Structural integrity assessment for subsea pipelines at high pressure high temperature (HPHT) service conditions is one of the most challenging research topics in offshore engineering sector. This paper is to introduce an extended finite element method (XFEM) based numerical approach for structural integrity assessment for subsea pipelines serving HPHT reservoir. A 3D model of a quarter of subsea pipe section with an external semi-elliptical surface crack located at the weld toe is built and the crack propagation under fatigue load is simulated using the XFEM. Results are presented and investigated from both geometric and mechanical aspects. Theoretical basis and limitation for this technique are discussed. Suggestions are given for future application of the XFEM technique based on fracture mechanics when assessing the structural integrity of subsea pipelines at HPHT service conditions.

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