Global technology facilitator ITF, along with Subsea Engineering Associates (Sea), has launched a Joint Industry Project (JIP) in Perth, Australia.

JIP has been launched to explore and demonstrate a new approach for the assessment of pipeline span issues on the seabed.

Expected to run for six months with a cost of around AUD$250,000, phase one of the project will involve four regional oil and gas operators.

JIP, in support with SEA intends to create an enhanced partial safety approach to deliver more accurate data to avoid unnecessary and costly intervention.

Later on, a new methodology will be developed to demonstrate a do-nothing approach to mobile free spans that will meet the failure probability required by DNV-OS-F101.

ITF Australia regional manager Peter Brazier said regional pipeline operators will spend large amounts of money every year on detailed Finite Element analysis of spans identified in the survey campaigns.

"These studies often recommend offshore intervention, more surveys and regular re-analysis. Due to the mobile nature of the seabed and the span lifecycle behaviour, in most cases no intervention or re-analysis is required," Brazier added.

The methodology developed through the JIP will investigate variables to define the failure probability of subsea pipelines accurately, giving better knowledge to operators on the behaviour of the seabed and its impacts on pipeline surveys and integrity.

Some of the pipelines are expected to develop free spans due to an uneven seabed or tidal currents or scouring.

The free span on a pipeline will erode or scour away the pipeline that leads to the non-functioning of the pipeline on the seabed.