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A Case Study in High Strain Capacity Pipeline Qualification: PNG LNG Project

[+] Author Affiliations
Fredrick F. Noecker, II, Doug Fairchild

ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Houston, TX

Mike Cook, Mario Macia, Wan Kan

ExxonMobil Development Company, Houston, TX

Paper No. IPC2014-33550, pp. V004T11A014; 9 pages
  • 2014 10th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 4: Production Pipelines and Flowlines; Project Management; Facilities Integrity Management; Operations and Maintenance; Pipelining in Northern and Offshore Environments; Strain-Based Design; Standards and Regulations
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 29–October 3, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4613-1
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The onshore pipeline portion of the Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) project traverses terrain with seismically active faults with potential ground displacements up to four meters. The resulting longitudinal strain demand exceeds 0.5% strain, thereby requiring use of strain-based pipeline design (SBD) technology. This paper discusses the application of previously developed strain-based design methodologies to successfully qualify the PNG LNG pipeline system for a design tensile strain demand up to 3%, and flexibility to increase the design strain demand with additional restrictions on key variables impacting strain capacity at select locations. Key SBD pipeline qualification activities are discussed along with the required project timeline. The first activity is specifying, evaluating and procuring line pipe suitable for strain-based design. SBD line pipe must be strain-age resistant, have excellent longitudinal uniform elongation, and have tightly controlled ultimate tensile strength (UTS) limits to ensure robust girth weld overmatch. The girth welds must exhibit upper shelf fracture toughness, excellent tearing resistance, and have sufficient tensile strength to ensure adequate girth weld strength overmatch. The pipeline qualification effort culminates in full scale pipe strain testing as proof of performance. The specimens for these tests are fabricated with project-specific pipe, girth welds, and pipe fit-up (hi-lo misalignment). The girth welds contain machined flaws in both weld metals and heat affected zones, these flaws being sized consistent with acceptable flaw sizes predicted from analytical models and prior experience. The results of these tests and their significance are described. Efforts to reduce capacity through lowering strain demand are outlined, along with examples of construction challenges the project has successfully faced. Key engineering and project decisions, and lessons learned from this qualification effort are also detailed.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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