In this paper a beam bending model is combined with existing predictive formulas for pipeline scour to study changes to pipeline stability during scour and lowering. The model is introduced and demonstrated for a range of simplified conditions, including scour-induced lowering of a pipeline resulting from multiple uniformly spaced scour initiation points. The model is then used with a synthetic seabed generated with a variety of length scales. In this simulation the pipeline is ‘laid’ onto the seabed, leading to the formation of ‘natural’ initiation points for scour. The distribution and spacing of the initiation points (which are a function of the pipeline bending stiffness, tension and seabed roughness) lead to different rates of pipeline lowering and stability. The resulting model may be used within a probabilistic framework to estimate changes to pipeline stability resulting from sediment mobility and scour.

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