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An Integrated Approach to Offshore Pile Axial Design in Sands and Clays

[+] Author Affiliations
Neil Morgan

Cathie Associates, Diegem, Belgium

Ian Finnie

Lloyds Register EMEA, UK

Paper No. OMAE2006-92130, pp. 87-95; 9 pages
  • 25th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 1: Offshore Technology; Offshore Wind Energy; Ocean Research Technology; LNG Specialty Symposium
  • Hamburg, Germany, June 4–9, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4746-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3777-7
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Most offshore pile axial design is currently carried out according to API RP 2A WSD, the recommendations of which we understand are due to change. As a result there are many new pile axial capacity calculation methods emerging which may become acceptable for use, each with its own particular site investigation requirements. For the same soil input these methods usually result in just as many different capacities and it is apparent that no single design method is applicable to all design situations and it would be unusual for a single method to be completely reliable for a single platform. We examine the sources of geotechnical uncertainty and concentrate on the transformation uncertainty which is principally due to the choice of pile design method. It would be a rational approach to use a single set of soil and pile input parameters and calculate the pile capacities according to all of the methods. This paper considers two major pile test sites that have had detailed site investigations (Pentre and Euripides) and uses the API, UWA, ICP, NGI, Fugro and Kolk pile design methods to compare the results. We examine the reliability of this combined approach with depth, which shows that our predictive ability varies between shallower (e.g. less than 20 metres) and deeper penetrations. It concludes with practical recommendations on how a rational pile design may be achieved. One such approach is to take the mean average of all the capacities calculated. Optimising pile design in this manner may help to identify and reduce unwarranted conservatism and conversely help to ensure that optimum pile capacity is achieved and to avoid installation difficulties associated with piles that are unnecessarily too long.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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