Hydrocarbons are the major source of energy in the world. While the global energy demand continues to rise, the shallow water hydrocarbon reserves currently under production are getting exhausted. This has encouraged all major E&P (Exploration & Production) companies around the world to look towards exploration and development of newer deepwater offshore reserves, hitherto largely left untouched. Furthermore, gas reserves-rich nations are also showing a keen interest in exploring new gas markets to boost their exports and, in the process, provide a solution to the energy scarcity of other parts of the world.
The two factors mentioned above — the need for newer energy reserves and the urge to tap new energy markets — coupled with the safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of pipelines have contributed to the growing number of deepwater gas pipeline projects being executed around the world.
“Deepwater Pipelines” per se is not a new concept. Many deepwater pipelines have already been installed in different parts of the world. However, for the Indian energy sector, this is a relatively new development, with the exception of KG basin deepwater pipelines. The Indian government’s HELP (Hydrocarbon Exploration and Leasing Policy) and proposed trans-national submarine gas pipelines are likely to serve as the harbingers of future deepwater pipeline projects in Indian oil & gas sector.
Although the technical and codal requirements for deepwater pipelines are the same as that applicable for any shallow water offshore pipeline, there are a few nuances that must be considered extremely important to successfully implement any deepwater pipeline project. This paper elucidates the deepwater pipeline considerations such as pipeline route selection, flow assurance, line pipe material & wall thickness selection, pipeline installation analysis, seabed intervention techniques, alternative integrity validation (AIV) etc.