The offshore pipeline industry is planning new gas trunklines at water depth ever reached before (up to 3500 m). In such conditions, external hydrostatic pressure becomes the dominating loading condition for the pipeline design. In particular, pipe geometric imperfections as the cross section ovality, combined load effects as axial and bending loads superimposed to the external pressure, material properties as compressive yield strength in the circumferential direction and across the wall thickness etc., significantly interfere in the definition of the demanding, in such projects, minimum wall thickness requirements. This paper discusses the findings of a series of ultra deep-water studies carried out in the framework of Snamprogetti corporate R&D. In particular, the pipe sectional capacity, required to sustain design loads, is analysed in relation to: • The fabrication technology i.e. the effect of cold expansion/compression (UOE/UOC) of TMCP plates on the mechanical and geometrical pipe characteristics; • The line pipe material i.e. the effect of the shape of the actual stress-strain curve and the Y/T ratio on the sectional performance, under combined loads; • The load combination i.e. the effect of the axial force and bending moment on the limit capacity against collapse and ovalisation buckling failure modes, under the considerable external pressure. International design guidelines are analysed in this respect, and experimental findings are compared with the ones from the application of proposed limit state equations and from dedicated FE simulations.

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