The objective of the paper is to present the manner in which the Oil & Gas Industry has evolved and how this evolution has impacted the trend in pipeline installation methodologies.
The content for the paper is based on authors’ personal experience within the various installation contractors that he had worked for and observation in the industry spanning 4 decades, as well as research on the evolution of the design of production facilities and how this evolution has impacted the various installation methodologies. The research pertains to both on-line research as well as discussions with various experts working for the various installation contractors, including authors’ employer.
The findings from the study show that changes in design codes have been made to cope with increasing demands for deep-water facilities. The changes in design code has allowed for pipelines to be installed deeper, in particular for conventional S-Lay methods, as well as pave the way for other installation methodologies, such as Reel-Lay. Other novel methods have also been invented, such as the Controlled Depth Tow Method, although this method had evolved not as a result of the changes in code but innovative ideas that allow for deep-water installation with little impact on pipeline stresses.
The findings from the study shows that pipelines are being installed in deeper waters as a result of improvement in design such as shorter stinger radius, which allows for pipeline to leave the lay vessel almost vertically, increased lay tension capacities, advanced welding and NDT techniques and so on. Changes in design codes have contributed to the accomplishment of deep-water pipe-laying.
In addition, the trends for pipeline installation are discussed, as well as gaps and opportunities for future development.