One of the main risk factors for subsea pipelines exposed on the seabed is fatigue failure of free spans due to ocean current or wave loading. This paper describes how the structural response of a free span, as input to the fatigue analyses, can be assessed in a simple and still accurate way by using improved beam theory formulations. In connection with the release of the DNV Recommended Practice, DNV-RP-F105 “Free Spanning Pipelines”, the simplified structural response quantities have been improved compared to previous codes. The boundary condition coefficients for the beam theory formulations have been updated based an effective span length concept. This concept is partly based on theoretical studies and partly on a large number of FE analyses. The updated expressions are general and fit all types of soil and pipe dimensions for lower lateral and vertical vibration modes. The present paper focus on estimation of simplified response quantities such as lower natural frequencies and associated mode shapes. Hydrodynamical aspects of Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV) are outside the scope of this paper.

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