The design philosophy of a pressure-protected subsea pipeline is intimately linked to the reliability of the Pressure Protection System (PPS) and to the probability of burst of the pipeline if it is exposed to full wellhead shut-in pressure. A reliability based design approach is presented that allows the pipeline wall thickness (and cost) to be reduced under the philosophy that the pipeline will “not burst” in the event of PPS failure. This paper describes how uncertainties in the pipeline design parameters may be initially modelled statistically to allow structural reliability techniques to be adopted at the design stage (before the pipe is manufactured). It further addresses how correlation of these parameters can be included and their extreme value distributions developed, which is particularly relevant as the length of the tieback increases. A method to incorporate inspection inaccuracy is also presented. The initial estimates of the design parameters necessarily err on the conservative side. These can be later updated when manufacturing data is available.

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