Development of remote energy requires large pipeline networks to be placed in more challenging environments such as offshore in deeper waters or on land in Arctic or near-Arctic locations. Pipeline installed and operated in such regions may be subjected to large plastic strains. Engineering critical assessments (ECA) are commonly carried out during design, installation and operation of offshore pipelines to determine acceptable flaw sizes in pipeline girth welds. A number of fracture mechanics-based procedures are available for ECA of pipeline girth welds. Most of these methods are primarily stress-based assessments and are therefore not directly applicable to cases where the displacement-/strain-controlled loading generates large amounts of plastic deformation. For such cases, strain-based fracture assessment for pipeline/girth welds should be carried out instead. However, limited guidance on strain-based assessment is available in the current codes and standards used primarily by the oil and gas industries. This paper reviews the existing strain-based fracture assessment methods, and reports the results of preliminary studies performed to compare the methods reviewed with the available full-scale pipe test data.

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