White Box Engineering

Upheaval Buckling of High Temperature Pipelines in Arid Environments

Lockey A., Young A., Turner T.

Best Practices in Pipeline Operations and Integrity Management Conference; Bahrain; October 2013.

Upheaval buckling can be a significant threat to the integrity of onshore pipelines working at above-ambient temperatures. This is particularly true for flowlines and gathering lines where operating temperatures and internal pressures are high. Furthermore, the fine grained, loose sandy soils often found in arid environments can provide very low resistance to upward pipe movement, so pipelines in these areas are particularly susceptible to upheaval buckling.

This paper discusses the interaction between buried pipelines and fine grained, loose sandy soil. It presents a method to estimate the cover depth required to prevent upheaval buckling, which is generally applicable to all soil types, but which focuses on fine grained, loose sandy soil. The method calculates cover depth based on pipeline curvature, which can be difficult to measure accurately. Finally recommendations are presented to prevent upheaval buckling in existing onshore pipelines, and which can be used in new pipeline design.