Development of deep water oil reservoirs are undertaken in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) where the flowlines are installed in the water depths in excess of 3,050m (10,000ft). Deepwater external pressure becomes so significant that it makes local buckling or accidental collapse propagate along the pipeline. Such propagation will not stop until it reaches a region where the external pressure falls below the propagating pressure or where the pipe wall is strengthened. Field data indicates that once a buckle happens, the flowline could collapse many kilometers instantly. It concludes that buckle propagation could cause substantial economical impact if left uncontrolled. For pipe-in-pipe (PIP) flowline, due to lack of pressure differential, the outer pipe becomes a fragile component in terms of buckle propagation. One way to prevent the propagation of local buckling or collapse is to utilize the buckle arrestors of various types. Clamp-on buckle arrestor is so far the best choice for the flowlines to be installed by the Reel-Lay method. The objective of this paper is to present the results of a finite element (FE) study, to reveal the phenomena of collapsing/propagating of the pipe-in-pipe flowline, and to investigate the effectiveness of Clamp-on buckle arrestor for deep water flowlines. Sensitivities of key design parameters are explored with the purpose of guiding detail mechanical design of the clamp-on buckle arrestor.

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