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INTRODUCTION

Offshore pipelines are used for transportation of fluid from offshore fields to the
shore. During the last decade, several major pipeline projects have been completed and are
under construction several parts of the world.

Pipelines are built up by welding individual pipes into a continuous line. Quality
of all welded joints is thoroughly inspected by X ray method. There after the pipe line is
submerged into water and lowered onto the sea by selecting laying method one of which is
the S-lay method.

S lay takes its name from the suspended shape of the pipe at the end of the barge,
which lays in a gentle ‘S’ from the stringer to the sea bed. Usually a lay barge like the LB200
shown in the figure below is used to lay the pipeline.

Figure 1

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This report talks about the step-by-step procedure of joining the pipeline aboard the
lay barge LB200. A complete pipe handling system is installed inclusive two (2)

Double joint fabrication buildings located at the main deck port and starboard with
transfer facilities to the main firing line. Additional outfitting facilities include
welding, tensioning and stern ramp equipment in support of variable pipe lay
activity up to 1727 in diameter in deep water.

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ROUTE SELECTION
The starting point for the best route is a straight line. However very few
pipelines go in straight line and there are numerous factors which lead us away from
the straight line.

1. The oil industry shares the sea bed with the telecommunication industry. With the
advent of sub sea fibers optics for international phone calls etc there are many cables
currently being installed.

2. Existing pipelines are preferably crossed perpendicularly, while the minimum angle
being 30 degree. The reason for this being that any shallower angle of approach
would lead to a long and extensive crossing with a greater amount of protection
needed over the area. With anchored lay barge like LB200, the anchoring procedure
will be difficult at angles less than 30 degree.

3. There is a minimum radius for the curve that the lay barge can achieve. Typically
this is 1 km radius for small pipelines and 2 km for large pipelines.

4. There are restricted areas where military operations are carried out and where
dredging is carried out. Also sometimes national boundaries are avoided due to many
reasons.

5. There may be environmental pressures to avoid fishing grounds, sites of special


scientific interest and special areas of conservations.

6. Rock outcrops are avoided to permit trenching, which improves stability of the
pipelines. Damage can occur to pipelines laid directly on rock so a layer of gravel is
laid between bedding.

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WALL THICKNESS
The principle for sizing force wall thickness is to make the wall thick enough to contain the
maximum allowable operating pressure. This sets a minimum value for the wall thickness.
There are many factors to take into account which may lead to the selection of a thicker wall.
They are

1. In order to account for the internal pressure.

2. The wall thickness design must allow for corrosion for all manufacturing tolerance on
the thickness of the steel.

3. The pipe must resist bending due to self weight or environmental loading.

4. It must resist running buckle. This is an effect where a single imperfection can allow
hydrostatic collapse to start and to run both ways along the pipe until it is all flattened
or runs into shallow water. The material needs to be strong enough to resist this.

5. In some cases the pipeline may need a thicker wall to increase its self weight to
ensure that it remains stable on the sea bed.

The wall thickness needed for pressure containment is found using the following equation

tmin = [{(pe-pi).D/{2Aσyα}] + Ca

Where,

tmin= minimum wall thickness

pi and pe = internal and external pressure

D= outside diameter

A= design factor (.72 for pipelines)

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σy=specific minimum yield stress for the material

α = manufacturing tolerance on wall thickness (0.95 for welded)

Ca= corrosion allowance, typically 3 to 6 mm.

Having found the minimum thickness, the nominal thickness is found as the next standard
pipe thickness above this (taken from API 5L or ISO 3183)

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GENERAL ARRANGEMENT ON THE LAY BARGE
The lay barge operations can be divided into two main sections

The double joint line

There are two double joint located port and starboard side on the main deck with pipe
transfer capabilities into forward conveyor houses for optional distribution onto main line
pipe welding station. Each double joint facility is outfitted with handling equipment inclusive
of- electro hydraulic track conveyors, pipe transfer trolley, pipe end preparation station, one
line up station with internal clamp, three external, one internal welding station and one X-ray
station.

Main line

the main line equipment and facilities include the main line conveyor system, line up station
with internal clamp , 4 welding stations with automatic and semi automatic weld equipment,
NDT testing station and 2 field joint coating station, 4 tensioners and a central stern ramp.

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Figure 2

INITIAL PREPARATION
Leak test

Individual pipes have to under go a leak test where the ends of the pipes are closed and filled
with water as in figure

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Figure 3

Any leak if found, the pipe is rejected

Joint preparation

The operation on the lay barge begins with the joint preparations

The end preparation machine is used to prepare a special joint design on the pipe ends and is
an essential part of the welding station. The joint design for the submerged arc welding is a V
beveled on both the inside (root) and the outside (face) of the weld joint.

The preparation of the pipe provides uniform joint design; dimension control needed for
automatic welding and provides for excellent cleaning in advance of cooling as in figure.

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Figure 4

The end preparation machine is built in 2 main sections, the clamping section and the rotating
cutting section.

The clamping section is built to be inserted into the pipe where two sets of clamping
mechanism are hydraulically expanded radiall outwards against the inside surface of the pipe.
This operation clamps the machine in the pipe, rounds the pipe in case of ovality and aligns
the axis of the cutting machine with the pipe axis so that the machine cut out on the pipe end
is normal to the pipe axis.

Induction heating

Also before welding the pipes are usually preheated using induction units. The induction type
uses rapid alternating electric field to induce eddy currents in the pipe wall, which gives a
uniform heat throughout the wall of the pipe. The preheating causes the evaporation of any
moisture near the weld site and allows a slower cool down rate after the welding. This
reduces the problems associated with rapid cooling, particularly hydrogen embitterment.
Commonly the preheating temperature is between 60-140 degree centigrade.

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THE DOUBLE JOINT
The double joint utilizes the submerged arc welding process in the double joint line. Here the
two 12m pipes are welded to form 24m pipes. Each station consists of one powered turning
roll and one idler roll. As mentioned earlier the double joint consists of 4 welding stations
and the procedure is as follows

Initial root pass

At the first welding station the two 12m pipes are brought into alignment and clamped with a
special double joint type line in clamp here the initial root pass is given. Now the 24m pipe
moves to the second welding station. The figure below shows the internal clamp

Figure 5

Internal welding station

Here the weld pass is made on the inside of the pipe. The welding head mounted on the end
of a boom and carriage assembly, is inserted into a pipe by an operator. When the weld head
is in position at the weld joint the pipe is rotated by turning the rolls and the welding begins.
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The welding arc is maintained near the bottom dead centre of the pipe. A vacuum flux
recovery system is included as a part of the internal welding equipment.

External welding station

The first weld pass together with the outside hot pass are welded at the stations 3 and 4.
When the pipe is positioned to the proper location, and elevated onto the turning rolls, a
floating weld head assembly is lowered into position on the pipe surface on the welded joint.
The weld head rides the pipe surface on 4 small wheels and the floating action
accommodates small movements on the pipe joint during rotation. This welding equipment
also incorporates a vacuum flux recovery and filtering system.

Double joint testing

After the welding process the joint is transferred to the NDT i.e. the non destructive testing
station. The two methods of welding employed on the lay barge are the X-ray method and the
ultrasonic method, choice of method being the clients.

In the X- ray method X ray’s are produced by high voltage X ray machine. The x rays are
placed close to the material to be inspected. The rays pass through the material and are
captured on film, which is wound around the pipe. The film is then processed in darkroom
situated there and the image is obtained as a series of grey shades between black and white.

While the film is being inspected the double joint is in stand by position. If the weld is
rejected, the double joint is transferred to the reject line for cut out and recycles.

If accepted, the double joint is inserted in the line up, from starboard and port station. The
double joint is inserted in the main line as require by production.

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THE MAIN LINE
The main line consists of 6 welding stations, 2 coating stations, line up station with internal
clamp and a main line conveyor system the procedures at each stations is as follows

Welding station 0

The pipeline internal equipment is maneuvered from station zero. The buckle detector and
the stop crawler are inserted at this station into the double joint. The movement of these
equipment along with the X ray motion is controlled by the winch permanently installed at
station zero.

Welding station 1

The pipe (24m) from the line up is put on the main line. The internal clamp is inserted as
shown in figure

Figure 6

The pipe ends are brought together, aligned and butted tightly together. The clamp facing
feature hydraulically separates the two joints to the pre set root opening after which the back
up ring is expanded radially outwards against the inside pipe surface at the weld joint. After
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the root pass is completed, the copper back up ring is retraced from the weld joint, the space
mechanism is retraced to its original position, and the clamping piston retraced.

Figure 7

As in figure, the weld repair team, interprets the film and estimates the position of the
default. The weld if ground tills the defect (manually) and the grove filled again by series of
weld. The operation is manual and not automated. After this the weld is shot again and the
inspection is done gain. If the weld is accepted the procedure activities resume else the weld
is rejected.

If the weld is rejected the pipe is cut out i.e. the pipes joined before it is removed. The barge
moves back till the pipe is at WS1 and the whole process starts again.

Welding station 6 and 7

Pipe which is shop coated with concrete has a cut back at the field joint for welding. The cut
back in the concrete leaves a space to be filled with anti corrosion coating till the concrete
level which is done at station 7 and 8. The various steps are as shown in figure.

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Figure 8

The pipe mastic station located midship. Aft on the work deck, supplies hot melted mastic to
the field joint as they pass from the inspection station to the stern ramp. This mastic provides
protection against corrosion and mechanical damage at the field joints and helps control the
specific gravity of the pipe by adding weight.

The mastic station is a heating plant, which consists of two mastic chopper, two lower
conveyor, two transfer bins and six mastic kettles.

The mastic chopper contains a rotating drum with hammers to crush the mastic if it is in the
solid form. The lower conveyor has a chute with a moving chain which transports the
chopped mastic to the transfer bin. The bin stores the chopped mastic until the kettle is ready
for refilling. The bins are equipped with sliding doors used to direct the chopped mastic to
the mastic kettle storage hopper. The kettle melts the chopped mastic and stores it until it is
used to fill the transfer pot. Each transfer pot (two in number) is oil filled and electrically
heated to maintain the mastic at the correct temperature. The mastic so obtained is used to fill
the field joints.

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BARGE MOVEMENT
The lay barge is equipped with 14 point mooring system which is used to control the barge
movement during pipe laying operation in such a manner that the pipe is laid on the sea bed
within the specified corridor

The mooring system must hold the barge in position and stationary during pipe welding
operations and generate the required barge movement. In addition the mooring system must
provide the reaction to balance the pull of the tension machines which may exert forces in
excess of 340MT.

Figure 9

As in figure to move forward the barge track itself on the bow anchors lines while releasing
the stern anchor cables. The barge moves under the pipe 24 m at a time, then another add on
cycle starts at WS1.

At good conditions the barge lays 6.09 km of pipeline in 24 hours.

Anchor resetting

To reset the anchor, the tug lifts the anchor from the sea bed by means of a pennant line. The
barge retracts the anchor line by pulling it with its anchor winches. The anchor handling tug
re extends the lines at the desired direction and length and sets the anchor on the bottom.
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TENSIONERS
The lay barge is loaded with a numerous length of straight pipe which are welded one by one
board to the end of the pipe which are being fed into the sea. As more and more pipe is fed of
the back of the ship, the weight of the unsupported pipe grows. The pull down on the end is
called over bend.

The greater the depth of the water and the bigger the pipe. Furthermore the vessel will be
pulling in the direction of the lay. The weight of the suspended pipe and tension imparted by
the relative movement of the vessel away from the pipe laying on the sea bed will tend to pull
the pipe towards the sea bed and off the ship. This is prevented by the use of tensioners.

Figure 10

the tensioner has or must have the capacity to match the tension trying to pull the
pipe of the vessel or we can say that to prevent the pipe moving away from the ship

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or lay barge in an uncontrolled manner an equal an opposite pull has to be exerted
by the tensioner

This gives it buoyancy. The pipe tensioning system aboard the LB200, is designed
to automatically maintain a constant tension on the pipe string during operations.
Tension on the pipe is required to prevent damage to the length of the pipe
suspended between the barge and the sea floor. The amount of tension required
depends on the water depth, pipe diameter, wall thickness and weight, and can be
automatically maintained between pre set limit at all times once the required tension
value is set.

Each pipe tensioner consists of an upper and lower track, supported by a frame
assembly. Pneumatically actuated rollers within the track loops apply squeeze forces
on the track, which in turn grip the pipe.

This automatic system compares the sum of the measured tension with the desired
tension, the control system, the control system causes hydraulic pumps to haul in or
pay out pipe as required until the actual tension equal the desired tension dead band
controls allow selection of a range of tension within a given band instead of a single
tension point. Each selection maintains within finely adjustable limit without
constant correction.

The pipe tensioners are designed to allow passage of irregular coated surface and to
absorb pipe flexing while maintaining constant grip and tension. The “soft” track for
+- 30mm variations in the pipe coating thickness and +- 50mm pipe curvature while
providing enough stiffness to keep traction pads from pressing into the connecting
pipe joint and the hot weld surface. The track suspension system does not support
the pipe, which actually floats freely to compensate for vertical misalignment.

The traction pad mounting and cross-tie configuration maintaining an equal four
point distribution of clamping forces on the pipe thereby imposing lower stresses on
both pipe and concrete.

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STERN RAMP
The stern ramp functions to guide the pipe string over the stern of the vessel into the sea and
onto the sea bottom. The ramp is attached to the vessel at the port and starboard carriage of
the stern ramp retraction system and through an intermediate support by an ‘A’ as in the
figure below.

Figure 11

The ramp is made-up of three hinged sections with a total length of 120m and overall width
of 6m.The roller guide way on the stern ramp on both the side a rigid curved support in the
over bend of the pipe as shown in the figure below

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Figure 12

The ramp roller system comprises of the horizontal roller box assembly, 20 cable guide
rollers. 2 cantilever track assemblies, 3 pairs of vertical rollers and a tip roller as shown in
figure below

Figure 13
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PIPE ABANDONMENT AND RECOVERY SYSTEM

It is necessary during pipeline installation works to be able to lower the pipe string to the
seabed.. This capability is required at the termination of the pipeline, junction with a second
pipeline or when deteriorating sea/weather conditions dictate, so as to prevent damage to the
pipeline and to safely recover the abandoned line in order to continue the pipe lay operation.

Prior to abandonment, the end of the pipe is sealed by welding an Abandonment/Emergency


head to the pipe. The pipe is then lowered to the sea floor. During the process of lowering the
pipe and its subsequent recovery, it is necessary to maintain the tension on the pipe string
that is normally exerted by the tensioners. To meet these requirements, the Abandonment and
Recovery (A&R) winch is used. When the pipeline is to be abandoned, the pipe tension is
transferred from the tensioners to the A&R winch, which then controls the pipe tension as the
barge moves out from under the pipes string. Subsequently, when pipe laying operations are
to be resumed, the A&R winch is used to recover the pipe. The figure shows the top and side
view of the A&W winch on LB200

Figure 14

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The first pipe in the laying procedure is the initiation head. as shown in the figure

Figure 15

The initiation is laid into the water with the help of a tug boat. The initiation head is
connected to the tug via a cable. The tug helps pull the pipeline to the starting point after
which the laying procedure proceeds as explained earlier. Due to the large amount of force
coming on the head the material of the head is made up of high carbon steel.

Similarly the last joint on the pipeline is the lay down head. The lay down head as shown in
the figure below

Figure 16

Is connected to the A&R cable. the force imparted by the tensioner is transferred to the cable
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which slowly lays the pipe onto the sea bed. Once the pipe end is at the target the following
steps are done

1. after the pipe is put in the right position the tug comes to the surface byou to lift the
cable ( A&R cable)

figure 17

2. the cable is lifted and the A&R cable disconnected

figure 18

The heads contain valves which are connected by pipes to obtain or deliver oil.
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PIGGING
.Before the commencement of transportation of oil the cleaning of the pipe is done once by
passing a pig through the pipe. Pig is a device containing metal wires as brushes on the
circumferences to remove wax rust etc accumulated on the internal of the pipe after the
welding process. A typical pig is given below in the figure

figure 19

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CONCLUSION
S lay method is the most widely accepted method for laying pipelines at high
depth. The LB200 has a world record of laying 6.09 km in 24 hrs. The search for faster
methods needed for laying pipelines is still on. The problems arising due to bad weather
etc. are still being researched upon.

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JOURNALS AND REFERENCES

1. Journal of petroleum technology.

2. Trevor Jee Associates- Overview of Pipeline


Engineering

3. K Karal- Offshore pipelines

4. Stolt Offshore- Operational manual LB200

5. www.wikipedia.com

6. www.howstuffworks.com

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ABSTRACT
Offshore pipelines are used for transportation of fluid from
offshore fields to the shore Pipelines are built up by welding individual
pipes into a continuous line. Quality of all welded joints is thoroughly
inspected by X ray method. There after the pipe line is submerged into
water and lowered onto the sea by selecting laying method one of which
is the S-lay method .Usually a lay barge like the LB200 used to lay the
pipeline. This report talks about the step-by-step procedure of joining
the pipeline aboard the lay barge LB200. A complete pipe handling
system is installed inclusive two (2) Double joint fabrication buildings
located at the main deck port and starboard with transfer facilities to
the main firing line. Additional outfitting facilities include welding,
tensioning and stern ramp equipment in support of variable pipe lay
activity up to 1727 in diameter in deep water.

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CONTENTS

 INTRODUCTION 1

 ROUTE SELECTION 3

 WALL THICKNESS 4

 GENERAL ARRANGEMENT ON THE LAY BARGE 6

 INITIAL PREPARATION 7

 THE DOUBLE JOINT 9

 MAIN LINE 11

 BARGE MOVEMENT 14

 TENSIONERS 15

 STERN RAMP 17

 PIPE ABANDONMENT AND RECOVERY SYSTEM 19

 PIGGING 22

 CONCLUSION 23

 JOURNALS AND REFERENCES 24

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