Feasible numerical method for analysis of offshore pipeline in installation

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Feasible numerical method for a structural analysis of a pipeline configuration during the installation process is presented. The method considers the whole pipeline, which is partially suspended and partially laid-on a seabed, as a single continuous segment, and is valid for a complete range of laying angles between 0°–90°, i.e., valid for both S-lay and J-lay configurations. The method accounts for a pipeline–seabed interaction and the pipeline is modeled by means of nonlinear large deformation beam theory. The numerical solution is carried out in an incremental-iterative manner by following the actual pipeline installation process, and thus allowing efficient treatment of pipeline-seabed interaction circumventing the further complexities with contact detection. At each increment, the length of the pipeline is increased and new sequential equilibrium configuration is assessed by direct minimization of a total potential energy approximated as a Riemann sum, which yields algebraic system of nonlinear finite difference equations that is further solved by iterations with Newton-Raphson technique. The simplicity, flexibility and robustness of the proposed method allow to enhance the efficiency of engineering calculations and design. Accounting for a bending stiffness in a suspended part allows analyzing variations in laying angle and lay tension independently. The method convergence is validated and compared with Abaqus. The results are in an excellent agreement. Moreover, the comparison with Abaqus shows that for the selected parameters the assumption that the pipeline is inextensible and unshearable is very reasonable. Representative parametric study is conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of the method. Parametric study considers the effects of laying angle (0°–90°), lay tension, laying water depth (up to 3000 m) and seabed stiffness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-62
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Ocean Research
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Elastic seabed
  • Energy minimization
  • Finite difference method
  • Moving boundary conditions
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Pipeline-seabed interaction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering


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