Khan, Saeed U.; R J Brown and Associates (Far East) Pte Ltd, Singapore


The advances in offshore pipeline technology, in recent years, have been achieved by using innovative engineering to reduce construction risks and total capital costs. New design concepts and installation techniques namely: pipeline installation using the bottom tow method, pipe connections using the deflect-to-connect method and pipe trenching using marine plows have successfully been used in the North Sea, Canadian Arctic, South China Sea and Australian waters and which have resulted in significant cost savings in the material and installation costs.


With the spiraling hikes in the price of oil in the early seventies, the search and development of offshore oil/gas fields even in more non-traditional and remote areas with adverse environmental conditions, where equity capital and return ratios for such developments were previously considered significantly unattractive, was accelerated. The previously considered significantly unattractive, was accelerated. The requirements of high financial outlays for such offshore projects clearly dictated the necessity of cost savings in the materials and installation costs in order to make such developments economically viable. This obviously prompted concerted efforts towards the development of new design concepts, construction techniques and a so more sophisticated engineering analyses to reduce the construction risks and capital costs and also to alleviate maintenance and repair problems of such oil/gas transportation systems. The more severe requirements of pipelines long term stability in harsh environment and remote areas where maintenance and repair problems might result in higher costs than the actual installation cost put more emphasis on front-end engineering to obtain optimum solutions and cost-effective pipe installation and burial techniques. New design concepts and construction techniques have already proven their practicality and cost effectiveness especially in those areas where previously it was thought to be either too difficult or too expensive to develop.

This paper discusses the development and successful use of three such design concepts and installation and techniques for pipelines. These are:

  • pipeline installations using the bottom tow method;

  • remote connections by the deflect-to-connect methods;

  • pipe trenching using the marine plows.

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