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Deepwater Workshop
Subsea Tie-back

Deepwater Pipeline Design

Rigid & Flexible

Presented by:
M Amirushah B Zakaria
Project Engineer | PI | PRD | PMU


Deepwater Pipeline Design Considerations

Project Execution Considerations


To give an overview and comparison between

deepwater rigid and flexible pipeline with regard to
design challenges and project execution aspect

Main challenges for pipeline development in deepwater :

Material selection
Thermal insulation
Free span

Rigid ble

Gumusut - Kakap Development Project

Kikeh Development Project

Material Selection

Properties Comparison
Description Rigid Flexible (unbonded)
Material A homogenous steel pipe Consists of plastic and steel layers
carbon steel, CRA, clad etc which are hold by end fitting

Wall Thickness / x

Weight in Air / Water / x

Collapse Resistant / x

Minimum Bending Radius x /

/ - advantage
X - disadvantage

Carbon steel pipe Flexible Flowline Courtesy of Technip End Fitting

Thermal Insulation

Description Rigid Flexible

Passive insulation Wet coated - PU, PP foam or Plastic sheathes additional foam
glass reinforced plastic, PiP insulation layer can be added

Active insulation Hot water circulation and Additional active heating can be added
electrical heated PiP
For both, combination of insulation coating and pipeline burial can be more cost effective than the thick
insulation coating

Syntactic PU Pipe-in-Pipe Flexible flowline

Courtesy of Technip
Free Span

Several factors influenced the variation from the anticipated span length:
- Spanning predictions not calibrated with the actual field conditions
- Increase in laying tension to protect buckling probably increased the span length
- Accuracy of pipelaying in the pipeline corridor

Description Rigid Flexible

Free Span Rectification / /

If the as laid free span length exceeds the maximum allowable free span length and confirmed with as
laid span analysis, the free span should be corrected using one of the mitigation methods:
- alteration of seabed
- mid-span supports such as mechanical legs or sand-cement bags / mattresses

Pipeline traverse on seabed


Deepwater Pipelay Vessel

Rigid Flexible

Reel lay

J / S lay DP vessel

Reel lay
Installation Configuration
- The installable water depth by the installation vessel varies with pipe size and
weight. It can go to maximum water depth for small pipe sizes

J lay S lay Reel lay

Seabed TDP

S lay


station station cleaning
Repair NDT Welding Welding Welding Welding
Tensioner 3 Tensioner 2 Tensioner 1 station station station 4 station 3 station 2 station 1

Station 7) Surface cleaning 3 x 80 mT Tensioner Station 6) Repair (SMAW/GSFCAW) Station 5) NDT API 1104 Station 1- 4) Welding
(GMAW using Serimax
dual torch machine)

Station 8) HSS coating Station 9) HDPUF injection Stinger


J lay

J tower



Reel lay

Reel Drive System Vertical Lay System

Midline Connection

Pipeline damage possibly can happen due to:

- Local defect weld defect, pin hole, internal corrosion
- Nature - landslide / seismic event, hurricane
- Anchor drag
- Installation
- Material fatigue
Description Rigid Flexible

Diverless Pipeline Repair / x

System (DPRS)
- Availability of DPRS would minimize the downtime due to pipeline damage
/ - advantage
X - disadvantage

Permanent Repair Clamp

Vertical DPRS

Cost Comparison

Item Rigid Flexible

*Procurement Cost (USD/m) 750 850 2500 - 6000

**Installation vessel charter

rate (USD000/day) 600 - 750 ~500
- With high tension lay system (for (S / J lay vessel) (Reel lay vessel)
laying and recovering)

Other materials More subsea Less subsea structure

structure and and subsea connection
connection e.g.
PLET, jumper

Note: *Estimated based on12 ID pipeline (with 1 GSPU insulation for rigid pipe)
**For high tension lay system, ~400t tensioner
Schedule Comparison

Item Rigid Flexible

Average Pipelay *42 104 m/hr **200 500 m/hr

Rate (J / S lay)

Pipeline Storage ~ 4000t (min) Multiple reels

capacity Pipe length varies based on pipe size,
carousel capacity & deck size

Other activities Installation of subsea Less activities

structure, cleaning,
gauging etc

Note: *Depends on pipe size and wall thickness

**Pipe alignment - midline connection can take hours

Understanding of the ways to manage challenges in deepwater pipeline

development will ensure safe design, safe operation and give benefit to
the overall project capital and expenditure.