Developing Guidelines for Evaluating Damage to Subsea Pipelines


Subsea pipelines and flowlines are periodically subjected to damaging events such as anchor snags that result in massive pipeline movements, dropped object damage, internal/external corrosion damage, and connection leaks. Knowing how to respond to these damage events is often challenging, especially considering the potential for product release. The cost of production shut-ins can be very high and avoiding un-necessary shut-ins is desirable.

Over the past several decades a significant body of work has been accumulated as an industry on best practice response to incidents and how to repair pipelines when necessary. The knowledge base associated with pipeline damage assessment resides with operators, research organizations and collaborative groups. This paper provides information about the ongoing SPDA-1-2 study for PRCI, Developing Guidelines for Evaluating Damage to Subsea Pipelines. Presently, this multi-year study is focused on shallow water pipelines, and future efforts will address deepwater pipelines. The paper provides a brief overview of the current state of the art, results from an industry survey where operators were asked about how they respond to pipeline damage, and insights associated with the ongoing efforts to develop the guidelines as part of the PRCI study.


Alexander, C., Ayers, R., and Exley, B., “Developing Guidelines for Evaluating Damage to Subsea Pipelines”, 18th Biannual PRCI – APIA – EPRG Joint Technical Meeting on Pipeline Research, Paper 5, May 16 – 20, 2011, San Francisco, California.


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