The construction of the first L555(X80) pipeline in Japan was completed in autumn, 2011.In this paper, the overview of the design consideration of the line, technical points for linepipe material and for girth welds are presented.

In recent years the use of high strength linepipe has substantially reduced the cost of pipeline installation for the transportation of natural gas. The grades up to L555(X80) have been used worldwide and higher ones, L690(X100) and L830(X120), e.g., are being studied intensively. In the areas with possible ground movement, the active seismic regions, e.g., pipeline is designed to tolerate the anticipated deformation in longitudinal direction.

In Japan, where seismic events including liquefaction are not infrequent, the codes for pipeline are generally for the grades up to L450(X65). Tokyo Gas Co. had extensively investigated technical issues for L555(X80) in the region described above and performed many experiments including full-scale burst test, full-scale bending test, FE analysis on the girth weld, etc., when the company concluded the said grade as applicable and decided project-specific requirements for linepipe material and for girth weld.

Sumitomo Metals, in charge of pipe manufacturing, to fulfill these requirements, especially the requirement of round-house type stress-strain (S-S) curve to be maintained after being heated by coating operation, which is critical to avoid the concentration of longitudinal deformation, developed and applied specially designed chemical composition and optimized TMCP (Thermo-Machanical Control Process) and supplied linepipe (24″OD,14.5∼18.9mmWT) with sufficient quality. It had also developed and supplied induction bends needed with the same grade.

Girth welds were conducted by Sumitomo Metal Pipeline and Piping, Ltd and mechanized GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) was selected to achieve the special requirements, i.e., the strength of weld metal to completely overmatch the pipe avoiding the concentration of longitudinal strain to the girth weld, and the hardness to be max.300HV10 avoiding HSC (Hydrogen Stress Cracking) on this portion. Both of RT (Radiographic Test) and UT (Ultrasonic Test) were carried out to all the girth welds. These were by JIS (Japan Industrial Standards) and the project-specific requirements.

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