A study of probabilistic fatigue assessment methods for offshore structures confirmed that fatigue life predictions for offshore welded joints is dominated by uncertainties in hot spot stress estimation, arising from uncertainties in nominal stress and stress concentration factors. Analysis of data from previous fatigue studies on North Sea jacket structures conducted in the late 1980s suggests that nominal stresses are, in general, overestimated by about 30% and the COV of the bias is about 0.35. The study demonstrated that in-service fatigue failure probability is not only dependent on the COV but also on the median bias of the nominal stress range. A number of nominal stress COVs are recommended with associated median values for general offshore application. Distributions are also suggested for other variables such as Miner’s damage sum and the S-N design curve coefficients. Methods based on long-term stress range distribution with random parameters to cater for uncertainties in stress estimation are described and example calculations are given.

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