A study has been performed to better understand ultimate bending moment and strain capacities of pipelines in relation to criteria defined in the design codes. An 18″ HPHT flowline was designed to undergo global buckling on uneven seabed and to resist trawl gear interference. The high temperature (155 degC) and pressure (300 bar) posed considerable design challenges for material selection and design criteria. A CRA-lined X60 CMn pipeline was selected for the project. The pipeline was of seamless manufacture for which the stress/strain characteristics are subject to the effect of Lüders bands. The DNV-OS-F101 code covers a wide range of D/t but does not specifically address Lüder’s material behaviour which could significantly reduce the bending moment capacity of pipe.

The global buckling and trawl pull-over FE analysis results indicated the pipe was highly utilized, requiring excessive amounts of seabed intervention at great cost to meet the DNV LCC criteria. Detailed FE simulation of limit states for local buckling and strain localization of a 3D solid element pipe model was performed, with both Roundhouse and Lüders material properties, to investigate pipe capacity in relation to that stipulated by the design codes. The pipe moment capacity was established by obtaining the moment curvature relationship by bending the local pipe section subject to internal pressure until the maximum resistance was reached. Imperfections were introduced to initiate local buckling at the desired location. To determine strain concentration factors and strain localization, the effects of thickness changes and weld misalignment were also studied.

The DNV OS-F101 LCC moment criterion formulation computes a decreasing moment capacity for increasing internal pressure. It has been suggested in the literature that this is correct for higher D/t but the criterion may be conservative for pipes with lower D/t. The combination of Lüders material with low D/t is not specifically addressed by any design code. Clarification of these aspects will provide a better understanding of the risk of failure for highly utilized seamless pipelines and allow for modified design criteria that will reduce seabed intervention costs.

The results of the study showed that a higher bending moment criterion and associated strain criterion could be adopted for the design that allows for the higher initial strain caused by Lüder’s plateau. The ultimate bending moment capacity of low D/t pipe with Lüder’s material was found to be similar to that of Roundhouse material due to work hardening. In addition, it was demonstrated that the potential strength of the CRA liner could enhance the moment capacity of the seamless pipe.

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