Structural Consultant, Justin Jones, recently shared his perspective on how pipeline design has evolved over the past 50 years and his vision on what the future holds, while presenting at Subsea UK’s Back to the Future of Subsea event in Woking. Here he tells us more.
“Significant advances have been made in the design and analysis of subsea pipelines during my time in the industry, such that there is now little margin left in a well-designed pipeline.
“The pipeline engineering sector has successfully identified risks and developed improvements over the years, so future advances are likely to be made in pipeline materials” explains Justin. “The focus now needs to be on innovation and developing materials that ensure the subsea industry continues to align with the sector’s drive for efficiency, safety and reliability.
“Successful pipeline design for increased depths, temperatures and pressures has been facilitated by the parallel development of codes and computer analysis. Future advances may come from improved tools for lateral buckling and walking combined with monitoring of pipeline behavior. Further ahead, a change from steel to composites as the main material may produce a step change in performance if costs can be brought down.”
Also in attendance at the event was Senior Project Manager Dave Bennett, who has witnessed the changes and developments of the subsea and pipeline sector during a 30-year career in the industry, half of which has been spent with KW Ltd and Petrofac.
While Dave acknowledges that design codes have kept pace with development in design through the knowledge shared by JIP type activity, he notes that the sector must now utilize digital strategies to improve the monitoring, maintenance, and integrity of new and existing infrastructure.
“It’s important that we embrace digitalization, otherwise we’re at risk of falling behind and failing to leverage benefits that new technology offers” he explains. “With the large number of ageing pipelines in the UKCS, there’s now a huge emphasis on life extension and improved reliability, which requires appropriate technology. Using technology to build on the techniques developed in the past is ultimately what will drive improvements in safety and reliability. Of course, ensuring the industry continues to attract young engineers who bring with them an inherent appetite for using technology to enhance engineering is key”.