DNV Sees Need for Industry Artic Pipeline Standards

As oil and gas operations move into the Arctic, a number of new challenges are arising due to ice interaction with surface and subsea offshore installations. In relation to pipelines, existing design approaches may be too expensive, technologically limited or uncertain to acceptably manage the increased risk to safety and the environment. DNV is therefore inviting the industry to a Joint Industry Project, which will establish a common practice to address these challenges.

Pipelines associated with Arctic fields will often need to be located in areas where there is ice-seabed interaction due to ridges and stamukhi. Hence, the large ice-interaction loads are a threat to the pipeline and a risk to safety and the environment. Deep trenching is expensive and sometimes impracticable, and there is often uncertainty whether the final design gives an acceptably low level of risk. Current approaches using pipeline design criteria and probabilistic design are variable, and there is a need for greater design consensus that will enable more designers to be able to work in this specialist area.

DNV is therefore proposing a Joint Industry Project (JIP) aimed at evaluating and presenting design methods and recommendations specifically related to the installation, operation and maintenance of offshore pipelines in areas of extreme cold and ice. The final result will be published as the Recommended Practice (RP) for ‘Arctic Offshore Pipelines’.

"Operators, regulators, designers, pipeline contractors, specialists, research institutions and universities are invited to participate in the JIP, both through funding and through work-in-kind contributions," says Catherine Jahre-Nilsen, DNV’s project manager.

Needs fundamental design principles Jahre-Nilsen explains that the design of pipelines subject to Arctic conditions and ice interaction is a developing discipline. "Today, research and development work relating to detailed ice-interaction design aspects and pipeline optimisation is being carried out in projects that are being executed in Arctic areas. Whilst R&D groups and experts will continue to discuss, develop and refine detailed models, the industry needs a framework of fundamental design principles according to which the R&D work can be developed and applied," she says.

The RP will be an official code for use by pipeline operators and designers, and will present a common and documented approach that supplements the requirements of DNV-OS-F101 and other internationally recognised pipeline codes. It will be subsequently updated and maintained to reflect the ongoing R&D work, future JIPs and project experience. This is the same approach that has been taken for the initiation and development of DNV pipeline codes over the years.

The areas that have been tentatively identified for the RP to address comprise:

  • Design philosophy and design principles
  • Design concepts
  • Routing
  • Linepipe
  • Ice interaction loads (simple and advanced approaches)
  • Pipeline protection
  • Fabrication and installation
  • Operation, inspection and repair

"Due to DNV’s in-depth knowledge coupled with our role as independent partner, we are every year facilitating a great number of Joint Industry Projects in order to safeguard life, property and the environment. DNV is an independent foundation, and our role for 143 years has been to assist in balancing the needs of business and society. The Arctic challenge is exactly about balancing these needs," explains Kjell Eriksson, the director of service and technology development at DNV Energy.

As a leading international provider of risk management services, DNV has a staff of 7 500 operating from more than 300 offices worldwide.