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Challenges About Testing, Welding and NDT of CRA Pipelines in Brazilian


Pre-Salt

Conference Paper · July 2012


DOI: 10.1115/OMAE2012-83461

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Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic
OMAE12
July 10-15, 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

OMAE2012-83461

CHALLENGES ABOUT TESTING, WELDING AND NDT OF CRA PIPELINES IN


BRAZILIAN PRE-SALT

Petrônio Zumpano Júnior Genaro Zanon


PETROBRAS/ENGINEERING PETROBRAS/ ENGINEERING
São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Alexandre Galiani Garmbis Luciano Braga Alkmin Manfred Ronald Richter


PETROBRAS/ ENGINEERING PETROBRAS/ ENGINEERING PETROBRAS/ ENGINEERING
São José dos Campos, SP, São José dos Campos, SP, São José dos Campos, SP,
Brazil Brazil Brazil

Eduardo Valente Oazen Paulo Nunez Chaves Eduardo Hippert Júnior


PETROBRAS/E&P PETROBRAS/E&P PETROBRAS/CENPES
Macaé, RJ, Brazil Macaé, RJ, Brazil Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

ABSTRACT final girth weld by AUT. However, AUT solutions are normally
Some new pre-salt fields at Santos Basin in Brazil are more efficient in laminated & extruded materials than in weld
located in water depths as deep as 2200m and about 300 km overlaid ones. Additionally, the ECA methodology for both girth
away from the coast. There is variable level of contaminants in welds and weld overlay has complexities that are not usually
the produced fluid, mainly CO2, that affects the material addressed in a regular ECA for carbon steel pipelines (e.g.
selection of the infield flowlines and risers. Based on these internal misalignment of girth welds in risers has stringent
constraints, Petrobras has selected UNS N06625 clad or lined requirements because of its effects on fatigue performance and,
steel linepipes to develop the first fields in Pre-Salt area and consequently, the ECA girth weld criteria). Also CRA clad/lined
also the module 3 of Roncador a post-salt field in Campos pipelines and risers qualification program may include additional
Basin. Several challenges have arisen during design, testing when compared with usual carbon steel welding
construction and installation of these facilities related to qualification process (namely pitting and intergranular corrosion;
pipeline welding procedures, NDT inspection and Engineering full scale fatigue; spooling trials of lined linepipes; segment
Critical Assessment (ECA). Firstly weld overmatching testing for ECA and others). Finally, the contribution of clad/lined
condition may not be fully achieved due to differences in layer in pipeline design strength is also discussed. This work
mechanical properties between UNS 06625 and API X65, and presents challenges PETROBRAS has faced at design and
concern increases when reel-lay installation method is chosen. construction phases of on-going Guará and Lula-NE pre-salt
Another welding issue is the maximum interpass temperature of fields and Roncador Field Projects, as well as the solutions
nickel alloys (which DNV and PETROBRAS standards limit in proposed by the project team in order to overcome the issues
100ºC) and this impacts pipeline installation productivity. raised during project execution.
Thirdly, back purging characteristics and number of passes
protected with purging gases affects the possibility of root INTRODUCTION
oxidation. Also, the inspection of the weld overlay in the pipe
end of lined linepipes is other point of great concern. As defect So called “Brazilian pre-salt” is the offshore area close to the
sizing is mandatory for ECA, lined pipes have been designed Brazilian coast where hydrocarbon reservoirs exist below a
with a weld overlay length which allows the inspection of the geological salt layer. PETROBRAS has given enough data to

1 Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Brazilian Federal Government and the Brazilian Petroleum are the most critical areas in view of cyclic loading, extreme loads
Regulatory Agency (ANP) that demonstrated the economic and corrosion-fatigue during their operational life, these were
potential of these areas. Since then, new challenges to exploit chosen to be fabricated with sections of alloy 625. This is the
oil and gas in these fields have been identified and strategy was first experience in Brazil to adopt alloy 625 in bimetallic pipes
established to address them. for subsea application. SAIPEM is the installation contractor
Linepipe material selection for both infield flowlines and for this challenge, and Figure 1 sketches the clad sections in
risers has raised a comprehensive discussion within production risers of P-55 project [2].
PETROBRAS. Indeed, due to the water depths (about 2200m)
and a variable level of contaminants in the produced fluid
(mainly CO2) a unique and definitive solution for the pre-salt
exploitation is hard to achieve and is still under development.
For Guará and Lula-NE pilots PETROBRAS has decided
to develop these areas by using rigid risers and flowlines. A
carbon steel production riser would not withstand the produced
fluid corrosivity, and their life would be diminished by the
general internal corrosion and corrosion fatigue. In this context,
corrosion resistant alloy UNS N06625 (alloy 625) clad or lined
carbon steel linepipe have been selected as the regular solution
for infield risers and flowlines in these pilot fields.
Once CRA material was considered, additional material
challenges should be considered regarding welding, NDT and
structural integrity issues. This paper discusses few points
about these issues.

NOMENCLATURE Fig. 1: P-55 Project - General sketch of the production and


AUT - Automatic Ultrasonic Testing water injection SCR [2].
BSR - Riser Supporting Buoy
CRA – Corrosion Resistant Alloy
ECA – Engineering Critical Assessment Guará and Lula-NE pilot projects consist of the
FCC – Face Centered Cubic development of two pre-salt modules, in 2200 m water depth.
FEED - Front-end Engineering and Design Each area will be developed with its own FPSO with uncoupled
FPSO - Floating Production Storage and Offloading risers design approach by using BSR buoys. The SCRs, flexible
GMAW – Gas Metal Arc Welding service lines and umbilical risers will be supported in single
GTAW – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding catenary configuration from the seabed to the BSR. Flexible
HAZ – Heat Affected Zone jumpers will connect the BSRs to the FPSO and flexible
JIP- Joint Industry Project flowlines will connect the SCR PLETs up to the well heads.
NDT – Non Destructive Testing Figure 2 shows a sketch of the BSR components. The BSR
PoD – Probability of Detection concept reduces the criticality of the cyclic stresses applied on
PLET – Pipeline End Termination SCRs.
SCF – Stress Concentration Factor As P-55 project has been a pioneer experience with clad
SCR – Steel Catenary Riser material in Brazil, also Guará and Lula-NE consist of a
SMYS – Specified Minimum Yield Strength particular challenge in terms of linepipe material experience.
TDZ – Touch Down Zone Guará and Lula-NE production and water injection risers will
be fabricated from metallurgically clad and lined pipe
FIRST BRAZILIAN FLOWLINES AND RISERS WITH installed by reeling.
UNS N06625 CLAD AND LINED LINEPIPES These projects comprise 27 SCRs, being the risers’ critical
Roncador Field is located in the northern area of the Post- and non-critical sections built with alloy 625 clad and lined
Salt in the Campos Basin, in a water depth ranging from 1300 linepipes, respectively. This is the first time that projects have
m to 1900 m. Exploitation strategy of these resources was split demanded such amount of alloy 625 clad and lined linepipe
in 4 Modules – the P-55 Project corresponds to the material. This demand will be supplied by H. Butting GmbH &
development of Module 3. P-55 subsea production system Co from Germany and it represents huge volume of bimetallic
comprises 11 production and 7 water injection wells in addition material to be fabricated in a heated market. In this context,
to 4 spare (2 producers and 2 injectors) wells, connected to a lined linepipes will be adopted in the non critical sections since
semi-submersible platform [1]. As risers’ top and TDZ sections

2 Copyright © 2012 by ASME


the lined linepipe is cheaper and the production is normally
faster than clad material. Clad linepipes will be only utilized in
risers´ critical sections. Subsea 7 is the contractor for both
Guará and Lula-NE projects and installation is expected to be
carried out in the first half of 2013.

Fig.3: Sample of P-55 DNV MWP 450 SFD C UNS N06625


clad linepipe sample.

Inspection matters in clad sections actually begin in the


Fig.2: Sketch with Guará and Lula-NE BSR system
transition pieces between clad linepipes and regular carbon
components [3].
steel linepipes. For P-55 Project, a transition joint has been
designed comprising a weld overlay in the end of the carbon
steel linepipe at one side of the joint and a clad linepipe in the
In the Guará and Lula-NE projects FEED phase, Subsea 7
other side, both girth welded by means of nickel alloy weld
has executed some pre-qualification tests in order to
metal. The interface between the weld overlay and the carbon
demonstrate the feasibility of the lined linepipes utilization in
steel is very irregular. Indeed, the effect of these interface on the
risers installed by reel-lay. As the main concern was the
ultrasonic beam is of great concern for the ultrasonic inspection
wrinkling during reeling, Subsea 7 has proposed to pressurize
in the girth weld of this transition pieces. Normally, geometric
the risers system during spooling in order to allow the
solutions for ultrasonic inspection pass through the avoidance
utilization of reel-lay method. Full-scale pre-qualification
of this interface.
bending test (with internal pressurization) results showed that
Lined linepipes section have issues similar to the
the utilization of reel-lay method in lined linepipe sections were
transition joint of clad sections regarding girth weld inspection.
possible. Full scale fatigue tests of lined linepipe girth welds
A seal welded linepipe would make it impossible to inspect the
were also executed. The results indicates that lined linepipes
girth welds by means of AUT. Also, in case of need to cut the
could be adopted at the non critical sections of those risers
girth weld due to the presence of defects, the lined linepipe
Next sections describe the main issues referring to welding,
sealing would be in risk. Due to those reasons, Guará and Lula-
NDT and integrity of the clad and lined material sections.
NE design have adopted a minimum length of weld overlay in
the lined linepipe ends (50mm). Thus, here again, AUT design
NDT ISSUES should geometrically avoid the interface between the lined
Due to the presence of two different materials and the linepipe weld overlay and the back steel.
consequent differences in sonic energy propagation in both, it Other NDT concern relates to the pipe end inspection by
would normally be expected to be a challenge to ultrasonically the pipe supplier. As will be discussed further, Petrobras design
inspect a bimetallic linepipe material. One would expect that has required an ECA on the lined linepipe end. So far, AUT in
inspection in lined linepipe would be also more complicate, or the weld overlay at the lined linepipe end and at the interface
even unfeasible, since the ultrasonic beam could not be between the liner extremity and the weld overlay is under
transmitted through the interface between both materials. development. At moment, authors have not found any
Figure 3 presents a picture of the alloy 625 clad linepipe of P- evidences of any AUT configuration that has been approved
55 Project. for all the requirements of appendix E of DNV OS-F101 [4]
In fact, ultrasonic inspection in bimetallic linepipe is and also provided a good probability of detection (PoD) for the
naturally more complicated than in carbon steel linepipe. But inspection of the weld overlay lined linepipe end. For this
the metallurgical bond between clad and carbon steel within the reason, Guará and Lula-NE project supplier and installator are
sandwich plate turns the ultrasonic inspection of clad linepipe adopting X-Ray inspection instead, and repairing any detected
girth welds into an easier path. Since the interface of both discontinuity at this area, which is considered a conservative
materials is flat in the clad linepipe, no great concern appears. approach. A demonstration of detectability of the X-Ray

3 Copyright © 2012 by ASME


inspection at the lined linepipe end has been carried out by to alloy 625 stress-strain curve behavior, it is expected that
supplier with Petrobras’ follow up by making seeded defects in DNV’s recommendation of a welding consumable with 80 MPa
this area, inspecting them with X-Ray and making comparisons above linepipe SMYS could be reasonably relaxed for 50 or 60
with macrographic examination (similar to AUT “salami test”). MPa above DNV grade 450 linepipe SMYS. This corresponds
Petrobras has now confidence that the employed NDT to 500 MPa as the minimum filler metal yield strength and this
technique assures that at least a discontinuity 1 mm high and 20 value has been adopted within Petrobras for future projects in
mm long will be easily detectable. It is difficult to make a the pre-salt fields, since it is feasible to find such consumables
comparison with DNV required PoD (90:95) for AUT [4], but commercially available. For reeling installation method this
it may be appropriate that such discontinuity size can be the approach is not applicable, and concerns are greater since gross
maximum ECA output size. Petrobras still expects that AUT plastic deformations occur during installation. This will be better
developments, especially with the phased array technique, will discussed in the next section.
make the ultrasonic inspection of the weld overlay feasible. Preheating of nickel alloys is not required and it should
Recent developments in NDT area, like computerized X-ray even be avoided. When applied, preheat is done just to remove
tomography with 3D discontinuity analysis, seem to promise moisture in the parent material. Other welding concerns include
good results in the future for the bimetallic material inspection. the maximum allowed interpass temperature for the nickel alloy
But such solutions are not ready so far for the application in the weld metal. DNV and Petrobras standards limit the maximum
offshore industry. interpass temperature in 100ºC when welding nickel alloys. But
it should be recognized that 100ºC as maximum interpass
WELDING ISSUES temperature is too low since this negatively impacts the
DNV OS-F101 [4] clearly requires weld metal installation productivity. API-RP582 [7], recommends
overmatching to ensure resistance against failure of the weld maximum interpass temperature between 150ºC and 175ºC
metal during the transverse weld tensile tests. It should be when welding nickel alloy. Specifically for alloy 625 this
noted that this requirement refers to the ultimate tensile standard recommends 175ºC as maximum interpass
strength of weld metal, HAZ and parent pipe. Regarding the temperature. For weld overlay one could assume that those
yield strength, this standard recommends the weld metal limits above are not applicable, and in fact most of the offshore
properties to be at least 80 MPa above the linepipe SMYS in industry welding procedures utilize maximum interpass
case of S-Lay or J-Lay installation method. The temperature well above the mentioned values. It is usually
recommendation increases to at least 120 MPa in case of Reel- argued that it should be expected for the weld overlays to comply
Lay installation method. For Guará and Lula-NE fields and with corrosion resistance requirements only and that the
Roncador field (P-55) projects the required clad and lined steel properties of the steel pipe would not be affected by higher
pipe has been DNV SMLS/MWP 450 [4]. This is equivalent to interpass temperatures. The restrictions regarding maximum
API 5L grade X65 linepipe material [5]. On the other hand, interpass temperature in a welding procedure refers to alloy
internal corrosion protection by alloy 625 clad or lined linepipe 625 and not to the back steel. The degradation of these nickel
has been required in some flowline and riser sections, as alloys is also not sufficient to affect the corrosion resistance in
previously mentioned. Since a single side welded joint is most environments [8]. Even a stabilized alloy 625, when held at
normally adopted in offshore industry, due to the flowline or intermediate temperatures long time enough may suffer
riser characteristics, weld metal filling is normally completely degradation. The atomic structure of Ni-Cr-Mo alloys is
done with alloy 625 weld metal, or otherwise the joint would predominantly face-centered cubic (FCC). In this respect, they
not be weldable, since dilution of nickel alloy cladding in are similar to austenitic stainless steel. Like them, alloy 625 are
ferritic filler metal could cause weld cracking. When not completely stable, and thus they are susceptible to second
comparing the yield strength properties of most of the suitable phases formation when exposed to temperatures in the range
welding consumables with DNV SMLS/MWP 450 [4] linepipe, between 650ºC and 1100ºC [9]. In this aspect, the maximum
the linepipe upper yield strength limit (570 MPa) will not be interpass temperature control is beneficial. Additionally, if the
overmatched by the weld metal. This fact has also been maximum interpass temperature is controlled in the welding
approached by recent multi-client sponsored project carried out procedure it will reduce probable grain growth in the parent
by DNV, where the concept of “partial overmatching” has been pipe HAZ and the risk of surface oxides on welds, as well.
described [6]. Although the full overmatching condition is not Finally, these oxides may be retained in the weld pool, leading
achievable, since alloy 625 weld metal yield strength is to inclusion formation.
normally lower than a linepipe material equivalent to API 5L Referring to the contribution of CRA layer for the flowline
grade X65, it is possible for the alloy 625 weld filler metal or riser strength design, this is normally not taken into account.
stress-strain curve to cross DNV SMLS/MWP 450 stress-strain But if this is the case, and DNV OS-F101 [4] predicts this
curve before the tensile strength of the parent material is design hypothesis, care should be taken with the degradation of
reached and before 5% strain. On the other hand, welding the CRA layer mechanical properties.
consumable properties varies with welding process, brand and Back purging is required in the first weld beads to avoid
even batch. For J-Lay and S-Lay installation methods, and due oxidation in the internal surface. Normally, at least 6 mm of

4 Copyright © 2012 by ASME


welded beads are necessary before removing the back purging.
Gases with improved purity are normally adopted for alloy 625,
and DNV OS-F101 [4] requires a maximum of 1000 PPM of
oxygen, and the presence of a gas analyzer to control that.
Formations of surface oxides on underlying weld beads should
be removed or cleaned since they may be added to weld pool
inclusions. Additional precautions shall also be taken for
cleaning and preparation of the joint to be welded in order to
avoid the presence of contaminants.
The welding procedure qualification of alloy 625 clad and
lined linepipe for flowlines and risers may include additional
tests not required for carbon steel welding procedures.
Regarding the corrosion properties, ASTM G-48 [10] test is
normally adopted to verify the resistance against pitting
corrosion. ASTM G-28 [11] may be required to verify
intergranular corrosion. Finally, since the risers should
withstand severe cyclic loads, fatigue full scale tests are
normally required in technical specifications.
A welding concern when dealing with risers, independent
from the utilization of CRA layers in the linepipe, is the
internal misalignment. Stringent hi-lo requirements are
normally adopted, since this may affect the design fatigue life.
Although fatigue full scale tests should be carried out, hi-lo
requirements between 0.5 and 0.8 mm are usually adopted by
Petrobras. Installator is required to check the internal hi-lo by
means of laser and camera devices after root and hot passes.
Such instruments may be fixed within the internal line up
clamps. Since most of the automatic welding procedures
utilized in the offshore industry are based in close gap “V”
bevel configuration, the hi-lo measurement during the girth
weld fit up is made indirectly, and the gauge tip is in contact Fig.4: Sketch of hi-lo measurement during girth welds fit up.
with the “top” of the root faces r1 and r2, as it may be seem in
Figure 4. Taken into account the stringency of a hi-lo
requirement lower than 0.5 mm, the influence of the root face
manufacture tolerance, and possible change in the internal
misalignment due to the weld shrinkage, the laser or camera hi-
lo measurement is done after the first passes have been
completed.
A good weld root profile is also important for the fatigue
behavior of welding procedures for risers. Thus, although they
give lower productivity than conventional or pulsed GMAW
process, GMAW with controlled short circuit transfer mode is Fig.5: Root profile of different welding process.
normally adopted in the root passes. Petrobras is requiring
automatic welding processes for the girth welds of risers
projects, and this is beneficial for the root profile. Also the
options are restricted to solid wire process, to increase ECA ISSUES
toughness and avoid discontinuities related to slag. Thus, Engineering Critical Assessment (ECA) of risers girth
automatic GTAW, hot wire or not, has been acceptable. It welds are expected to allow more strict defect criteria if
should be noted that copper shoes in the internal line up clamp compared with flowlines girth welds ECA, since the first is
largely used in GMAW roots of submarine pipeline projects more affected by cyclic loading during lifetime. DNV OS-F201
normally do not provide the same fatigue performance of [12] is adopted by Petrobras for risers design. Although this
GMAW with controlled short circuit transfer mode due to their standard refers to DNV OS-F101 [4] for welding the risers’
root profile. At figure 5, the root profile of different welding girth joints, the last one does not include risers in its appendix
processes, including controlled short circuit transfer GMAW A, which contains the ECA rules for flowlines. For carbon steel
and GMAW with copper shoes is compared. risers, Petrobras on the other hand, uses this appendix also as

5 Copyright © 2012 by ASME


basis for the ECA rules, adding additional requirements for segment test specimen since the standard notched specimen may
fatigue, and for corrosion fatigue, as previously mentioned by not be conservative if compared to a cracked reeled pipe.
Zumpano et al [13].
There is a challenge and concern to carry out an ECA for CONCLUSIONS
clad and lined linepipes, since there is no current guidance New Brazilian pre-Salt fields in Santos Basin presented
for the ECA in bimetallic material. At moment Petrobras is new challenges in terms of material selection, welding, NDT,
sponsoring in conjunction with other Companies phase 3 of integrity and regarding the respective specified qualification
DNV’s JIP “Lined and Clad Pipeline Materials”, and the tests. This paper presented Petrobras experiences in design and
guidance of this JIP has been adopted in the current risers’ construction of on-going risers projects as well as the solutions
projects [14]. Exception is made in the root area, where proposed to overcome the issues related to the welding and
Petrobras has preferred to carry out an ECA instead specifying non-destructive inspection of risers composed by lined and clad
“zero defect” criteria. This decision was related to the argument linepipes.
that any AUT system has a minimum probability of detection, AUT to detect in the linepipe weld overlay discontinuities
and in case the ECA allowable defect size is not detectable that are orthogonal to pipe surface is still under development,
there would not be confidence in the riser integrity during its and it is an important issue as the AUT PoD 90%|95% is
design life. The referred phase 3 of the DNV JIP is evaluating required to be carried out to comply with DNV ECA
the accuracy of the previously suggested JIP ECA procedure philosophy [4].
based on one equivalent stress-strain curve [6]. Alloy 625 has been the chosen CRA material for clad and
An important issue at Guará and Lula-NE project, since the lined linepipes. Some issues related to the welding of those
reel-lay process is adopted (large deformation during CRA linepipes are oxides formation, limited interpass
installation process), is that DNV OS-F101 requires to carry out temperature and overmatching condition. Some welding issues
an Engineering Critical Assessment (ECA) on the girth related to fatigue performance in risers are the maximum
welds between lined linepipes. Due to that, due to fatigue allowable internal hi-lo and improvements in the root profile.
concerns and also to the possible existence of defects within the Petrobras and their contractors are following recent DNV’s
linepipe weld overlay, Petrobras has also required an ECA on JIP recommendations regarding ECA procedures for bimetallic
the lined linepipe end in order to guarantee the risers and materials with additional and modified requirements.
flowlines integrity. On the other hand, the design of Guará and
Lula-NE project, based in BSR concept, is very beneficial to ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
fatigue life since top sections of the risers are not directly Acknowledges to Engineering Department, E&P and
coupled to the FPSO. As previously discussed in the previous CENPES from Petrobras for the permission to publish this paper.
NDT section, ECA in the lined linepipe end will be based in a Authors would like to thank also the partners BG E&P Brasil
minimum detectable size of a discontinuity by means of X-ray LTDA, Repsol Sinopec Brasil S.A. and Petrogal Brasil for the
inspection in the pipe end, in such a way there is enough permission to publish this paper.
confidence to detect this minimum size.
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6 Copyright © 2012 by ASME


[8] Richard E. Avery and Arthur H. Tuthill, 1994, “11012 -
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