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PLET Installation in Deepwater Based on Tension Control and Length Control

ABSTRACT Subsea production systems have been increasingly used for deepwater and ultra-deepwater field applications. As a result there are an increasing number of fields, which are developed with a long distance flowline tie-back, which can be in excess of hundreds of kilometers, either to a host facility or directly to the onshore plant. Consequently the marine operations associated with the installation of these long distance tie-backs must be able to deal with a range of conditions from the very deep water at the subsea facilities to the shallow water at the landfall area. In this paper, we highlight the installation issues and solutions during the PLET installation. First we discuss two ways of the possible installation options, the tension control and the length control installation methods. The FEM analysis software is adopted for the simulation of each installation sequence. Then we compare the differences of the two options based on the bending strain results obtained. It can be concluded from this paper that the tension control and the length control method are both applicable to the installation of PLET in deepwater fields. It depend on the project and the vessel used. INTRODUCTION The LiWan offshore gas field is the first deepwater project in southern sea of China. The depth of water in LiWan project is over 4590ft (1400m) and many technology problems which are not met in shallow water arise. The method to install the heavy PLET with flowline is one of them. The challenges of PLET installation are (1) use only one vessel for the whole PLET installation operation, (2) the diameter and the corresponding weight of the gas export pipeline is large, (3) the PLET is not designed in detail at present and some assumptions should be made. For the PLET installation considered in this paper, it can be divided into four stages: (1) recover the pipeline to surface, (2) tension transfer from A&R (abandon and recover) wire to the crane on the vessel and deck handling, (3) deploy PLET with pipeline through splashing zone and water column, (4) tension transfer from the crane to the A&R wire and deploy to the objective place, (5) landing the PLET with pipeline within the target box. The pick-up process can be accomplished with two approaches: (1) offset-vessel and then take in A&R wire, (2) offset-vessel while take in A&R wire. The first approach can be described as follows: Offset the vessel to a given position. Take-in A&R wire to a given length while holding the vessel position. Offset the vessel again to the next position while holding the cable length. Repeat the above take-in A&R wire and offset-vessel processes until the pipeline pull-head reaches the surface.

The second approach can be described by the following sequences: Offset the vessel to a given position Take-in A&R wire while the vessel is in transition of offsetting its position Synchronize the vessel motion speed and cable take-rate to avoid overstress the SCR Continue the above operation until the pipeline pull-head reaches the surface The first approach provides better control of the pipeline stress during the pick-up process. On the other hand, the second approach is relatively quicker. As along as sufficient horizontal tension is provided, the pipeline stress can be easily controlled. In a similar way, the PLET with pipeline can be deployed reversely with the above approaches. It is noted that for the successfully landing of the PLET on the seabed, one yoke is used to make the PLET from vertical direction to horizontal direction. The first approach is used in this paper for the deployment for the better control of pipeline. The process of deploying PLET with pipeline can be control by the A&R winch tension or the A&R wire length. The author is interested in finding the difference between the tension based PLET deployment and the length based PLET deployment. Four computation cases are considered in the paper, listed as follows: Case 1: deploy PLET with the control of A&R wire length without consideration of environment condition. Case 2: deploy PLET with the control of A&R wire length with consideration of environment condition. Case 3: deploy PLET with the control of A&R wire tension without consideration of environment condition. Case 4: deploy PLET with the control of A&R wire tension with consideration of environment condition. The environment parameters used in the simulation are: Water depth1400m Seawater density1.025te/m^3 Wave period5.8s

The Swiss-based Allseas Group S.A. is a global leader in offshore pipeline installation and subsea construction. The company employs over 2,000 people worldwide and operates a versatile fleet of six specialised pipelay and support vessels, designed and developed in-house. Founded in 1985, we have gained worldwide experience in all types of offshore and subsea construction projects. Allseas' approach is to support clients already in the conceptual design stage and offer its services for project management, engineering and procurement up to and including installation and commissioning. We do not restrict ourselves to available technology; we develop new techniques and applications wherever necessary. No technology can replace human judgment. Our people make a multitude of decisions in all disciplines every day, worldwide. Our performance as a company is influenced daily by the creativity and quality of that judgment. Dynamism, inventiveness, rapid progress and a nononsense approach are our distinguishing qualities. Through the development of an in-house know-how we develop new techniques and innovative solutions to meet the markets ever changing needs. Every new concept starts with true imagination. A technical breakthrough can only be achieved if one is willing and daring to challenge all existing options, turning them upside down in the process and looking at them from a different perspective. It challenges the ability to imagine the impossible not asking "why?" but "why not?". It requires people with imagination and a can-do attitude, who believe that "if you can dream it, you can do it". We want people who share and believe in our vision of "no guts, no glory". We acknowledge that reputation, responsibility and integrity form the cornerstone of our existence, realising that our future is shaped by our performance and behaviour of today. This will determine our reputation for a long time to come. Therefore, we value long-term relationships with clients, employees and suppliers.
Number of vessels in operation 5 Number of offices worldwide 8 Number of employees worldwide +2,000 Number of employees in the engineering and project offices 617 Number of university graduates in the engineering and project offices 175 Number of internships in the engineering and project offices 21 Number of projects executed +200 Total length of pipelines installed +16,350 km Total length of pipelines trenched +3,440 km

Allseas Subsea Services unit provides survey and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) support for all our projects, which are executed by Allseas pipelay and support vessels. Subsea Services comprises three core teams: Survey, ROV and Diving. The Survey team is involved in hydrographic positioning and provides surveying services for pipeline and subsea structure installations. Project support extends from the preparation of procedures to the compilation of the final survey reports and charts. The ROV team is equipped with the latest technology deepwater ROV systems, and provides underwater intervention and inspection support. The ROV forms a working platform for high specification survey sensors as well as intervention tooling.

The Diving team supports all shallow water diving related activities within Allseas.
Allseas is continually advancing and updating its equipment and technologies in anticipation of the ever growing demands of our clients. Our vessels are no exception; from designing new vessels to the maintenance and improvement of existing ones, we are constantly improving capability and performance by designing new techniques and applications that will allow us to execute more and more challenging projects. And if damage occurs, we develop and execute solutions.

Allseas operate a versatile fleet of specialised pipelay and support vessels worldwide: the dynamically positioned (DP) pipelay vessels Solitaire, Audacia, and Lorelay, the shallow water pipelay barge Tog Mor and the DP trenching support and subsea installation vessel Calamity Jane. Delivery of Pieter Schelte, the 382 m long, 117 m wide DP platform installation / decommissioning and pipelay vessel, is expected in late 2013, ready for offshore operations in early 2014.
In September 2006, Allseas was awarded the offshore installation contract for the Dhirubhai-1 & Dhirubhai-3 (D1 & D3) Gas development Project, off Kakinada on the East coast of India. It was the largest single order Allseas had received and the first contract from Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a new player in the E&P industry and operator of the KG D6 Block. The contract included installation of subsea structures, pipelines, umbilicals and subsea tie-in connections. The D1 & D3 gas development project includes 18 wells in water depths ranging from 600 m to 1200m, connected to a deepwater pipeline end manifold (DWPLEM) via cluster manifolds through pipelines and infield umbilicals. The gas from the DWPLEM passes through a shallow water control and riser platform (CRP) to the landfall point (LFP), situated 5 km from the onshore gas handling terminal. Allseas engaged specialized subcontractors and formed various project management teams at different sites all around world. The turn-around cycle was made swifter with RIL teams co-locating with Allseas teams at multiple locations or dynamic review and decision making. Offshore installation and pre-commissioning was carried out from August 2007 until August 2009. The inclement weather on Indias east coast reduced an effective and fair weather window for offshore installation to four months (from mid December to mid April). A state of the art fleet of installation vessels was mobilized to the site. The main installation vessels Audacia, Lorelay, Tog Mor and Express were supported by more than 80 vessels and barges, working in a limited area of 350 sq. km. An effective vessel tracking system was utilized for meticulous planning of all vessel movements. The offshore facilities included installation of 350 km of pipeline, 150 km of umbilicals, 11 subsea structures (DWPLEM, manifolds, SDAs, UDH), 45 pipeline end terminations (PLETs), 29 anchor boxes and 56 jumpers. More than

200 subsea connections were executed. On March 31, 2009, the loop test of two 24-inch gas trunklines from the DWPLEM to the onshore terminal was successfully completed in order to establish the baseline integrity. On April 1, 2009, the choke of the first well was opened. With Allseas as one of the major contractors, many records were set, many milestones achieved and many benchmarks established. This challenging project would not have been successful without the extra effort every team member put in over the last three years and absolute support and commitment from the top management of Allseas and RIL.\

obert T. Gilchrist Jr. Shell Deepwater Development Systems Inc. Houston

Equations 221,894 bytes]

Engineers planning to install a pipeline-end manifold (PLEM) as part of a deepwater flow line system must closely integrate design and installation procedures to ensure the equipment will run smoothly, predictably, and safely. Pipe tensions are high in deep water and installation vessels costly. Therefore, design of the PLEM and the corresponding installation procedure must be as simple as possible. Shell Deepwater Development Systems, along with other companies, has used the approach and design outlined here. They have been proven in the following flow line projects: Popeye (1,900 ft), Tahoe (1,500 ft), Mensa 6-in. intrafield flow lines (5,300 ft), and Mensa 12-in. interfield flow line (5,300 ft). All employed "second-end" PLEMs with mudmats, yokes, and vertical hubs. The analysis strategy discussed in this article emerged over time after some PLEMs had to be modified in the field to run correctly. Problems encountered included:

A PLEM with center of gravity too high as a result of late or unplanned equipment additions Extra measures required to land upright because of pipe torsion (twisting) Bent pipe that resulted from lowering too far with the PLEM held inverted.

Beyond divers
Flow lines and pipelines that end in deepwater must be terminated with hardware that permits connection to other facilities, such as a PLEM to permit connection to other facilities. If installed upon completion of pipelay, the PLEM is termed a "second end" PLEM. A pipeline can be initiated with a first-end PLEM but this is an infrequently used technique and outside the scope of the present discussion.

A deepwater PLEM is beyond practical diving depths and must be remotely installable and designed to support robot execution of all planned and possible functions. PLEMs discussed in this article have as a minimum a mudmat foundation for seafloor support and a vertical collet connector hub to receive a connection jumper. The vertical hub removes any need to shift the pipeline laterally for connection and places the connection point well above the seafloor. The PLEM can also be a platform for valves, taps, or instrumentation. And provision can be made for thermal expansion and pile foundations. After installation, the PLEM can be accessed for repair or maintenance by removing the connection jumper and recovering the unit to the surface. Installation of the PLEM starts with the configuration of the installed pipeline upon abandonment after installation by either S-lay or J-lay. If S-lay, the pipeline is assembled horizontally aboard a vessel with several workstations, then guided downward over a stern-mounted, overbend support called a "stinger." If J-lay, the pipeline is assembled by a single workstation with the pipe nearly vertical and no need for an overbend guide. When the installed pipeline is abandoned to the seabed, it is fitted with an abandonment and recovery (A&R) head to prevent flooding and to allow attachment of the A&R wire. There are two reasons for not attaching the PLEM at this point: 1. It is impractical to attach and maneuver the PLEM structure through the pipelay stinger (S-lay) or tower (J-lay). 2. It is prudent to lay the end of the pipe on bottom and assess the unconstrained top-of-pipe orientation before the PLEM is attached. The PLEM weight, balance, and geometry are all designed to ensure it will have an intrinsic tendency to land with the correct orientation. Nevertheless, experience has shown it is essential to attach the PLEM in harmony with the observed top-of-pipe of the pipeline on the seafloor with the A&R wire disconnected or slack. The pipeline is lowered to the seafloor with the A&R wire. The cut length and top-of-pipe are assessed by ROV inspection. The pipeline is recovered to the side of the vessel in J-mode (pipe suspended with no overbend) and set in a hang-off receptacle or slips so that the A&R head can be removed and the PLEM attached.

With the PLEM attached, the entire assembly is lifted from the receptacle and lowered to the seafloor. If all goes well, the PLEM sled gently lands upright on the seafloor thousands of feet below the vessel ( Fig. 1 [96,130 bytes]).

Fig. 2 [182,712 bytes] shows the PLEM design used by Shell. The rigging to lower it connects to a yoke that applies the lift force to a pivot near the centerline of the pipe and above the center of gravity of the PLEM. The placement of this pivot and the center of gravity of the PLEM are crucial to controlling the bending load on the pipeline throughout the running sequence and to achieving correct orientation of the PLEM on landing. The center of gravity must be below the pipe centerline and the pivot should be just above the pipe centerline to ensure the PLEM will stabilize with the correct orientation for landing. The pivot is the local coordinate origin on the PLEM for dimensions and calculations. Note that in Fig. 2, epipe and eplem t are negative numbers. The analysis requires the yoke to fold flat on the PLEM. In one Shell installation, the yoke had to be shimmed on the front of the PLEM to deal with a center-of-gravity above the pipe centerline. This article does not address this design complication of an inclined yoke. The design shows an anchor flange used to connect the pipeline to the PLEM before welding. During welding, the structural connection isolates the PLEM/pipeline tie-in from the constantly flexing top of the suspended pipe. Welding the PLEM to the pipeline minimizes cost and potential leak paths.

Assessing the PLEM design involves modeling the running sequence with simple static vectoranalysis methods to predict behavior of the PLEM stepwise through the procedure. Once the design clears this hurdle, more-sophisticated methods can optimize details. For the static vector analysis, some simplifications apply:

Dynamic forces from vessel motions and PLEM-lowering movements are negligible. Pipe and cable shear loads are negligible. The suspended pipe and cable are modeled as catenaries. This tends slightly to over-predict pipe touchdown bending strain and underpredict pipe-top tension. The forces of the PLEM, pipe, and cable all act through the PLEM pivot. The PLEM is always aligned with the centerline of the top of suspended pipe (pipe deflection adjacent to the PLEM being negligible).

The heart of the analysis is the relationship of free-body forces on the PLEM during running (Fig. 3 [38,777 bytes]). Summations of forces in the x and y directions appear in Equations 1 and 2. (See accompanying equations box.[221,894 bytes]) The pipe-top tension and pipe-top angle for a suspended pipe without shear at the top can be solved with catenary equations. Equations 1 and 2 can be rearranged to give formulas for the bottom tension and angle of the lowering cable (Equations 3 and 4).

Bending load
For the analysis to determine the major forces, moments in the vicinity of the PLEM are nil because the only loads considered are vector forces acting through the PLEM pivot. There are moments within the PLEM and adjacent pipe, however, that are locally significant and these must be assessed. These moments occur because forces do not actually converge at a single point. The lines of force between the pivot, pipe axis, and PLEM's center of gravity. The top tension of the suspended pipeline plus the weight of the PLEM are suspended at the yoke pivot. The reaction at the pivot is a force vector only; a pivot has no moment capacity. Moments result from the following:

The eccentricity of the pipe top tension line of force from the pivot (pipe tension being applied in line with the pipe) Eccentricity of the PLEM center of gravity from the pivot.

These moments can only be resisted by a balancing moment in the suspended pipe. The pipe must be capable of providing the reaction moment without becoming over stressed. The forces, eccentricities, and reaction moment that must be in equilibrium are shown in Fig. 4 [83,601 bytes]. Moment about the pivot as a result of pipe-top tension (recalling that epipe is negative) is shown in Equation 5. Moment about the pivot as a result of PLEM weight consists of two components: The transverse weight component times the longitudinal eccentricity (Equation 6), and the longitudinal weight component times transverse eccentricity as shown in Equation 7. There is no moment because of cable tension because it is a vector that never has any eccentricity with respect to the pivot. Total moment about the pivot must sum to zero (Equation 8). The bending load on the pipe to balance the moment load about the pivot is evaluated throughout the PLEM lowering sequence. The pivot and center of gravity of the PLEM must be located so as to avoid exceeding the moment capacity of the pipe.

Insofar as pipe strength will allow, the pivot should be located above and aft the PLEM's center of gravity and above the centerline of the pipe. At the start of running, the pipe reaction moment is most affected by epipe, the eccentricity of the centerline of the pipe from the pivot. At the end of lowering the pipe, reaction moment is most affected by eplem l, the longitudinal eccentricity of the PLEM's center of gravity from the pivot. The sturdiness of the PLEM assembly can be increased by fitting the PLEM with a tailpiece of heavy-wall pipe (one or two joints) that will have greater moment capacity either to increase the safety factor or to allow greater eccentricity of the pivot. Moment on the pipe from Equation 8 is conservative, as the deflection of the pipe because the moment tends to reduce the eccentricity and that in turn reduces the moment load on the pipe. This is an area in which a second round of more-sophisticated analysis can be applied to finetune PLEM design.

Righting moment
It is essential to land the PLEM at the correct orientation. Designing a PLEM with the greatest possible positive righting moment to force the unit upright as it approaches the seafloor ensures the likelihood of this happening. For this part of the analysis, the PLEM is assumed to be out of orientation a full 90. The problem is examined in the transverse horizontal plane and the vertical plane. Fig. 5 [121,426 bytes] depicts the righting moment. The PLEM is rotated 90 out of correct orientation about the pipe axis. There are two forces trying to right the PLEM:

The transverse component Wst, of PLEM weight Ws, a downward force applied at the center of gravity that is transversely eccentric to the pipe centerline. To be 100% accurate, yoke weight should be included in the PLEM weight and center-of-gravity calculations for this case. It may or may not be negligible. The transverse component Toct, of A&R cable's bottom tension Toc, an upward force applied at the yoke lift eye.

The yoke is assumed to be folded flat against the PLEM. The axis for the righting moment is the centerline of the pipe. Only transverse load components times their eccentricities contribute to righting moment. Longitudinal loads do not contribute to righting moment. Equation 9 yields the transverse component of PLEM weight; Equation 10, the transverse component of cable tension; and Equations 11-13, the components and sum of righting moments about the pipe axis.

Note that transverse loads (and consequently the righting moment) are small when the pipe end is near vertical. It is not unusual for a PLEM to rotate one or more times during the descent. Increasing the PLEM weight and the transverse eccentricity of the center of gravity can increase righting moment. The most efficient way of doing this is to add thickness to the steel mudmat. Adjusting the longitudinal eccentricity can be achieved by differing the thicknesses of the fore and aft plates. Increasing pivot eccentricity is usually not an option because pipe-reaction-moment capacity and pipe-top tension at the start of the installation control allowable pivot eccentricity. PLEM weight is much lower than initial top-of-pipe tension so there is more scope to change the eccentricity of the PLEM's center of gravity. This analysis case also provides a lateral design load for the yoke and pivots (applied at the cable connection to the yoke; Equation 14).

Bending load
In the 90 misoriented case, another set of loads induces moment in the pipe. In this case, moments are summed at the point of cable attachment to assess the moment load on the pipe. This moment must be balanced by a moment in the pipe. It is exactly orthogonal to the moment in the pipe induced by eccentricity from the pivot (Equation 15). Shortening the yoke can reduce this moment load. A long yoke is beneficial, however, at the end of the lowering sequence when the yoke lifts and another, more powerful, righting-moment regime comes into play. The moments resulting from pipe and PLEM eccentricities from the yoke are still applied in a plane orthogonal to the moment described in Equation 15: They can be called moments y-y. The moment y-y (Equation 16) resulting from pipe eccentricity from the yoke pivot was previously noted, in Equation 5. Another moment y-y results from the longitudinal component of sled weight (Equations 17 and 18). The total y-y moment is shown in Equation 19. The combined pipe moment with the PLEM running 90 misoriented is the vector sum of the z-z and y-y moments (Equation 20). Evaluation of this load can indicate when the lowering should be stopped if the PLEM is out of orientation and the yoke has failed to lift. This will happen if the PLEM is oriented upside down and held that way by pipe torsion when it comes time for the yoke to lift.

It is possible to keep going until Mpipe (90 misoriented) exceeds Mpipe allowable. If the PLEM does not roll upright, the situation must be reviewed with particular attention paid to actual center-ofgravity location, righting moment calculations, and pipe torque. If pipe torque is the problem, the PLEM is best recovered and reoriented about the pipe. Another possible strategy is to apply torque with an external force applied via a cable from the surface to a corner of the mud mat. This method was tried with one of the three Mensa 6-in. PLEMs and proved to be futile. The PLEM eventually had to be cut free of the pipe and reoriented.

Other pipe stresses

Pipe outer fiber stresses resulting from the bending loads explained earlier can be calculated with Equation 21. Pipe stress resulting from pipe-top tension is shown in Equation 22; pipe stress resulting from hydrostatic pressure is compressive (Equation 23). The maximum outer fiber stress in the pipe is the sum of all three (Equation 24).

Fig. 6 [119,190 bytes] presents catenary equations. Modeling of the PLEM running is step-by-step with use of a spreadsheet program such as Excel. The "Solver" add-in is useful because it automatically and quickly executes nested iterations. The running plan will include defined variables (site conditions, PLEM weight, and geometry) and equal number of independent variables, which are determined by iteration, and constraints, and are test variables for the iteration cycles. The iterated variables in this example are pipe catenary bottom tension and pipe catenary vertical height. Following are the constraints by which the iterations are tested:

Cable angle at the surface. This is set at 85 for every step and is an easy-to-monitor independent variable. PLEM depth. The analysis was run stepwise starting with the PLEM at the surface and 10 set predetermined depths.

For each step, the pipe catenary height must match the distance from the seafloor to the PLEM depth. The steps are unequal because PLEM-running geometry and loads change the greatest when the PLEM is near the seafloor and steps need to be closer together there.

The defined variables are: PLEM: Ws = 20,000 lb; Lyoke = 6 ft; eplem l = 0.5 ft; eplem t = -1.0 ft (Yoke influence on center of gravity is negligible.) Pipe: OD = 6.625 in.; W.T. = 0.719 in.; epipe = 2 0.25 ft Cable: OD = 2.875 in.; Wc = 12.5 lb/ft Site: Water depth = 4,000 ft; seawater density = 64 lb/cu ft Fig. 7 [77,549 bytes] shows a sketch of the problem. Fig. 8 [306,791 bytes] presents six representative plots of PLEM-running particulars generated by a spreadsheet model based on the equations discussed in this article and the small amount of problem information noted previously. The project involved installation engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning of a 24-inch diameter 13.4-kilometre long offshore pipeline. It also involved engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning of the associated pipeline end manifold (PLEM) and single point mooring (SPM) system. The Brunei Economic Development Board developed this facility as an export terminal for the 2,500 tonnes per day methanol plant being developed in Sungai Liang Industrial Park by the Brunei Methanol Company (BMC). This industrial park is a significant undertaking by the Brunei Government to diversify its economy towards more non-petroleum related businesses. The pipeline system was designed to handle a flow of up to 1,600 tonnes per hour of methanol. The SPM will be a catenary anchor leg mooring (CALM) type turret buoy with a capacity to accommodate 46,000 dead weight tonne (DWT) tankers. It is located in waters approximately 25 metres deep. The scope of works included:

Offshore pipeline installation incorporating four subsea pipeline crossings and a shore pull Installation of six anchor chains and marine anchors, PLEM tie-in to offshore pipeline, under-buoy hoses for PLEM tie-in to buoy and floating hose connections Onshore pipeline installation approximately 600 metres in length, incorporating three road crossings and one river crossing, tie-in to offshore pipeline and terminating at BMC property fence line Approximately three kilometres of post trenching to bury the near shore pipeline Pre-commissioning and commissioning of pipeline, PLEM and SPM.

The offshore pipeline installation was by the S-lay method using the Leighton Faulkner pipe-lay barge, a Leighton Group asset. Other marine equipment mobilised for the project included a 2400Hp anchor-handling tug, a 2000Hp tug, two 180-foot supply barges and a crew boat.