Medgaz is a consortium of leading international energy companies, with the aim of designing, building and operating an Algerian-European gas pipeline via Spain. The offshore section of this pipeline will be 210 km long, traversing the Mediterranean Sea floor at a maximum depth of 2160 metres. The 24-inch diameter, grade X70 line will provide up to 8 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, with first gas flow expected in 2009. To support the technical issues surrounding such an ultra-deepwater pipelay, a number of full scale local buckling tests and detailed finite element analyses were undertaken at the C-FER facility in Edmonton, Canada. Local buckling conditions of concern included buckling of the pipe section at the pipe-buckle arrestor interface and collapse of the plain pipe under high external pressure. These conditions may arise during various phases of pipeline installation and operation, but the primary focus was to evaluate the local buckling integrity of the pipe during installation using the S-lay method. These conditions were assessed for both as-fabricated pipe and pipe that was heat treated to simulate a pipe coating process. This paper describes the Medgaz pipeline, its current state of development, the installation challenges that necessitated the buckling assessments, and some of the work performed throughout the study, including full scale tests, finite element analyses, and regression analyses. Collapse and critical bending strain predictive equations were developed and are also presented, and are compared to other well known collapse and critical bending strain equations. The results of these assessments have suggested that, for the local buckling conditions presented herein, the S-lay method can be successfully employed for ultra-deep water pipelay. The results demonstrated that the proposed pipe-buckle arrestor connection design will not cause premature buckling as the pipe traverses along the stinger during installation. In addition, potentially high bending strains in the overbend will not significantly influence the collapse strength of the pipe. The regression equations presented in this paper have also been shown to provide an accurate means of predicting pipe local buckling and collapse.

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