As offshore oil and gas fields mature on the Grand Banks, offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, marginal field subsea tie-backs are necessary to maintain production levels. Existing untrenched flowline lengths have been limited by the assumption that iceberg contact equates to flowline failure. However, extended tie-backs will be necessary to develop stranded resources. To potentially reduce the number of failure cases, we can consider a better definition of failure that accounts for the pipeline response due to iceberg-soil-pipeline interaction events. Reducing the failure rate from free-floating iceberg contacts alone can significantly increase safe tie-back lengths.
This paper examines the flowline response from impacts with free-floating icebergs using large deformation finite element analysis. The plane strain pipe-soil interaction response is first simulated for pure vertical loading and compared against analytical bearing capacity theory. The influence of non-associativity in the soil constitutive model is demonstrated with respect to predicting the pipe drained penetration resistance in dense sands. Oblique vertical-horizontal plane strain pipe-soil interaction is also investigated, and it is shown that the vertical penetration resistance is reduced when the pipe trajectory deviates from pure vertical, consistent with published interaction diagrams. Lastly, the fully coupled interaction scenario of free-floating iceberg-pipe-soil interaction is simulated, showing the effects of the pipe wall thickness and soil strength. The numerical modelling procedures are described and the soil constitutive model that incorporates dense sand behavior is detailed.