As pipelines are being constructed for ever-deeper water depths, environments are encountered that significantly alter the way pipelines are designed and hydrotested. This paper describes industry-based BASM (best available and safest methodology) guidance to BSEE pertaining to certain alternate procedures and equipment requests from the regulations. These new guideline recommendations pertain specifically to hydrotesting of deepwater pipeline system tiebacks from subsea wells to surface-based floating production systems and deepwater export pipeline and riser systems to downstream facilities under DOI jurisdiction.

This effort was designed to closely involve experts from the Oil and Gas Industry in the development of these Hydrotest Guidelines. The project team conducted two broad-based industry workshops for oil companies, suppliers, and BSEE. The primary objective was to discuss with key industry stakeholders the pros and cons of regulations currently in place, and collect industry advice on currently used and/or recommended deepwater pipeline/riser hydrotesting practices. The resulting guidelines described here were written by a small team of industry-based members, rather than a single individual or organization.

One overriding conclusion from the work is that Alternate Compliance with the requirements for hydrostatic testing as per 30 CFR 250 Paragraph 250.1003(b)(1) should consider using API RP 1111 to define the minimum and actual test pressures at each depth-related location in the pipeline and riser. Additional conclusions were developed and are provided in the paper.

As water depths of new production increase to 10, 000 feet and beyond, both industry and BSEE recognize that current BSEE design and hydrotest requirements as specified in 30CFR 250.1003(b)(1) and BSEE NTL 2009-G28, Pipeline Design, and differences between hydrotesting at the surface vs. at the mudline, and pipeline product fluid pressure gradient must be reconsidered and reformulated because they impact hydrotest methodology.

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