the presence of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been found to reduce the fatigue life of offshore riser materials by approximately a factor of 10. Figure 3a shows a servohydraulic load frame setup with a custom-designed test cell and redundant H2S containment systems. RFEC system for inspection of unpiggable pipelines. tees and gate valves.Robot. cables and plates. this technology can be adapted to other transport mechanisms. permanent installation of the sensors to perform structural health monitoring is a practical option. and in the presence of a notch (that acts as an initiation point for corrosion fatigue) the fatigue performance can be decreased by a factor of 100. Because the sensors are low profile and relatively low cost. The system can expand to inspect 6-8 inch (150-200 mm) diameter lines. The sensors attached to the pipe can accommodate a range of pipeline diameters. For example. The Magnetostrictive Sensor (MsS) inspection system uses inexpensive ribbon cables and thin magnetostrictive strips that are bonded to the component for inspection. rods. Full-thickness . Corrosion Fatigue Corrosion can degrade the mechanical integrity of a material through chemical attack. SwRI has developed customized test facilities for characterizing the performance of pipeline materials in corrosive environments.

This unique test facility provides the capability to quantify inter-related corrosion-fatigue mechanisms. .fatigue specimens (Figure 3b) are machined from riser pipes to preserve through- thickness residual stresses and to capture welds in joined pipe. and provide data for calibrating and validating corrosion-fatigue computer models. SwRI recently developed a high pressure. In this facility the underlying fatigue crack growth behavior of riser materials subject to HPHT H2S (and other aggressive) environments can be quantified (Figure 3c). high temperature (HPHT) corrosion fatigue test facility.


One such capability is performing the environmental exposure on the API 16C – Flexible Choke and Kill Systems. API. gas decompression and test fluid exposure at the rated temperature (Figure 4). . These include determining the effects of H2S. SwRI staffers are highly experienced in designing. b) One-meter-long specimen. CO2. In most cases. the testing environment consists of a simulated process or reasonable worst-case scenario.Figure 3: a) Servohydraulic load frame with H2S corrosion fatigue test. localized corrosion or stress corrosion cracking (SSC)/sulfide stress cracking (SSC). ASTM. c) high-pressure high-temperature corrosion fatigue test. constructing and operating specialty tests to mimic a specific operation that does not conform to standardized methods. assessing material performance due to corrosion and stress corrosion cracking is of increasing importance. or ISO standards and test materials are analyzed for mass loss. Testing conforms to NACE. oxygen. which evaluates the effects of gas permeation. and microbiological organisms on corrosion/cracking of pipeline materials. Corrosion Exposure Testing As new materials are developed and environmental conditions change. SwRI has a well-established corrosion testing facility to perform HPHT testing in extremely aggressive environments.

flow characteristics and materials. and water intrusions. In either case. A four-step. gas quality upsets. travels inside a gas pipeline detecting the presence of water. During this step. environmental and material uncertainties can lead to situations where excavation is performed unnecessarily. The wireless mobile sensor. The sensor body is an injection-molded polymer designed to survive high hydrostatic . corrosion failures.  Development of the dry gas internal corrosion direct assessment (ICDA) standard. tiered approach is used by SwRI. NACE SP 0206-2006. These predictions can help support the development of practical guidelines to assist the pipeline industry in mitigating existing. external corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. and to predict corrosion damage. rate-controlling variables or groups of variables are identified. failure and the most likely location of corrosion in oil and gas pipelines. Figure 4: Photograph of the API 16C – Flexible Choke and Kill line testing Corrosion Prediction Computer modeling is useful to help understand the mechanisms of internal corrosion. sensing and monitoring technologies have been developed to enable remote interrogation of the internal corrosion of pipelines. The tiered modeling approach has been successfully used for several recent applications:  Predicting corrosion in coating disbonded regions with and without the effect of flow. The system communicates through a distributed wireless sensor network. Corrosion Sensing And Monitoring While ICDA models can provide general guidelines to identify when internal inspections should occur. These simplified models contain only the necessary physics and the values of the corresponding inputs to predict the performance of the system. To address this. the third step is to develop simplified models. or water exists but is not predicted. To simplify use of the model in practical applications. The end goal of the overall modeling approach is step 4.  Prediction of the most likely conditions for internal corrosion due to variability in operations.  Prediction of the most probable corrosion locations in a long underground pipeline due to variability in elevation. development of guidelines for practical applications of the model. Validation of the model against field and laboratory data is performed in the second step to ensure the correct physics are embedded in the model. which forms the foundation of the approach. or preventing future. The first step is to develop comprehensive fundamental models. costs associated with inspection or failure can be significant.

SwRI has developed a suite of deposition-coating solutions for addressing a range of erosion. SwRI recently developed a technique for applying DLC coatings to the inner surface of pipeline segments. As noted. amorphous/nano-crystalline structures are obtained. A number of deposition techniques have also been developed. Laboratory tests have shown that the erosion resistance of these coatings can increase the lifetime by a few to more than 100 times as compared to uncoated substrates. Deposition Coatings The deposition of material coatings can be effectively employed to protect surfaces of components from wear. . SwRI has used this method to monitor the corrosion of a variety of materials. The corrosion resistance for Ti-Si-C-N coated samples has been shown to be comparable to or better than the uncoated Ti-6Al-4V substrate. and won an R&D 100 award in 2009. vacuum-deposited Ti-Si- C-N nanocomposite coatings have been successfully used to protect important components from erosion. SwRI has developed a suite of corrosion sensing and monitoring devices. This program has evolved using internal IR&D funding from both SwRI and Aginova. The electrodes can be manufactured from a wide range of alloys and product forms. which show superior corrosion resistance in electrochemical tests. Multiple discrete elements or electrodes are used to replicate the material of interest. Forensic Evaluations Although a comprehensive corrosion-control program based on inspection. PEMS was originally developed for use on gas turbine compressor blades and vanes and steam turbine blades against solid particle erosion and liquid droplet erosion. For more severe environments. Microstructural analyses show that under certain deposition conditions. which already exhibits excellent corrosion resistance. corrosion and wear issues. which is sufficient for most applications where corrosion and erosion are possible. The multielectrode array sensor (MAS) probe is ideally suited for monitoring corrosion rates in process streams. The MAS probe measures corrosion rates by assessing the current flow between coupled electrodes. One example is magnetron sputtering. large-scale production of corrosion- resistant coatings using vacuum deposition techniques is possible (e. Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings can be produced using the plasma immersion ion deposition (PIID) process.g. Ti-Si-C-N based nanocomposite coatings deposited using the Plasma Enhanced Magnetron Sputtering (PEMS) process have shown high-hardness (>40GPa) and superior erosion and wear resistance. A variety of coatings have been studied including metals. Significant inspection and repair costs can be avoided with the use of tools such as these. The wireless mobile sensor and the MAS probe sensor are just two examples of corrosion sensing and monitoring technologies. abrasion and corrosion damage. where 20-30 µm thick Al-Ce-Co coatings are deposited on Al alloys and 1018 carbon steel. erosion and corrosion. Al-Co-Ce coatings and DLC coatings). In fact. monitoring and model predictions can be an effective means for controlling pipeline corrosion. ceramics and polymers. Inc. The coatings are very hard and dense and can be applied to many components for increased wear and erosion resistance.forces and impact on the pipeline walls while traveling along the pipe.

monitoring. Southwest Research Institute® San Antonio. validation of the predictions. they are effectively leaving money on the table. however. destructive evaluations. Page. increasing performance requirements. Popelar. Ronghua Wei (Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry). Hegeon Kwun and Gary Burkhardt (Staff Scientists. mitigation. calibration and. Marta Jakab and Gustavo Vasquez (Environmental Performance of Materials). sensors. but they cannot alone provide estimates of future performance. Acknowledgements The authors acknowledge the research collaborations and technical support of SwRI staff members Dr. Coulter and Richard A. Glenn M. and monitoring systems provide key information. More recently. Dante. When these occur. Thacker. our ability to model these fundamental mechanisms and predict the integrity of complex structures and systems has grown. Ashok Sabata. The authors also acknowledge the contributions of Dr.unexpected events or undocumented changes in operating conditions can still lead to premature pipeline failure. Experimental assessments of materials in extreme environments will always play a critical role in supporting material selection and design. and prediction. Summary Aging infrastructure. These models. forensic page=show (30 January 2014) PIPELINE PIPELINE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM ENHANCES INSPECTION RESULT JANUARY 30. Stephen Hudak (Material and Component Integrity). Steps can then be identified to mitigate future failures by eliminating recurrence of the event. which are a routine part of a forensic evaluation.pipelineandgasjournal. it is essential to perform a thorough forensic evaluation of the failure to determine the failure mechanism and its root cause. thereby helping to assure the integrity of aging systems. cost and safety are all driving the need for more comprehensive corrosion control. If such an event is not identified as the root cause of failure. Inspection tools. 237 No. 3 Online: http://www. James F. Elizabeth Trillo. Additionally. Source: By Ben H. most importantly. 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT Offshore operators often fail to fully benefit from their pipeline programs. Subsequent remedial actions can then be devised to counteract the effects of corrosion. In so doing. By coupling inspection. can be a valuable tool for validating the effectiveness of a corrosion-control program. By identifying the root cause of the failure. require information regarding initial conditions. Carl F. Sensor Systems and Non-destructive Evaluation). TX | March 2010 Vol. the pipeline operator will know if this resulted from an event or operating condition outside of the general conditions included in the corrosion-control program. Dr. Kent E. a comprehensive corrosion-control program can be realized. and Steven Clay (Environmental Performance of Materials). because an effective pipeline . Aginova Inc. the role of computer modeling is playing a more prominent role. Dr. Fengmei Song. Light. Drs. operational conditions. As our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of environmental effects on materials improves. the results of the evaluation can be instrumental in identifying necessary changes to the corrosion- control program.

. Distilled to its essence. It also helps to assure greater value for money on inspection and maintenance programs. incidents. improves risk management and preparedness. At the bottom line. and promotes operational confidence. and shutdowns that typically occur on less well-managed pipelines. enhances corporate governance. PIMS is a comprehensive risk-assessment program. HSE problems can raise those costs to another level. extend the life of pipeline assets and significantly improves business performance and the return on investment. A well designed and managed pipeline integrity program reduces scheduled and unscheduled downtime and improves HSE performance.integrity management systems (PIMS) captures all the benefits of an inspection and enhances the value of an asset throughout its lifecycle. drives a more efficient stewardship of assets and resources. A fully implemented PIMS can prevent many of the failures. The costs associated with pipeline failures or unplanned shutdowns are high in terms of lost production and repairs. yields auditable data to demonstrate regulatory and internal compliance. it helps to increase uptime and productivity.

This picture. A pipeline integrity management system (PIMS) captures all the benefits of an inspection and enhances . from an ROV inspection in the Gulf of Mexico. shows anode wastage with approximately 50% deterioration.

equipment malfunction. and becomes a continuous process in an ongoing PIMS program. which may be conducted with the assistance of risk-based mechanical integrity (RBMI) software. including complete inspection records. Where good documentation is available for an existing pipeline. such as inspection and maintenance reports. Risks identified during the design stage can be mitigated or eliminated with modifications that also reduce future operating costs. For a new pipeline. Strategies also can be developed for managing any additional risks.S. including risers and other components – that occurred between 1984 and 2000. As the operator gains confidence in the data. Risk assessment findings may lead to recommendations for bespoke inspection programs. Risks with a low probability of occurrence and minor consequences simply may be ignored until a failure occurs. Gap analysis then pinpoints vulnerabilities and deficiencies. the value of an asset throughout its lifecycle. The process begins with a review of the design and condition data. These risks all can be mitigated by managing the integrity of the pipeline. defects from construction or installation. The results are summarized in a probability/consequence matrix that clearly ranks each risk. provided they are accurately identified and assessed. the inspection program can be optimized. These studies analyzed thousands of incidents – involving hazardous liquid and natural gas pipelines. startup condition. following the same methods used for new pipelines. and subsequent operational history is of great value when setting up and operating an effective PIMS. the assessment will yield clear risk rankings and inspection priorities. perhaps using sophisticated technologies. it is most effective when started during the design stage. For example. the information will support risk rankings that allow . and damage from outside forces. These rankings are used to determine inspection and maintenance priorities and to recommend changes in operating and management procedures. material defects. so more frequent inspections may be required. Further inspections and testing may be needed for a complete baseline condition profile. operator error. This is followed by an assessment of the probability and consequences of every potential failure. which are built upon. Risk assessment is also the starting point for establishing a PIMS for operational pipelines. along with a highly optimized frequency schedule. careful monitoring of risks during construction and installation will help to ensure that the condition of the pipeline is thoroughly documented when it is commissioned and put into service. Risk assessment The general categories of risk for offshore pipelines are well known and documented in a study prepared for the U. While risk assessment can be conducted at any time during a pipeline’s operational life. The areas of risk that present a high probability of failure with severe consequences are flagged for diligent monitoring and a higher frequency of inspections. A complete dossier of accurate data about a pipeline’s design. The principal causes of these incidents were internal and external corrosion. and also identifies strengths. as well as operating procedures and HSE systems. An in-service pipeline that lacks adequate documentation of its operations could make risk rankings problematic. Minerals Management Service in 2000 and in the PARLOC studies in the North Sea.

Remotely operated vehicles fly along risers and pipeline routes to look for coating damage. it can simply amplify the waste. Regulatory agencies in various regions require operators to prove initially that a pipeline is safe and fit for purpose and to report certain information. and use the lessons learned to improve our PIMS performance. Intelligent pigs snake though pipelines carrying many highly sensitive instruments. But. This shortterm mindset fails to see inspections as a vital part of a comprehensive process to maintain the long-term integrity of the pipeline – its continuing availability and fitness for service. Even a carefully optimized inspection program can be wasteful if the data is used only to assess a pipeline’s condition. It is thus essential that operators understand their risks. Chemical analysis of effluent can detect evidence of corrosion if pigging is not possible. the inspection and maintenance of offshore pipelines is left to the discretion of individual operators. scour and spanning. Commensurate results Pipeline integrity is commonly viewed as a technical matter mainly involving inspections. external corrosion.optimization. assess and rank them accurately. and establish inspection programs that use the right methods and tools to yield data that represent the conditions of their pipelines. Pipeline inspection is often seen as a costly imposition done mainly to satisfy regulatory or internal corporate demands – in other words. Sophisticated flow modeling and probabilistic analysis are available for risk assessment. in reality. act upon the findings. to put a check in a box. Inspections performed as an exercise without commitment to pipeline integrity are simply wasteful. the inspection results are consigned to a shelf without further review and never again consulted. There is no universally recognized standard for offshore pipeline inspection programs and the overall safety management of pipeline systems. with attendant day rates. Otherwise. We should get more from our efforts than a check in a box and a binder on a shelf. such as results of cathodic protection tests. To achieve the best results. at regular intervals. Using intelligent pigs and instrumented ROVs in this context may provide a feeling of assurance. . In the absence of serious defects. interpret it correctly. All of this requires a level of expertise that lies outside the core competencies of many pipeline operators. Experience suggests that how the technology is used and managed plays a critical role. Yet the results often do not reflect the state-of-the-art technology we employ to assess risks and determine the condition of our pipelines. the advances should have brought similar improvements. Only findings of serious defects prompt further action. If it were mainly a matter of technology. we must fully understand what data we need. while also gathering side-scan sonar images. The available technology is impressive. leakage. select the right tools and procedures to obtain it. which in some cases may lower inspection frequency or alter the techniques used. ROV visual inspection usually requires support vessels. Offshore pipeline inspection can be expensive. The number of failures and incidents remains stubbornly high.

seabed topography. and maintaining pipelines. This information. including hiring qualifications and personnel training. and other stakeholders that the pipeline remains fit for purpose. the continuous record can be used to reassess risks and to confirm or modify risk rankings. Operating and environmental factors such as fluid composition. Spotting defects and impending accidents is. compensation and incentives. It also can be used to assess the PIMS’ performance and determine whether it should be adjusted or changed. In many instances. inspecting. if the data is not used to maximum benefit. inspections do not target the areas that will yield the most useful data. Changes of this sort. and even supply chain and contractor management. Diligence and Continuity The area where a PIMS can have the greatest positive impact. instrumentation and controls. can only be justified by a continuous data record. primary and of urgent importance. Since the integrity of a system involves each individual component. the potential for fluid accumulation and slugging. Gaps and deficiencies identified in these and other areas represent opportunities to further reduce risk and improve performance. welds and connectors. data collection and documentation. and the strength of currents are all considered in assessing risks and are then monitored for changes. however. The PIMS perspective is comprehensive and long-term. metering skids. All aspects of how a pipeline system is operated and managed are scrutinized to identify elements of risk and opportunities for improvement. salinity and oxygen content. particularly if it can be reviewed in the context of previous inspection records. the flow regime and throughput volumes. and coatings. Putting the data to good use is part of the comprehensive nature of a sound integrity management program. regulators. the data provides proof to senior management. PIMS evaluation and monitoring covers every part and piece of equipment associated with a pipeline – pig launchers and receivers. will determine whether remedial or mitigating actions are required. Measurement and analysis are not limited to physical components and environmental factors in a PIM program. Reducing an annual visual ROV inspection to biannual. however. it often is worth the effort and expense to bring in a qualified consultant. In such cases. . structural supports. measures that lower costs. supervisory organization and approach. could save hundreds of thousands of dollars. A lengthening record of clean inspections may allow for beneficial changes in operating parameters and procedures or a relaxed inspection frequency. HSE policies and procedures are closely analyzed and many other factors that affect system integrity are also considered. If no actionable defects are found. is in the quality of inspection data and its beneficial uses. however. seawater temperature. the tools or techniques may not be the best ones to measure those parameters accurately. Or if they do. When current data is then added to the historical record of the pipeline’s condition going back to the inauguration of the PIMS. or the instrumentation may not be calibrated correctly to provide measurements within a useful range of tolerances. for example. Securing appropriate and accurate inspection data remains just a technical exercise.Integrity management can increase the value of the investment in monitoring. of course. Optimizing the inspection process for data quality and utility demands a level of expertise that may be difficult for individual pipeline operators to maintain.

Confidence based on poorly managed inspections is always over-confidence.000 miles of active pipe.lrenergy. Pipe-laying activity has been up and down over the years. Details must receive due attention. and 5. there were still some 17. but as of June 1997. Failure to review and maintain data continuously will ultimately compromise the ongoing inspection process so that it loses much of its value and further effort is wasted. Records must be thorough and Over the years.952 miles have celebrated a 20th anniversary. 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT What Is Out There? Over 24.000 miles younger than 20. .222 miles are over 30 years old.000 miles of pipeline have been laid on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico since 1948.000-plus miles of pipe would be considered at higher risk from an integrity standpoint than the 11. Rachel. Source: Boyle. somewhat mirroring the “boom and bust” cycles of the oil and gas industry. much of this pipeline has been abandoned or removed. http://www.aspx (30 January 2014) PIPELINE THE ROLE OF CATHODIC PROTECTION IN OFFSHORE PIPELINE INTEGRITY JANUARY 30.Diligence and continuity are key aspects of a successful PIM program. Pipeline Management System Enhances Inspection Result. Obviously these 5. Some 1. The mere fact that these old lines are still in operation reflects well on the skills of the corrosion control community (Figure 1).

Age External Corrosion Control of Offshore Pipelines All offshore pipelines are protected from seawater corrosion in the same way. In the 1960s and early 1970s. more efficient aluminum alloys have surpassed zinc as the preferred material for offshore galvanic anodes. The square-shouldered anodes are typically used on pipe that has a concrete weight coating. The primary corrosion control system is pipeline coating. the outside diameter of the concrete.” In the Gulf of Mexico. still some operators using impressed current systems and some using zinc anodes. the trend in cathodic protection (CP) was to rely on impressed-current systems. or slightly recessed inside. In the earlier days. Since then. the trend has been to use fusion-bonded epoxy powder coatings. Active Gulf of Mexico Pipelines: Mileage vs. There are. “Somastic”-type. the pipeline coatings used until the early to mid-1970s were either asphaltic/ aggregate. coatings or hot-applied coal tar enamels. There are two basic types. The whole idea is to protect the bracelet anodes during the pipe- laying process.Figure 1. zinc bracelet anodes attached to the pipe were widely used. When installed. however. This is supplemented with cathodic protection (CP) to provide protection at coating defects or “holidays. The tapered anodes are designed to be installed on pipelines with only a thin film corrosion coating. square shouldered and tapered. . Since then. the anodes are flush with. The anodes are particularly at risk from mechanical damage when the pipeline travels over the stinger on the back of the lay barge. Bracelet Anodes Virtually all new pipelines installed in the Gulf of Mexico are equipped with aluminum bracelet anodes.

as this will have a direct impact on the amount of coating damage one may expect (there is also a risk of having anodes detached during the lay process). of cathodic protection current to it. all of which will have an impact on the final anode alloy and size selection: • Design life required – (minimum is 20 years) • Pipe diameter length and to-from information • Geographic location • Type of coating • Pipe-lay / installation method • Water depth • Burial method • Product temperature • Electrical isolation from platforms or other pipelines The smart cathodic protection designer will look early on at the intended pipe installation method. of bare steel and 5% coating failure.Even with these tapered designs. In all pipeline design guidelines. This may sound reasonable. For example. The use of cast-on polyurethane tapers is gaining popularity. and applying 2 rnA / ft. this means taking 5% of the total pipeline surface area. non-weight-coated pipelines still sustain anode damage. Figure 3 – Tapered bracelet Figure 2 – Six-inch pipe reeled anodes installed on top of on the barge Chickasaw pipe Designing CP Systems for Offshore Pipelines When designing a cathodic protection system for a pipeline. which can in turn cause coating damage. In essence. and mounting both halves of the bracelet on top of the pipe is a common technique when pipe is laid from a reel barge and the anodes have to be attached offshore (Figures 2 and 3). until one looks at what 5% bare means: . the conservative approach is advised. Several methods are being used to combat this problem. the corrosion engineer has to consider the following variables. the majority of early Gulf of Mexico (buried) pipelines were designed on the basis of 2 mA / ft.

35 or even 40 years. joint of 12 in. and it is based on the auto-corrosion rate of the anode material. the combination of CP and coatings is doing a good job. is why are we not seeing more external failures? In truth. pipe. As a result. Pipeline Integrity When considering the role of cathodic protection (CP) in pipeline integrity we should investigate what causes offshore pipelines to fail and leak.01-0. 4 linear feet of pipe would have the coating gone from 180° of the circumference.On a 40 ft. or to express it another way. (These graphs are based on studying a limited sample of failure reports from two oil companies. we must not be led into a false sense of security. But when will it peak? The pitting rate of steel in seawater on a well-coated pipeline in the absence of cathodic protection anodes could vary between 0. The question. There is a practical limit on how long sacrificial anodes will last. Higher corrosion rates can be generally expected when the pipe coating has a combination of large damaged areas and . it could take anywhere from 5 to 25 years to pit through an inch of steel. Thus. then there should be several thousand miles of pipeline with depleted CP systems (Figure 1).) Figure 4 – Causes of offshore Figure 5 – Causes of offshore pipeline failure riser failure Since external corrosion is only responsible for a very few of the documented pipeline failures. This amount of loss could be sufficient to cause a pipeline failure.05 inches per year. we could truthfully say that. in general. the findings would probably show the general trend expressed in Figures 4 and 5. 5% bare coating would have 2 square feet of bare steel. If we were to assume that pipeline systems are all good for at least 30 years. However. Thus. If all the failures of pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico were counted and tabulated. then. the early pipeline system designs would appear to be very conservative. The only reason the external leaks have not started in earnest is that the old systems were unknowingly over-designed. This is an extremely conservative figure. the answer to that question is that we probably are seeing a higher external corrosion leak rate than we have at any time in the past. a 25-year design life has effectively turned into 30.

adjacent pinhole defects. and this could result in early deaths of the oil and gas fields they service. Survey the pipeline cathodic protection system. these either involve physically contacting the line at intervals or utilizing remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) (Figure 6) to track the pipeline and carry reference electrode arrays above the pipeline at known locations (a typical plot from such a survey is shown Figure 7). Unless detected and retrofitted. Do nothing (and hope that the laws of electrochemistry will ignore your pipeline). . When a survey is actually run. 2. but strangely enough. Given the cost of laying pipelines offshore today. essentially ignoring the problem. then corrosion will begin at numerous sites all over the pipeline. What Is The Answer There are three basic strategies that a pipeline owner can adopt: 1. There are only so many clamps that an operator can afford to install before economic concerns dictate pipeline replacement or abandonment. operators in the Gulf of Mexico survey very little. it is usually of little value because the method used (trailing wire) inherently produces erroneous data. Other old lines are the critical links between the new deep water fields and the shore-based markets. as the next several hundred won’t be far behind. This type of survey will let the operator see the condition of the line and make informed decisions regarding retrofitting. 3. the risks are quite high. and when the pipe is exposed to seawater rather than mud. the first leak could be the end of the pipeline. many of the lines will never be replaced. Retrofit the cathodic protection anodes on pipelines of a certain vintage. There are accurate survey systems available. Cathodic Protection Surveys Close-interval cathodic protection surveys are the most logical strategy. What Is The Risk? On pipelines in excess of 30 years old. Loss of these lines will present an interesting and unenviable dilemma for operators. There is also a particular risk of microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) on buried lines with bitumastic-type coatings and depleted cathodic protection. If the cathodic protection systems have depleted.

Figure 6 – Work-class ROV Challenger equipped for pipeline survey. Photo courtesy of Sonsub Inc. .

Summary In summary. Sumber: http://www. This is the reason why flexible dynamic risers have been the enabling technology for floating production systems. Britton is a consultant for major oil companies worldwide.jpg Main Characteristic  Flexibility  Flexibility is the distinctive property of flexible pipe. Separate sections are connected on deck during installation. especially when lines are deeply buried. In addition to the corrosion data shown.offshorerisertechnology. Retrofit Anodes on Pipelines of a Certain Age Retrofitting the cathodic protection system with supplemental anodes would only make sense if the line in question is very old and the required additional life were significant.000 per mile. Downward green spikes indicate anode locations. This modular construction. additional layers can be included to prevent wear between steel layers (in dynamic applications) or to provide improved thermal insulation (“standard” flexible pipe already has a much better insulation coefficient than that of steel pipe). upward spikes reflect coating damage. . There will only need to be a post-installation survey. electrical cables or optical fibers around a flexible pipe to produce an Integrated Service Umbilical (ISU®). it is also possible to assemble plastic hoses. He has been an active member of NACE International since 1979. and that cost may be eliminated if the decision to retrofit is made. the retrofit program will need an up-front survey to find the pipeline – so why not survey it first? Do Nothing Very often this decision is made based on the following logic: “If I know I have a problem. This elimination of interfaces reduces risk in The helically wound steel wires give the structure its high-pressure resistance and excellent bending characteristics.000 to $6. The most complex flexible pipes may have up to 19 layers. Often. This flexibility is also important for flowlines laid on uneven seabed conditions.  Modularity  The independent layers of a flexible structure enable it to be tailored to the precise needs of a specific development. Corrosion Resistance Since the steel tendons are not in direct contact with the conveyed fluid. Besides including new plastic or steel layers within the product. He has published a variety of articles and has been a guest lecturer at colleges and universities throughout the US. the survey will also yield important information on the precise location of the pipeline and the depth of burial below the seabed. Beyond the basic fluid barriers and stress-resistant tendons. they do not require the same corrosion resistance as steel pipe. A typical 8” internal diameter (ID) flexible pipe can safely be bent to a radius of 2m or less. which specializes in engineering and manufacturing retrofit cathodic protection systems for offshore assets. The cost to perform a pipeline cathodic protection inspection will run anywhere from $2. In 1986. The main components are leakproof thermoplastic barriers and corrosion-resistant steel wires.stoprust. Of course. once the new anodes are laid. I will not have to find out whether or not I have a problem. where the layers are independent but designed to interact with one another. About the Author Jim Britton has worked in the corrosion control industry since 1972 and has been primarily involved in offshore and marine projects since 1975. This means that our design experience and knowledge of gas diffusion through thermoplastic materials enable us to use carbon steel where the equivalent rigid pipe application would require much more expensive corrosion-resistant alloys. or include active heating for flow assurance in deepwater to produce an Integrated Production Bundle* (IPB). it must be concluded that cathodic protection plays an absolutely vital role in pipeline integrity offshore. thus providing flexibility and superior dynamic behaviour. Source: Britton. Jim. 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT What is flexible pipe? A fit-for-purpose structure A flexible pipe is made up of several different layers. if I don’t survey the pipeline. with an outstanding track record of success in offshore applications. laying speed commonly averages 500m per hour. But cathodic protection systems have a finite life and unprotected steel has a very short life in seawater. He holds a bachelor’s degree in corrosion technology from the United Kingdom. “The Role of Cathodic Protection in Offshore Pipeline Integrity”. he founded Deepwater Corrosion Services Inc. Flexibility makes it possible to spool the pipe on a reel or in a carousel for efficient and quick transportation and  Installability  Because the flexible pipe comes in a continuous length. I will have to take care of it. red trace is potential. means that each layer can be made fit-for-purpose and independently adjusted to best meet a specific field development requirement. His work brought him to the United States in 1982.” This logic sounds like the chronic smoker who dares not visit the doctor for fear it will be discovered he has lung cancer! A surprising number of operators follow this logic. eliminating the need for any intermediate riser base structure or subsea connections. Online: http://www.htm (30 Januari 2014) PIPELINE ABOUT FLEXIBLE PIPE JANUARY 30. these data points can be crucial when designing the eventual anode retrofit. Simple flexible pipes for medium pressure water transport comprise only four layers. Green trace is current density. Cathodic protection is cheap and reliable. retrofitting pipeline cathodic protection systems offshore is not always a simple matter. Hart’s Pipeline Digest. Check your cathodic protection if the pipeline is more than 25 years old.. Figure 7 – Detailed pipeline CP inspection plot.

Again.5″ ID) on dynamic riser applications  higher temperatures (up to 130°C)  enhanced insulation through thick foam fillers laid on SZ machine  active heating  designs available for ultra deepwater (down to 2. flexible pipe is the only product. which can be recovered and reinstalled several times to be used successively for several marginal or evolutive field architectures as regularly done for years by Petrobras in Brazilian waters. environmentally friendly.000 psi for a 7. shape and number of steel wire layers to meet the specific requirements of our clients.pdf diunduh tanggal 29 Januari 2014 .890m  Kill & Choke line for drilling (up to 15. Pressure Resistance Flexible pipes resist all fluid pressures currently encountered in the most severe subsea applications.technip.200 psi for a 9” ID. Moreover. it means that the flexible pipe structure is constantly evolving to meet stringent field specifications:  higher pressures (up to 7. “Flexible Pipe”.000 psi)  drain pipe & foam lines for onshore refinery applications  RTP (Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipe) for land applications. up to brosur technip online: http://www. Versatility and re-usability Modularity enables flexible technology to cover very different applications:  flexible products already installed in water depth down to 1. the modularity of the flexible pipe manufacturing process enables us to adjust thickness. Even more important.