The objective of this study is to explore the opportunity to improve the design and sizing of mudmat for subsea structures, such as Pipeline End Termination (PLET). This is done by comparing the traditional approach following the limit equilibrium methods in API RP 2GEO with a more rigorous simplified integrated analysis approach that involves a single finite element analysis (FEA) model that includes both the pipeline and jumpers together along with the soil-mudmat interaction modeled as non-linear springs, and to quantify any conservatism inherent in the traditional approach.
A mudmat design with aspect ratio of 1:2 was considered for detailed analysis. Initially, jumper and pipeline loads were determined by imposing artificial boundary conditions at the hubs and end terminals. Using analytical methods and considering a total dead (submerged) weight of the mudmat and superstructure, a mudmat size was determined per the American Petroleum Institute (API) approach. Factor of Safety (FOS) for bearing and sliding loads were also determined. Thereon, using this mudmat size, the FOS for bearing and sliding were determined using the simplified integrated approach with nonlinear springs representing soil-mudmat interactions.
The FOS values using the simplified approach were observed to be higher than those obtained using the traditional approach. This provides an opportunity for a “leaner” design, especially as new high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) fields are made feasible where the mudmat size, if designed with conservatism in API RP 2GEO, may be impractically large for installation.