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OTC 19900 Polymer Liner and Connector Qualific ation for use in Subsea Pipelines Tom Campbell, Subsea

Polymer Liner and Connector Qualification for use in Subsea Pipelines

Tom Campbell, Subsea 7

Copyright 2009, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2009 Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 4–7 May 2009.

This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright.

must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright. Abstract Since 2007 Q2, the work described herein has
must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright. Abstract Since 2007 Q2, the work described herein has


Since 2007 Q2, the work described herein has been carried out to qualify and install polymer liners and suitable connectors in two different carbon steel subsea pipelines for water injection service in the Norwegian and UK sectors of the North Sea using the swagelining technique. The Norwegian line is 16" diameter x 9.1km long and is the largest size of swagelined pipe to have been reel installed. The pipeline was fabricated at the company’s newly commissioned spoolbase for the North Sea located at Vigra near Ålesund in mid-Norway. It was transported and successfully installed by Seven Navica, one of the company’s reeled pipeline lay vessels. The UK line is 6" diameter x 1.3km long. It is the smallest size of swagelined pipe to be installed subsea and forms the first application of swagelining to a pipe contained inside a pipeline bundle. The pipeline bundle was fabricated and launched at the company’s purpose built Wester site near Wick in the north of Scotland. The bundle was successfully transported and installed offshore by the company using its controlled depth tow method. Full scale lining and bending trials plus pressure testing have been conducted to verify the integrity of candidate liners and connectors when subjected to extreme installation and operational design conditions. The trials have been backed up by analysis, metrology, visual examination, non-destructive and destructive testing. The combined results of the trials programme justified the selected materials, component details, lining and jointing methods. Consequently both ends of the size range for swagelining in subsea pipelines has been extended. The work has also served to qualify swagelining for pipeline bundle applications and has provided a firm technical basis on which to proceed with the fabrication, installation and operation of these particular subsea pipelines. The Paper describes activities at each stage of the qualification process involving definition of requirements, material selection, component detailing, development of test procedures, sample preparations, conduct of trials, data gathering and assessment of results.

In the case of the 16" line for reeled installation, three main features were the focus of investigations :

Relative ovalisation of linepipe, weldlink connector and internal compression ring when subjected to reeling strains

Integrity of liner end seal at weldlink following ovalisation

Resistance of liner to collapse under reduced internal pressure

For the 6" diameter bundled line, bending stress greater than the steel yield value is not a design consideration as it has to be for reeling. Instead there was focus on the following three features :

Resistance to axial stress range on the weldlink

Effect of longitudinal expansion / contraction on the liner end seal

Pressure containment of the weldlink body which is inlaid at the liner sealing area


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Swagelining is a system which provides a continuous polymer liner inside stalks of host pipe, typically 500m to 1000m long. It is a cost effective means of delivering a pipeline with high integrity corrosion resistance. For the past 14 years swagelining has seen regular use in reel laid subsea water injection flowlines (polyethylene liners inside carbon steel pipe). Custom designed weldlink connectors are welded onto the ends of pre-welded steel pipe stalks. The inconel inlaid and profiled reelable connectors provide :

Sealing and anchorage of the liner ends

A means of joining stalks by girth welding without damaging the polymer liner

Continuity of internal corrosion protection across the short gap between adjacent lined stalks

The liner is installed by drawing it through a reduction die then onwards through the steel pipe stalk. Installation tension is kept below the elastic yield value of the polymer material. When the installation tension is released the polymer liner naturally reverts towards its original (larger) diameter. Correct liner selection ensures a tight fit inside the steel pipe bore. To anchor and seal each liner end on the pre-attached weldlink, an inconel compression ring is pushed inside the open end of the liner causing flow of the polymer into the concentric ring and groove profile of the weldlink bore. The factors which led into the swagelining qualification trials for both projects are introduced below together with their respective objectives.

16" diameter reel laid pipeline :

In 2007 a major Norwegian operator was contemplating its first installation of a swagelined subsea water injection pipeline. The project requirement for 16" diameter x 23.8mm wt steel grade SML 450 linepipe placed it at the upper bound of reel laying capability. The diameter also represented an increase in size compared to previous swagelined subsea pipelines of 8" to 12" diameter. To kick off qualification of the swagelining and connectors, a trial programme was drawn up which addressed the specific requirements of the client, the pipeline installer and the fabricator. FE modelling was considered but discounted in favour of full scale trials due to (a) the perceived difficulty of replicating the behaviour of the polymer liner in conjunction with the steel components of the connector and (b) possible schedule risk to conclude non-linear analysis. As project linepipe would not be available early enough for trial purposes, it was necessary to source nearest equivalent ex- stock pipe – in this case 16" diameter x 25.4mm wt steel grade API 5L X65. To prepare the ex-stock pipe it had firstly to be bored out to match the project pipe wall thickness of 23.8mm. Pups were then cut off and sent for weldlink manufacture while the remainder was stored for welding and swagelining to form trial spools. The liner selection process described in the following Section of this Paper was duly followed and a purchase order was issued for initial liner supply. The pipeline fabricator prepared a trials procedure to address the following points :

Confirmation that the selected liner would be suitable for fabrication and installation

Confirmation that the swagelined pipe would be suitable for reeling

Confirmation that integrity of the swagelined system and components would not be compromised by reel laying

Sensitivity of the liner / weldlink seal to the amount of compression applied when inserting the compression ring

Acceptance criteria were specified for assessing the results of the trials. Additional analytical work was carried out to assess operating limits of the swagelined system, namely resistance to liner collapse under the pipeline’s operational conditions (flow rate, pressure and temperature) and shut down (internal pressure reduction).

6" diameter bundled pipeline :

In 2008 a major UK operator with experience of reel laid swagelined subsea water injection pipelines was preparing to install a polymer lined 6" diameter water injection line contained within a subsea pipeline bundle. This represented a reduction in size compared to previous swagelined subsea pipelines and introduced new considerations with regard to operational performance of the swagelined system. A suitable swagelining system had to be selected for installation and operation within 6" diameter x 12.7mm wt steel grade API 5L X65 linepipe. Applied in a pipeline bundle, the polyethylene liner and weldlink connections have to accommodate the following effects :

Bundle expansion / contraction in addition to flow rate, pressure and temperature effects

Internal pressure reduction during shut-down

Prediction software was used to select a swagelining system. Qualification of the selected swagelining system comprised :

Swagelining trials to confirm suitability for fabrication and installation

Stress calculations to confirm the structural integrity of the weldlink and liner seal

Internal pressure testing of sample weldlinks to confirm the pipeline system’s integrity for pressure containment

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Statement of Theory and Definitions

Swagelining is licensed technology based on data obtained from extensive prototype testing and development. Proprietary software has subsequently been written and is used to select polymer liner parameters to suit specified applications. The complementary weldlink connector is a proprietary product derived from an extension of the swagelining development programme. Weldlink details, including the liner compression ring, are matched to both the host steel pipe and the selected polymer liner. The major features of the system are depicted in the following Figures 1 & 2.

Fig 1 – Schematic diagram of a swagelined weldlink connector :

1 – Schematic diagram of a swagelined weldlink connector : Fig 2 – Schematic diagram of

Fig 2 – Schematic diagram of a stalk connection in a swagelined pipeline :

diagram of a swagelined weldlink connector : Fig 2 – Schematic diagram of a stalk connection


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In this Section of the Paper all references to polymer liner are specific to polyethylene which is the material generally specified for lining water injection pipelines. The generic grade mostly used nowadays is high density polyethylene (HDPE) identified as PE100 which designates a minimum required strength (MRS) of 10 MPa after 50 years at 20ºC. The long chain molecular structure of polyethylene gives the material a flexibility much greater than steel. Thus tolerable strain in a pressure containing steel host pipe will not induce critical strain in a polyethylene liner. Polyethylene strain is not only temperature dependent but also varies inversely with the rate of loading and resulting displacement. Refer to Fig 16 in the Data Section of this Paper for PE100 extruded pipe flexural properties. By drawing previously extruded polyethylene pipe through a die, the outside diameter can be reduced. As long as the applied stress is less than the material’s yield value and the drawing tension is maintained, the pipe will remain at reduced diameter with the material still within its elastic property range. On release of axial tension, polyethylene pipe will naturally revert towards its original diameter. However, due to the material’s creep property, 100% reversion is usually not achievable. In order to produce a tight fit of polyethylene liner inside a host pipe it is necessary to ensure that after die reduction and installation, the liner reverts to a diameter that fills the bore of the host pipe. Linepipe manufacturing tolerances need to be considered if an interference fit of liner is required, i.e. no annular gap between the reverted liner outside diameter and the host pipe bore. The following Figures 3 & 4 illustrate the swagelining process.

Fig 3 – Schematic diagram during liner insertion through weldlink :

Minimum Bore

Fig 4 – Schematic diagram after liner reversion in linepipe :

LINEPIPE PE LINER Nominal Bore Max Bore Free Reversion
Nominal Bore
Max Bore
Free Reversion

Polymer liners for swagelining are manufactured to a bespoke diameter and wall thickness based on results from prediction software. Therefore it is not possible to use standard stock pipe sizes. The polymer pipe supplier has to have a specifically sized die manufactured before the correct liner diameter and thickness can be extruded and the process requires a minimum production of considerably more polymer pipe than is required just for the trials. Thus it is essential to determine the correct liner size ahead of the trials for timely availability of liner sections. Proprietary prediction software is used for selecting the

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liner size. The programme considers a wide range of parameters associated with installation and operation of the swagelined system. On site make-up of continuous lengths of polymer liner for installation into the steel pipe stalks invariably involves butt fusion welding of 12m or 18m transportable lengths of liner. This process is fully automated and the results are verified by testing the removed plastic weld bead. Each of the trial workscopes and their supporting analysis is described below.

16" diameter reel laid pipeline :

The step by step process to qualify the 16" swagelined system is listed below :

1. Procure and prepare steel linepipe for trial spools

2. Predict parameters for polymer liner and details for weldlink

3. Procure polymer liner for trials

4. Manufacture weldlinks for trial spools

5. Design trial spool configurations for reeling simulation and pressure testing

6. Compile trials procedure and acceptance criteria

7. Carry out liner swageing trial

8. Fabricate sections of trial spools

9. Swageline trial spool sections, fitting compression rings inside liner at concentric ring and groove sealing profile in bore of weldlinks

10. Conduct pre-reeling metrology inside swagelined trial spool sections

11. Fabricate swagelined trial spools for reeling simulation and attach external strain gauges (one spool only)

12. Carry out external pre-reeling metrology of swagelined trial spools

13. Subject swagelined trial spools to bending / straightening cycles simulating pipeline reeling and installation, including contingency recovery and re-installation. Monitor and record external strains (one spool only) and carry out intermediate and post-bending external metrology to check for ovalisation due to repeated bending

14. Remove outer end sections from swagelined trial spools

15. Conduct post-reeling metrology inside central sections of swagelined trial spools to check for ovalisation due to repeated bending

16. Fabricate swagelined trial spools for pressure testing

17. Carry out 24 hour hydrotest on swagelined trial spools at pipeline test pressure. Monitor and record internal pressure. Also monitor and record pressure gauge readings at tappings to interface between outer surface of liner and bore of steel host pipe

18. Mill out pre-clamped coupons of weldlink body, polymer liner and compression ring to check adequacy of polymer flow into circumferential grooves for securing seal

19. Section weldlinks along spool axis, remove polymer liner and visually check that no dyed hydrotest fluid has ingressed

20. Test samples of PE100 liner to verify flexural modulus

21. Carry out analytical checks of liner’s resistance to collapse in product flow conditions and pipeline shut down

22. Report results and present conclusions

The reason for trialling 2 spools was to check the sensitivity of the polymer liner and its resulting seal to the amount of radial displacement caused by insertion of the compression ring. The rings for one trial spool were sized to apply 11% radial

compression to the polymer liner. The rings for the other spool were sized to apply 25% radial compression to the liner. Each of the spools was initially fabricated for reeling simulation trials then reconfigured for hydrotesting before being destructively examined. The configurations for the trial spool are shown in the following Figures 5 & 6.

Fig 5 – 16" trial spool, reeling simulation configuration :

spool are shown in the following Figures 5 & 6. Fig 5 – 16" trial spool,


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Fig 6 – 16" trial spool, hydrotest configuration :

Fig 6 – 16" trial spool, hydrotest configuration : The following post-trials acceptance criteria we re

The following post-trials acceptance criteria were established before testing commenced :

No collapse or rupture of PE liner, steel pipe, weldlink bodies, or compression rings in the central section of each spool at any stage

No internal pressure loss during 24-hour hydrotest

No pressure build-up to be registered on gauges monitoring PE100 liner / steel bore interface during 24-hour hydrotest

No axial displacement of compression rings in the central section of each spool at any stage

No sign of dyed hydrotest fluid between exterior of PE100 liner and bore of steel pipe beyond innermost sealing ring of weldlink

Evaluation of the selected 16" liner’s collapse resistance was required to address concerns that the water injection pipeline operation and shut-down conditions might in extreme cases initiate collapse of the liner. Firstly a flow assurance check was carried out to ascertain that practical valve shut-down times would not create vacuum conditions in the pipeline. Secondly, the following scenario was devised with an extremely onerous combination of planned and unplanned conditions :

Full design flowrate through pipeline

Liner seal breached allowing fluid (water / gaseous mix) ingress between steel pipe bore and liner over full stalk length (in this case 750m)

Up to 3mm loss of polymer due to scoring over entire outer circumference of liner

The resulting minimum collapse pressure for the liner was calculated and used to determine the liner’s remaining structural strength. This was checked against flow induced pressure drop over the 750m stalk length. The end result of these calculations demonstrated the liner’s structural integrity under the extreme conditions specified.

6" diameter bundled pipeline :

Qualification of the 6" diameter swagelined system for pipeline bundle fabrication and installation entailed much less physical testing than the 16" reeled line. Having selected parameters for the PE100 liner and accompanying weldlink details so that procurement of these items could proceed, the testing programme was as follows :

1. Carry out liner swageing trial

2. Swageline trial spool complete with weldlink

3. Thrust compression ring into open end of liner. Continue until liner has been forced into the concentric ring and groove sealing profile in the bore of the weldlink

4. Mill out pre-clamped coupon of weldlink body, polymer liner and compression ring to check adequacy of polymer flow into circumferential grooves for securing seal

5. Weld together spare pair of weldlinks and weld on end closures

6. Carry out 12 hour hydrotest of weldlinks at linepipe strength test pressure. Monitor and record internal pressure

7. Attach external strain gauges to weldlinks

8. Repeat strength test of weldlinks. Monitor and record internal pressure plus external strains

9. Calculate, by hand, combined stresses on inlaid weldlink body to account for line pressure, temperature and axial expansion / contraction

10. Calculate, by hand, shear stress on polymer liner at weldlink sealing profile when subjected to axial expansion / contraction

All results were subsequently reviewed against agreed acceptance criteria.

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Inside a pipeline bundle the ends of individual flowlines are subjected to axial expansion / contraction forces caused by variations in operating conditions. In a swagelined flowline the end of the polymer liner is anchored by the compression ring which forces it into the concentric ring and groove sealing profile of the weldlink. Therefore a calculation of the longitudinal strength of the 6" liner seal was required to demonstrate its sufficiency to withstand the applicable forces. Conservatively the shear capacity of only one out of the six available PE100 sealing rings was used in the calculation. The result showed a low and acceptable stress utilization. The weldlink body has to withstand the same axial forces in the bundle. A calculation was done to show that the resulting stresses in the weldlink are acceptable. When welded into a pipeline, a weldlink forms part of the pressure containing system and needs to be checked in accordance with the specified design code. In the case of this particular 6" bundled line the reference code is (BSI PD8010-2). Conventionally weldlinks are manufactured by machining the bore of pups of project linepipe [carbon steel] and inlaying CRA replacement material. Unlike reeled pipe which requires sufficient wall thickness to withstand plastic installation strains, the wall of a bundled flowline can be relatively thinner. In order to calculate optimized strength properties of weldlinks it is necessary to account for the contribution made by the inlaid material. The reference code (BSI PD8010-2), like others, permits this approach provided that its justification is demonstrated. For this purpose the company as a participant, makes use of data available from a joint industry project (JIP - Lined & Clad Pipe Material, Phase 2) which addresses the issue. Coming from the JIP are two reference documents (DnV 2007 – 0220 & 3077) which contain the basis for including CRA inlay when determining pipe strength properties. As the data described above is not fully in the public domain, it was decided in this case that spare 6" weldlinks would be strain gauged and pressure tested to verify that their containment capacity met or exceeded the requirements of the referenced code (BSI PD8010-2). Results from the pressure test which has been carried out indicate no plastic deformation of the weldlink at pipeline strength test pressure.

Description and Application of Equipment and Processes

16" diameter reel laid pipeline :

The qualification trials scope for the 16" swagelined system utilised the equipment and processes listed below. A brief description of each item is given. Where pertinent its use is outlined and its performance is noted. Many photographs were taken throughout the conduct of the trials and some stages, particularly the reeling simulation, were recorded by video camera.

1. Portable boring machine with extended travel This tool was used to ream out the bore of the available 16" diameter x 25.4mm wt ex-stock pipe so that its wall thickness would match that of the project linepipe, i.e. 23.8mm. The combination of a relatively long travel through each section of the trial spools and the generous bore tolerance of linepipe presented a major challenge to the machining specialist. The reaming tool had to be customized so that the rotating cutter head was adequately steadied without excessively trueing up the bore which would become unrepresentative of linepipe. Several attempts were required before a balance was established for the reaming to be completed satisfactorily.

Fig 7 – 16" trial spool pipe set up on extended reach boring machine ready for reaming out bore :

satisfactorily. Fig 7 – 16" trial spool pipe set up on extended reach boring machine ready


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2. Swagelining test rig An existing swagelining rig was located which could accommodate the individual lengths of trial spool sections. The rig comprised a structural space frame with a hydraulically operated drum winch at one end, mountings for the liner reduction die at the other end and provision for anchoring lengths of host pipe between the die and winch. A calibrated load cell was fitted on the winch wire giving continuous load readout during pulls of the polymer liner. The rig was used firstly to draw the selected polymer liner through the reduction die which had been manufactured to the size specified for the project. The reduced liner diameter and applied pulling load were both monitored and the recorded values were found to compare well with the swagelining software predictions for installing the liner into the specified host pipe. On confirmation of the liner swageing results, the rig was next used to swageline the individual trial spool sections with weldlinks pre-welded to their ends. The rig performed all tasks satisfactorily.

Fig 8 – 16" trial spool section secured in swageing rig ready to receive PE100 lining :

secured in swageing rig ready to receive PE100 lining : 3. Compression ring insertion tool This

3. Compression ring insertion tool This tool comprises a hydraulically actuated clamp which mounts onto the host pipe with a yoke mounted hydraulic cylinder connected to a circular adapter plate for thrusting the compression ring axially into its liner sealing position inside the weldlink. On initial use the force needed to push the compression ring into position was found to be much greater than predicted. As a result, major upgrading of the tool’s structure and hydraulic capacity had to be undertaken before it could perform its task.

Fig 9 – Hydraulic tool for inserting compression ring into swagelined weldlink :

before it could perform its task. Fig 9 – Hydraulic tool for inserting compression ring into

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4. Portable orbital cutter The versatility of this proprietary item allowed it to be used not only for cold cutting and beveling steel pipe but also for trimming the polymer liner.

Fig 10 – 16" trial spool pipe being cold cut using orbital cutter :

trial spool pipe being cold cut using orbital cutter : 5. Laser optical device A specially

5. Laser optical device A specially developed and proprietary orbital device was utilized by a specialist contractor to measure internal diameters between referenced pairs of points inside the trial spool sections. By this means the out of roundness or ovality of selected cross-sections could be recorded along the axis of weldlinks and embedded compression rings forming the trial spools. This was done before and after application of the bending and straightening cycles which simulated the pipeline reeling and installation process. The equipment was able to electronically store both sets of measurement data and compare them. The cross-sectional changes in ovality from pre- to post-reeling were output and demonstrated a good comparison with external checks at matching locations.

Fig 11 – Laser optical device set-up inside swagelined weldlink to measure & record ovality at referenced points :

to measure & record ovality at referenced points : 6. Steel pipe welding Existing pre-qualified manual

6. Steel pipe welding Existing pre-qualified manual welding procedures were adopted for fabrication of the trial spools. No welding problems were encountered.


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8. Strain gauges For swagelining purposes it was not considered necessary to measure strains on the steel linepipe and weldlinks while the trial spools were bent and straightened. However for the sake of reeling this particular pipe, strain gauging was requested. A specialist company attached large displacement gauges to selected points on the linepipe and weldlinks of one spool, wired for connecting to electronic recording equipment. Despite meticulous care with surface preparation, adhesive selection and curing conditions the strain gauges at most critical locations debonded from the spool early during reeling simulation. Therefore very little useful information was obtained from the strain gauges. The adhesion problem was subsequently investigated and improvements have been made giving better results on more recent bending trials.

9. Total survey station

A survey company was engaged to use an optical / electronic survey instrument for measuring the relative

positions of an array of external reference points at selected cross-sections along both trial spools. By surveying

the arrays before and after reeling simulation and comparing results it was possible to identify the bending induced ovalisations at cross-sections through linepipe and weldlinks. Locally, the results corresponded well with those obtained from the internal laser optical device.

10. Bending rig and mobile crane The swagelined trial spools were transported to a large horizontal plane bending rig operated by a materials testing company. The trial spools had been designed to fit into the 12m length of the rig. Prefabricated radiused formers matching the intended installation vessel’s 15m diameter reel and straightener were fitted to the bending rig. A mobile crane was used to load each trial spool into the rig and support the spool weight. One end of the trial spool was held on an anchor spigot while a sheave spigot was inserted into the other end. A pair of synchronized winches rigged to the sheave spigot, were used to bend the spool back and forth onto the bending and straightening formers. Four complete cycles of bending plus straightening were applied to simulate the normal reel-lay installation process plus contingency recovery and re-installation.

Fig 12 – 16" trial spool undergoing reeling simulation in bending test rig :

spool undergoing reeling simulation in bending test rig : 11. Vernier caliper Before and after each

11. Vernier caliper Before and after each cycle of bending plus straightening, external diametric measurements were checked and recorded at selected cross-sections of linepipe and weldlinks along each trial spool. A vernier caliper was used for this purpose. The results thus obtained showed the development of ovalisation at each cycle and correlated well with the pre- and post- survey data.

12. Hydrotest spread

A specialist pressure testing contractor carried out the high pressure testing workscope on both trial spools.

Standard procedures and calibrated equipment were used to pressurize, hold and depressurize the specified test

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pressure of 345 bar. Particular attention was given to safety procedures and precautions and there were no hazardous incidents. Pre-welded threadolets were fitted to the trial spools. Pilot holes drilled through the steel pipe wall linked these to the liner interface. Calibrated pressure gauges attached to these threadolets throughout the pressure testing procedure indicated no build up of pressure between the liner and steel pipe bore. Fluorescein dye was added to the testing fluid so that any ingress between the polymer liner and the bore of the weldlink would be visible when the weldlinks were eventually sectioned and the liner was removed. No such ingress was observed when the weldlinks were opened up and the polymer liner was peeled out.

Fig 13 – 16" trial spool under 345bar hydrotest – no pressure registering at PE100 liner / steel pipe interface :

pressure registering at PE100 liner / steel pipe interface : 13. Milling machine Pre-clamped coupons of

13. Milling machine Pre-clamped coupons of inlaid weldlink body, compressed liner and compression ring were removed using a milling machine. This process was time consuming as the cutting tool had to work through different layers of carbon steel, inconel and PE100 simultaneously. The coupons and the windows they exposed demonstrated satisfactory filling of the circumferential grooves in the sealing profile of the weldlink bore by the PE100 compressed by the internal inconel compression ring. This was demonstrated for both the 11% and 25% radial compression cases.

Fig 14 – Milled section through post-trial 16" weldlink, liner & compression ring :

post-trial 16" weldlink, liner & compression ring : 14. Band saw The 16" diameter pipe size

14. Band saw The 16" diameter pipe size required a large band saw for longitudinal sectioning. Once cut, the compressed PE100 liner could be peeled-out of the sealing profile in the weldlink bore. No signs were observed of ingress by the dyed hydrotest fluid.


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Fig 15 – Exposed clean bore of post-trial 16" weldlink after sectioning :

clean bore of post-trial 16" weldlink after sectioning : 15. Calibrated displacement tester To verify the

15. Calibrated displacement tester To verify the predicted value of flexural modulus for the PE100 liner samples were sent to a polymer testing laboratory. A calibrated screw driven displacement tester was used to measure the flexure of the PE100 samples at displacement rates in accordance with industry standard test procedures. Satisfactory results were obtained as presented in the Data Section of this Paper.

Work associated with the 16" swagelining trials had to be carried out at 8 different locations spread between eastern England and northern Scotland. This necessitated considerable logistics support and management. Duration of the entire programme was approximately 12 months.

6" diameter bundled pipeline :

The 6" swagelining trials were less extensive than those for the 16" line as the pipe did not have to be reeled. The 6" trials did not utilize any equipment other than the items already described for the 16" line. A bundled pipeline differs from a reel laid pipeline in respect of the installation stresses, i.e. it is not subjected to bending stresses greater than the steel yield value. As a consequence, the pressure containment loading on the bundled pipeline is likely to be a more significant driver for wall thickness selection than it is for a reel laid line. The hydrotest pressure for the 6" weldlink bodies applied 80% of actual hoop strength, held for a period of 12 hours. Approximately 6 months were taken to complete the 6" swagelining qualification programme.

Presentation of Data and Results

Examples of salient information obtained during the qualification trials are contained in this Section of the Paper.

Flexural properties of samples from the PE100 liner used in the 16" swagelining trials were measured. The results, shown in Figure 16 below confirm the material complies with the specified grade and that property values used for liner selection were valid.

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Fig 16 – Flexural modulus vs displacement rate & temperature :

Flexural modulus vs displacement rate & temperature : 1000 100 10 1 0.1 Rate of Displacement






Rate of Displacement (mm/min)

Parameters predicted by software and measured in the 16" swagelining system trials are presented in Table 1 below. Good correlation between predicted and measured values serves to justify exisiting procedures for selecting swagelined system details.

Table 1 – Comparison of predicted and measured 16" swagelining parameters :

Tabulated measurements taken at ambient temperature of 19ºC.


Predicted Value


(after 21hours)

Insertion Diameter



Natural Reverted Diam



Drawing Tension



Ovalisation measurements of both 16" spools were made during the swagelining trials. A laser optical device, a total survey station and a vernier caliper were used as described in the Equipment Section of this Paper. Table 2 below contains a composition of cross-sectional dimension changes recorded by the various means of measurement. The data has been extracted for one typical location on a swagelined weldlink plus a comparative section through plain linepipe. The figures demonstrate behaviour consistent with horizontal plane bending which causes plastic strain on the tubular cross-section, i.e. vertical dimension increasing and horizontal dimension decreasing. The spread of results from the different measuring systems is acceptable with the laser optical tool considered most accurate. Comparing the compression ring and weldlink body changes, there is evidence of the PE100 liner providing a cushioning effect between them as might be expected. Similarity of measured changes on the weldlink and linepipe indicate little difference in cross-sectional stiffness properties.

Table 2 – Typical reeling ovalisation of 16" trial spool :

Accumulated Change in Dimension due to Reeling Simulation

Cross-section through Swagelined Weldlink Body

Linepipe (for


Laser Optical Tool

Survey Station

Vernier Caliper

Vernier Caliper


Comp Ring ID

Weldlink ID


Outside Diameter

Vertical diameter






Horizontal diameter







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Listed in Table 3 below are the 16" swagelining acceptance criteria together with the compliant trial results.

Table 3 – 16" acceptance criteria & trial results :



No collapse or rupture of PE100 liner, steel pipe, weldlink bodies, or compression rings in the central section of each spool at any stage

Pass (no structural or material failure detected during or after trials)

No internal pressure loss during 24-hour hydrotest

Pass (no loss of containment during hydrotesting)

No pressure build-up registered on gauges monitoring PE100 liner / steel bore interface during 24-hour hydrotest

Pass (no communication of internal pressure during hydrotesting to PE liner / steel pipe interface monitoring points)

No axial displacement of compression rings in the central section of each spool at any stage

Pass (metrology before reeling simulation & after hydrotesting confirmed no movement of compression rings)

No sign of dyed hydrotest fluid between exterior of PE100 liner and bore of steel pipe beyond innermost sealing ring of weldlink

Pass (all sealing surfaces exposed after hydrotesting were devoid of test fluid contamination)


The trials samples of both the 16" diameter reel laid and 6" diameter bundle installed systems met their respective acceptance criteria. Consequently both swagelined pipeline systems were considered to be qualified for their particular project purposes. The following conclusions are made with regard to the advancement in knowledge resulting from the conduct of these qualification trials. Availability of this information to subsea pipeline designers, installers and operators should allow for fuller consideration of polymer lined pipeline solutions with potential benefit to project and operation schedules and budgets :

The trials were successful in achieving qualification of swagelining systems which extend the top and bottom ends of the size range for pipeline applications. Thus swagelining has now been demonstrated as a realistic option for a greater number of subsea pipeline scenarios

The trials have served to widen the choice of proven installation methods for swagelined pipelines to include bundle installed pipelines

Polymer liner sealing at the weldlink is not sensitive to the degree of liner compression within the range tested, thereby justifying existing component details and dimensional tolerances

The ovalisation results from the trials support the assertion of reelability for a swagelined pipeline. Two points are particularly noteworthy –


Similar ovalisation of reeled weldlink and linepipe indicate good compatibility of the components for reeling purposes


Ovalisation measurements of weldlink bodies and compression rings show no significant divergence which might reduce the effectivness of the polymer liner seal following reeling

Conduct and interfacing of the varied and specialized tasks resulted in lengthy trial schedules requiring careful management to obtain the necessary qualification data. Experience to date shows that some streamlining of the process is both desirable and possible – see Note 1 below

Scope exists to improve the analytical tools used in the swagelining qualification process – see Note 2 below

Encapsulation of diverse knowledge is key to establishing a recognized means of qualifying and using higher grade polymer liners and supporting technology to suit a wider range of pipeline requirements – see Note 3 below

Note 1 It is generally unlikely that project linepipe will be available from the manufacturing mill within the required timescale of swagelining qualification trials. Thus an alternative source of supply for matching or nearest equivalent steel pipe has invariably to be found. Preliminary swagelining design needs to be prioritized so that specifications for polymer liner and weldlinks can be issued. Thereafter a lead time of approximately 3 months is taken up by the manufacture and delivery of sufficient quantities of weldlinks and polymer liner for use in the trials. During this period careful planning and integration of subsequent sample preparation and testing work can minimize the remaining trials duration until data is available to confirm suitability of the proposed swagelining system for specified project purposes.

OTC 19900


Note 2 Action has since been taken to upgrade the swagelining prediction software specifically for subsea applications as part of an ongoing improvement programme. Finite element modelling of the swagelining system components is being investigated now that actual bending trials data is available for validating analytical results. The outcome from these development activities is intended to shorten the timescale for qualifying swagelining systems on future projects.

Note 3 The need to minimize lead time for delivering swagelined pipeline solutions is further driven by the availability and cost effectivness of advanced grade polymers. These materials allow for wider application of swagelining technology to accommodate higher temperatures and pressures and for transport of hydrocarbon and highly corrosive fluids. Thus the need could be avoided to resort to time consuming and expensive procurement of CRA linepipe or possibly incurring the alternative penalty of a heavy corrosion allowance in the pipeline wall thickness.


The author wishes to acknowledge the support of his employing company, Subsea 7. Appreciation is similarily due to company colleagues during the conduct of the swagelining qualification trials and preparation of this paper. Acknowledgement of helpful participation throughout the trials is also due to personnel in the co-operating client and supply chain organizations.

Swagelining TM is the property of Advantica Ltd. Swagelining Weldlink® & Weldlink® are registered trademarks of Subsea 7.



American Petroleum Institute


British Standards Institution


code of practice


corrosion resistant alloy (stainless steel)


Det norske Veritas


high density polyethylene


joint industry project


kilometer (length)


meter (length)


minute (time)


millimeter (length)


megaPascal (stress)


minimum required strength




tonne (force)


United Kingdom


degree Celsius (temperature)


inch (length)

Reference List

BSI PD8010-2 DnV 2007 - 0220 DnV 2007 - 3077

Code of Practice for Pipelines Part 2 : Subsea Pipelines Lined & Clad Pipe, Guidelines for Design & Construction Lined & Clad Pipe, Welding & Fracture Capacity