Abstract

For safe and cost-efficient operations of new and existing offshore Arctic pipelines, monitoring of pipeline structural integrity is imperative. A well-founded pipeline integrity management program can optimize production output, extend the life of the pipeline, and serve as a tool for providing preventative maintenance information. Without the implementation of a routine integrity monitoring campaign, pipeline integrity degradation may go undetected until the point of failure.

Arctic-specific offshore pipeline design and operational challenges, such as strudel scour, seabed ice gouge, pipeline upheaval buckling, permafrost thaw settlement, and remote location increase the risk and severity of a loss of pipeline integrity. These design cases can create abnormal conditions and ground deformations along sections of the pipeline which can be difficult to immediately detect through standard integrity monitoring systems and schedules. Many of the existing offshore pipelines in the Arctic are buried in remote locations under seasonal ice cover and the failure to detect pipeline damage in a timely manner could have severe safety, environmental, and economic consequences. An Arctic pipeline integrity monitoring philosophy can be implemented to provide further mitigation against loss of pipeline structural integrity by means of regular bathymetry surveys, In-Line Inspection (ILI) campaigns and Fiber Optic Cable (FOC) monitoring.

This paper provides a guideline for buried offshore Arctic pipeline integrity monitoring. The guideline covers pipeline integrity assurance incorporated into the pipeline design, the surveys to be completed during installation, as-built assessment of the pipeline profile, the warm-up assessment/implementation needed before start-up, and the integrity inspections to be completed during operations.

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