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Copyright 2007, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2007 Offshore Technology Conference held in
Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 30 April3 May 2007.

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Abstract
During the last years the number of deepwater oil field
developments has increased significantly, resulting in a strong
demand for pipe lay vessels. The continuously increasing day-
rates of lay vessels is making the combined tow method for
deepwater pipelines and riser more competitive. Also a
requirement for more sophisticated materials and strict
qualification requirements to welded joints, due to sour service
and fatigue performance, make the tow method a more
preferred solution since the pipeline is fabricated and welded
onshore. More than 50 bundles have been installed in the
North Sea towed out from the Wick fabrications site located in
the northeast of Scotland.
This paper describes a method of towing deep water
pipelines and risers, fulfilling both strength and fatigue
requirements. The concept incorporates presently available
equipment and technology. The proposed method is
demonstrated through two case studies presenting the
installation of a gas export pipeline at a water depth of 800m
and a riser/pipeline string at a water depth of 300m.

Introduction
Pipelines may be installed by the towing techniques where
long sections of the line are made up onshore and towed with
tug boats to the field. The design procedures for towed or
pulled lines are very dependent on the type of tow method
chosen. It is also important to control the submerged weight of
a towed line to minimize towing forces and at the same time
have sufficient weight for stability on the seabed in cross
currents.
The combined tow concept reported in this paper
incorporate the following tow methods for deep water
pipelines and risers:

a
Presently at J P Kenny, Norway



Figure 1 Controlled depth tow method

- The off-bottom tow method (with buoyancy tanks
and chains) from the fabrication site to approximately
5km offshore.
- The CDTM (Controlled Depth Tow Method, Figure
1) from 5km offshore to a temporary location where
the buoyancy tanks are removed.
- The catenary tow method for the deep water tow to
the installation site (without buoyancy tanks and
chains).

For the off-bottom- and controlled depth tow method,
buoyancy steel tanks are mounted at selected intervals. Chains
are also mounted at frequent intervals along the pipeline to
overcome the excess buoyancy and keep the system stable.
During the catenary tow method the buoyancy modules and
chains are removed and the submerged weight of the system
increases.

Tow Methods
In order to use the tow methods, the pipeline is normally
constructed at an onshore site with access to the sea. Once the
pipeline sections are welded together to a determined length
and hydro tested, the pipe is de-watered and launched into the
water by a tow vessel attached to the lead end as seen in
Figure 2. Onsite winches are attached to the trail end to ensure
back tension and control the launch speed.
During this operation the varying curvature of the pipeline
string due to the tidal current is continuously monitored and
corrected by the lead tug. When the whole length of the
pipeline is launched, submerged weight checks are carried out
to ensure that the pipeline is suitable for towing. Chains are
added or removed to achieve the desired submerged weight
before the tow vessels begin to tow the pipeline along the
predetermined tow route.

OTC 18797
Combined Tow Method for Deepwater Pipeline and Riser Installation
Alf Roger Hellest, Daniel Karunakaran, and Trond Grytten
a
, Subsea 7, and Ove Tobias Gudmestad, Statoil and U. of
Stavanger
2 OTC 18797

Figure 2 Tow out from shore

For pipelines that are to be towed into deepwater,
pressurized nitrogen can be introduced into the buoyancy
tanks to prevent collapse or buckling of the tanks under high
external hydrostatic pressure.
Pipeline installation by towing can be divided into three
main methods:

- Off-bottom tow
- Mid-depth tow - CDTM
- Catenary tow

The choice of method is dependent on the following
factors:

- The submerged weight of the pipeline
- Length of the pipeline
- The seabed environment and presence of existing
pipelines along the selected tow route

The combined tow concept reported in this paper look into
a combination of the 3 methods presented above i.e. Off-
bottom tow method from the shore to a suitable depth, CDTM
method from this point to entering deeper waters and Catenary
tow for the deepwater tow to the installation site. In the off-
bottom and controlled depth tow phases, the pipeline is
supported by external buoys and chains which are removed by
an ROV before the catenary tow phase. A short introduction to
the different tow methods used in the combined tow concept is
presented herein.

Off-bottom tow method
To control the pipelines submerged weight, buoyancy
modules are mounted at selected intervals. Further chains are
mounted at frequent intervals along the pipeline to overcome
the excess buoyancy and keep the system stable on the seabed
in cross currents. During the off-bottom tow, the submerged
weight of the pipeline together with the buoyancy modules
and chains are equal to the weight of chain links resting on the
seabed. By controlling these weights the pipeline can be
located above the seabed at a predetermined height during the
tow, see Figure 3. The advantages of this method is that
existing pipelines can be crossed by placing concrete mats or
sandbags over these lines allowing the hanging chains to be
dragged over the mats and not damage the coating. Off-bottom
tow is only feasible up to a certain depth as the buoyancy
becomes more expensive as the water depth increase. Despite
of the longer exposure time (due to lower towing speed)
compared to CDTM the total accumulated fatigue damage is
smaller since the pipeline is further away from the surface
wave action. Off-bottom tow is used at locations where the
bottom conditions on the tow route are known and smaller
towing loads and fatigue damage are required.


Figure 3 Off-bottom tow method

Controlled depth tow method (CDTM)
In controlled depth tow method, see Figure 4, the pipeline
is kept between the lead and trailing tug. The total submerged
weight of the pipeline, floats and chains is negative. During
tow, the drag on the chain creates a 'lift force' shown in Figure
5, which reduces the systems submerged weight. An
increasing flow velocity is consistent with an increasing angle
between the drag chains and the vertical. The submerged
weight is hence also determined by the relative water velocity
past the chain.


Figure 4 Controlled depth tow method



Figure 5 Forces on the tow chain during tow


At the design tow speed, the pipeline will lift off from the
seabed and adopt the desired mid-depth CDTM configuration.
The lift is dependent on:

OTC 18797 3
- Speed
- Type of chain
- Number of links

By controlling the tow speed and tow wire length, the
pipeline configuration is maintained within acceptable limits,
as defined by static and dynamic tow analyses. These essential
parameters are continuously monitored during the tow, and
adjusted if necessary. Figure 6 illustrate how the systems
submerged weight and tow speed affect the lift force. If the
pipeline/floats system total buoyancy decrease, less chain is
needed to achieve the design submerged weight (heavy
bundle) and a higher tow speed is needed to obtain an
adequate lift.


Figure 6 Lift force as function of tow speed

The advantages of the CDTM is the tow speed which is
higher than for off-bottom tow, and the absence of contact
with the sea bottom which allows passing severe slopes or
rocky bottom conditions. The maximum tow speed conducted
from bundle projects today is close up to 3.5 m/s. Normal tow
speed is in the range of 2.0 2.5 m/s.

Catenary tow
In the catenary tow, the pipeline is in a catenary
configuration between the tugs, see Figure 7. The required
bollard pull of the two tugs increases as the water depth
decreases. A catenary tow is not possible in shallow depth
since the required horizontal bollard pull forces to keep the
pipeline sag-bend of the seabed are too high for conventional
tugs. The installation on site is simply done by paying out on
the tug winch wires while controlling the touch down routing
with the vessel position.

Figure 7 Catenary tow method
Combined tow method for deep water installation
A main challenge with towing pipelines in deep water has
been the buoyancy needed to support the pipeline. The
required wall thickness in deep waters to avoid collapse makes
the steel buoyancy tanks too heavy and also the use of
syntactic buoyancy at these depths is expensive. Further
controlled removal of buoyancy in deepwater may be a time
consuming and expensive task because the buoys may need to
be recovered individually.
However, a new buoyancy tank design proposed by Subsea
7 together with making use of pressurized nitrogen to reduce
the required wt can solve the weight and handling challenges.
The nitrogen filled steel buoyancy tank design has
torispherical ends and consists of two compartments, see
Figure 8. One compartment (with a concave internal end) will
be flooded to reduce the buoyancy during buoy removal. The
other compartment has internal pressure that will be relieved
through proper valve system as the buoys return to the surface,
see also (Cruz 2005).


Figure 8 Buoyancy tank design

By having all the buoyancy modules only slightly buoyant,
they can be connected together by a line and de-attached from
the pipeline and recovered to the surface as a continuous string
shown in Figure 9. Thereafter they can be surface towed to
shore by tugs and demobilized. Before changing to a catenary
tow or installing a riser section where the chains also have to
be removed the chains can be connected together with the
buoyancy tanks as one assembly and recovered together with
the floats.


Figure 9 Buoyancy tanks recovery

Riser installations at location
The riser/pipeline string is gradually lowered to sea bed in
the parking area subsequent to arrival on location, where it
settles in an equilibrium position above sea bed with the lower
portion of chain links resting on sea bed. From the parking
area the riser/pipeline string will be towed in off bottom mode
until the towhead reaches the determined position. Thereafter
the riser/pipeline string will be pulled in to the platform with a
wire that goes through a sheave connected to an anchor
located at the platform leg and back to the lead tug.

Riser pull-in to production facility
Prior to start of the riser hang-off pull-in, the ballast chain
and buoyancy tanks will be removed from the riser section
Lift
Heavy
Bundle
Light
Bundle
Submerged
Weight
Speed
4 OTC 18797
after the pipeline/riser string is positioned on the sea bed, see
figure 10.


Figure 10 Positioning of a riser prior to pull-in to a production
facility

The riser will then be pulled in to the structure using a pull
in winch. During the whole operation the trial tug will adjust
the hold back tension and vessel position at the trail tow head
to control the riser catenary curvature and sideways
movement. ROVs will monitor the touch down point and the
lead tow head. When the riser end is at the platform deck it
will be permanently fixed at hang off flanges and the pull in
wire will be disconnected.

Deflections
If any horizontal deflection due to routing is required it can
be controlled by connecting clump weights along the
riser/pipeline string while the trial tug is setting of sideways.
The deflection tension force required will depend on the
currents deflecting the pipeline/riser string, the seabed friction
and at what degree of deflection that is needed. After the
subsea end is located in the target box the remaining buoyancy
tanks will be removed from the pipeline section ensuring on
bottom stability.

Design checks
The pipeline/riser integrity during tow out and installation
should be checked against DNV Submarine Pipeline Systems,
OS-F101, DNV (2005). For pipeline design issues, see also
Bai (2001).

Case studies
Two case studies are presented, these are:
Deepwater pipeline installation, 800 m water depth
Large diameter riser and pipeline installation in medium
water depth, 300 m.

Riser/Pipeline data for case studies
The pipeline properties used for the case studies are shown
in Table 1 below:

Table 1 Riser/pipeline data
Pipeline Riser/pipeline string
Length [m] 3000 625/1375
Wt [mm] 25 28.6
OD [mm] 609.6 666.8
Material API 5L X65 ASTM Grade 23/API 5L X65




Coating
The riser section consists of different coating layers along
its length. The pipeline has a 3mm coating layer with density
1550 kg/m
3
.

Buckle arrestors
Even if the pipeline is designed to resist collapse from
external pressure, welded external sleeve type buckle arrestors
are needed to limit the damage caused if a buckle is initiated.
The buckles may be induced during installation when the
pipeline is empty.

Towheads
The lead towhead shown in Figure 11 is designed to have a
total submerged weight of 1 tonnes and enables connection
between the pipeline and the tow wires. The lead and trial
towheads body will have typically 4 and 2pipework/valves
attached, for flooding & venting purposes. Manifolds and
pigging systems can be integrated in the pipeline midline or
end sections (as towheads). In these cases, the towed pipeline
is termed as a towed production system.


Figure 11 Typical Towhead Design

Buoyancy modules
The steel buoyancy tanks have torispherical ends and
consist of two compartments, see Figures 8 and 12. One
compartment (with the concave internal end) will be flooded
to reduce the buoyancy during buoy removal. The other
compartment has internal pressure that will be relieved
through proper valve system as the buoys return to the surface.
The buoyancy tanks are mounted at predetermined lengths to
achieve the design submerged weight to the system. Each
buoyancy tank applies approx. 3 tonnes buoyancy to the
system.


Figure 12 Typical Buoyancy Tank
OTC 18797 5
Ballast Chains
The present pipeline chain configuration is composed of a
long chain and two short chains for any 36m long section. The
pipeline becomes negatively buoyant at zero tow speed. In this
case, some chain links will be suspended between the pipeline
and the sea bed while other links will be resting on the sea
bed, see figure 13. The submerged weight of the chain links
resting on the sea bed will be equal to the total submerged
weight of the system. Table 2 summarizes the submerged
weights.

Table 2 Submerged weight of pipeline section and chains
Pipeline Riser/pipeline
Resulting buoyancy incl.
floaters [N/m]
-98 -83/-155
Submerged chain weight along
section [N/m]
153 154/226
Resulting submerged weight
[N/m]
55 71


Figure 13 Chain configuration

Design and Operational criteria
The following design criteria are governing for the tow
operations

- The dynamic pipeline Von Mises Stress and
Longitudinal Stress shall be within 90 % of the yield
stress
- The maximum allowable fatigue damage during
installation shall be limited to 0.1

A local buckling check based on the Load controlled
condition according to DNV-OS-F101 (DNV, 2005) is also
performed.

Weather restricted operations
Uncertainties in weather forecasts are included by applying
an operational limiting sea state less than the design limiting
sea state. The operational versus design criteria ratio is set
according to DNV Rules for planning and execution of marine
operations, DNV (1996). The relevant reduction factor (alpha
factor) is 0.63 for H
S,D
greater than 4m and an operational
period less than 72hrs. Therefore each phase of the tow
operation is planned as a single marine operation within a
reference period less than 72 hours, referring to the design
criterion from DNV (1996). The design parameters for the tow
routes are presented in Table 3 and Table 4 below.

Table 3 Design parameters for the deepwater tow operation
Deepwater Pipeline tow Off-bottom Controlled-
depth
Catenary
Tow velocity [m/s] 0.7 2.5 2.5
Planned operation [hrs] 4 59 34



Table 4 Design parameters for the medium tow operation
Medium water depth
riser/pipeline tow
Off-bottom Controlled-
depth
Tow velocity [m/s] 0.7 2.5
Planned operation [hrs] 4 55

Several wave headings have been considered for each set
of H
S,D
and T
Z
. A summary of all the analyzed sea states are
included in Table 5.

Table 5 Applicable sea states for design criteria simulations
Wave heading
[deg]
T
z
[s] H
s,D
[m] H
s,OP
[m]
0 [6, 7, 813]
45 [6, 7, 813]
90 [6, 7, 813] 5.5 3.5
135 [6, 7, 813]
180 [6, 7, 813]

Figure 14 present the proposed tow routes used for the two
case studies. The tow route for the deepwater pipeline involves
a combination of all three tow methods.



Figure 14 Proposed tow routes for the combined tow operations

Analysis methods
RIFLEX for Windows v.3.4.5 (Marintek, Sintef 2005 a and
b) has been used for the pipeline tow simulations at 800 m
water depth and Visual OrcaFlex v.8.6.d has been used as
design tool for the riser and pipeline tow and installation
simulations at 300 m water depth.

Tow models
- The pipeline and towheads are modeled by FEM
principles using discrete beam elements.
- The static tow configurations are established.
- The tug wave response is modeled by RAO data for
relevant tugs.
- The buoyancy modules are modeled as clump weight
types
- The ballast chains are modeled as drag chains.
- Wave modeling is defined by using irregular waves
according to the JONSWAP energy spectrum.


6 OTC 18797
Tow rigging
An OrcaFlex winch model is used for simulating the
connection between the tug and the tow wire at each
pipeline/riser end. The winches are directed to pull in or pay
out tow wire if the tension is outside a specified interval. This
winch mode will also be used during the tow operation which
prevent that peak loads and slack wires appear. The tow wires
are modelled as line items. Drag and inertia forces are
accordingly included to obtain the correct catenary behaviour
during tow.

Buoyancy tanks and ballast chains
The buoyancy tanks are modelled as clump types attached
on selected intervals to keep the resultant submerged weight
constant during tow.
Ballast chains are modelled by the drag chain facility with
properties to achieve the design submerged weight. The chain
drag and lift coefficients vary with the incidence angle of the
relative flow. Figure 15 shows the pipeline section with the
chain and buoyancy attached modeled in Orcaflex.


Figure 15 Pipeline section with the chain and buoyancy attached.

Environmental conditions
Wave conditions are defined by regular waves for the
strength design check and sensitivity analysis during tow.
Irregular waves according to the JONSWAP energy spectrum
are used during the fatigue analyses. The main parameters for
defining the spectrum are the significant wave height, H
S
,
spectrum peak period, T
P
and the peakedness factor .

Hydrodynamic coefficients
A drag coefficient C
D
= 1.0 is used for the pipeline and
buckle arrestors in the analysis. Added mass C
a
has also been
set to 1 for the pipeline, towhead, buckle arrestors and tow
wires. For the riser/pipeline string analyses a drag coefficient
C
D
= 1.2 is used to include the strakes and coating properties
on the riser section.

Sensitivity analysis
Sensitivity analyses are performed in order to set the worst
wave heading and peak period for each tow phase. The
limiting sea states presented in this paper are purely derived
from analyses and operational aspects (i.e. deck handling) are
not considered.

Fatigue analysis
The stress time series are calculated based on the stored
force time series (axial and bending stresses) and the pipeline
parameters using specified SN-curves and rain-flow cycle
counting. The S-N curves are found in DNV-RP-C203, DNV
(2005). The fatigue damage for the deepwater pipeline is
calculated for a specified number of points on the tube
circumference (here: 16 points). The irregular sea state is
simulated for 60 minutes to obtain a stable statistical basis for
the fatigue damage calculations.
The fatigue calculations for the riser/pipeline string tow
operation are based upon Rain flow analysis and 8 theta values
(directions) around the riser/pipeline circumference. The
irregular sea state has been simulated for 45 minutes to obtain
a proper standard deviation for the riser/pipeline stress. The
damage is furthermore scaled according to the specified
exposure time.
The fatigue sea state has been defined by H
S,OP
and the
combination of T
Z
and wave heading that implies greatest
riser/pipeline string loading obtained from the sensitivity
analyses.

Static Results
Tow analysis
A summary of the results for the static tow configurations
is included in Table 6 below. The values obtained are used as
input in the dynamic sensitivity analysis.

Table 6 Results from static tow anal ysis
Deepwater Pipeline Medium water depth
Riser/pipeline
Tow method Off -
bottom
CDTM Catenary Off-
bottom
CDTM
Tow velocity [m/s] /
[knots]
0.7/1.4 2.5/4.9 2.5/4.9 0.7/1.4 2.5/4.9
Length of leading
tow wire [m]
80 120 94 410 340
Length of trailing
tow wire [m]
80 120 94 400 235
Maximum
horizontal tow wire
tension [kN]
192 364 752 212 895
Maximum Von
Mises stress [MPa]
35 37 105 38 49

Riser pull in analysis
From the riser/pipeline pull-in analysis, three worst case
conditions were assessed as shown in Figure 16:
- Maximum Von Mises stress in riser during towhead
lift off
- Maximum declination angle for pull-in wire at hang
off
- Maximum pull-in wire tension at the hang off just
before final pull-in

1

2

3
Figure 16 Riser/pipeline pull-in anal yses, worst case conditions
OTC 18797 7
The maximum values are presented in Table 7 below.

Table 7 Riser/pipeline pull-in analyses, worst case conditions
Condition

Static Value Distance from hang
off to riser end [m]
1. Max Von Mises
stress in riser [MPa]
357 265
2. Max wire declination
at hang off [deg]
32 186
3. Max wire tension at
hang off [kN]
1060 1

Sensitivity analysis
Dynamic simulations are performed for incoming waves on
starboard side only by assuming that the longitudinal vessel
axis has a symmetry plane. The vertical response at the
stern/bow roller located on the longitudinal vessel axis, will
hence be identical for e.g. quartering head sea on starboard
and port side. Each sea state simulation does not cover the
entire planned operation period. However, the largest wave
rise/fall during the operation period has been extracted for
each set of H
S,D
and T
Z
. The overall maximum Von Mises
Stress and Longitudinal stress over the complete pipeline and
riser/pipeline string is included in the figures below.

0
5
10
15
20
25
30
0 45 90 135 180
Lead tug
Trail tug
Wave heading
M
a
x

L
o
n
g
i
t
u
d
i
n
a
l

s
t
r
e
s
s

[
M
p
a
]

Figure 17 Max axial stresses at lead/trial tug of the gas pipeline
for 8 s peak period at different wave headings in off-bottom tow.

0,00
20,00
40,00
60,00
80,00
100,00
120,00
140,00
0 45 90 135 180
Lead Tug
Sagbend
Trail Tug
Wave heading [deg]
M
a
x

L
o
n
g
i
t
u
d
i
n
a
l

s
t
r
e
s
s

[
M
p
a
]

Figure 18 Max axial stresses at lead/trial tug and in the sag bend
of the gas pipeline for different wave headings in catenary tow.

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Mean zero crossi ng peri od [s]
M
a
x

V
o
n

M
i
s
e
s

s
t
r
e
s
s

[
M
P
a
]
0 degrees
45 degrees
90 degrees
135 degrees
180 degrees

Figure 19 Max Von Mises stresses from the riser/pipeline CDTM
tow

Figure 17 shows that the stresses in the pipeline are minor
during the off-bottom tow. The analysis for the pipeline
catenary tow shown in Figure 18 demonstrate that a peak
period of 8 seconds and quartering seas (45 and 135) induce
the largest dynamic loading along the pipeline. The pipeline
section exposed to the largest stress is located approximately
614m from leading tug end.
Figure 19 shows that a mean zero crossing period of 12
seconds and a wave heading of 180 involve the largest
dynamic loading along the riser/pipeline during the CDTM
tow. The riser/pipeline section exposed to largest Von Mises
Stress is located approximately 113m from trailing tug end.
The dynamic response analysis from all the different tow
methods shows that the pipeline has sufficient strength
capacity. The most critical section for buckling and Von Mises
stress is at the sag bend in the catenary tow mode. It is
therefore important to constantly monitor the distance between
the tugs during the tow.
Sensitivity analysis for the riser pull in is also performed.
The worst wave headings and mean zero crossing periods
were found for each load condition, see Figure 16. The overall
maximum Von Mises stress (condition 1); wire declination
(condition 2) and tension (condition 3) at riser hang off are
included in Figures 20 to 22 below.

350
352
354
356
358
360
362
364
366
368
370
6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Mean zero crossi ng peri od [s]
M
a
x

V
o
n

M
i
s
e
s

s
t
r
e
s
s

(
C
o
n
d
.

1
)

[
M
P
a
]
0 degrees
45 degrees
90 degrees
135 degrees
180 degrees

Figure 20 Maximum Von Mises stress in riser during towhead lift
off.

8 OTC 18797
30,0
30,5
31,0
31,5
32,0
32,5
33,0
6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Mean zero crossi ng peri od [s]
M
a
x

D
e
c
l
i
n
a
t
i
o
n

(
C
o
n
d
.

2
)

[
D
e
g
]
0 degrees
45 degrees
90 degrees
135 degrees
180 degrees

Figure 21 Maximum declination angle for pull-in wire at hang off

1000
1020
1040
1060
1080
1100
1120
1140
1160
1180
1200
6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Mean zero crossi ng peri od [s]
M
a
x

E
f
f
e
c
t
i
v
e

T
e
n
s
i
o
n

(
C
o
n
d
.

3
)

[
k
N
]
0 degrees
45 degrees
90 degrees
135 degrees
180 degrees

Figure 22 Maximum pull-in wire tension at the hang off just before
final pull-in

It is seen that the wave action has very little effect on the
response of the system and therefore the pull-in operation can
find place in a significant sea state of 3.5m, independent of the
wave period and direction.
To investigate how the riser pull in operation is influenced
by the current, a new set of analyses was performed for the
worst wave heading and mean zero crossing period obtained
from the sensitivity analysis. Three different current directions
were analyzed, inline, outline and perpendicular to the riser
catenary. The maximum riser loading from the analyses,
including current effects corresponds to an utilization of 54%
according to the design criteria.

Fatigue
The maximum accumulated damage for the deep water
pipeline was found to be 0.028 for the present weather
windows. The pipeline section exposed to the worst damage is
located 614 m from the leading tug end. Figure 23 presents the
total fatigue damage along the pipeline during installation at
Hs
OP
= 3.5 m.
Total fatigue damage Hs =3.5 m
0,00E+00
5,00E-03
1,00E-02
1,50E-02
2,00E-02
2,50E-02
3,00E-02
0
2
5
8
4
5
6
6
6
0
8
5
7
1
0
5
5
1
2
5
9
1
4
5
7
1
6
5
5
1
8
5
9
2
0
5
7
2
2
5
5
2
4
5
9
2
6
5
6
2
8
5
4
Total fatigue
damage
Pipeline length [m]

Figure 23 Total fatigue damage for the deep water pipeline tow
For the medium water riser/pipeline tow, the maximum
accumulated damage due to fatigue is 0.0003 for the present
weather windows. The riser/pipeline section exposed to worst
damage is located 106m from the trailing tug end.

Conclusion
In this paper, two case studies have been investigated; the tow
of pipelines in deepwater using three combined tow methods
and towing of a riser/pipeline string including pull in to the
production facility at the field. The governing criteria for these
investigations are the resistance against local buckling, tow
wire tension and fatigue damage during tow out/installation.
As seen from the analyses the stresses during the tow
are very low in an operational sea state of 3.5 m with
worst wave heading and period and there is no risk of
buckling the pipeline and riser/pipeline string.
The maximum accumulated damage due to fatigue is
0.0003 for the riser/pipeline and 0.028 for the gas
pipeline deepwater tow.
Use of the combined tow method is therefore shown
to be a robust method of transporting deepwater
pipelines and risers from the fabrication site to the
field.
Focus should be made on the design and handling of
the buoyancy modules. A system that can minimize
the offshore time for disconnection of the buoyancy
modules and recover this system back onshore should
be looked further into.

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to acknowledge Subsea 7 for
permission to publish the results presented in the paper. It is
emphasized that the conclusions put forth reflects the views of
the authors alone, and not necessarily those of Subsea 7.

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