Facility Piping

Composite piping reduces offshore platform loads, saving cost in system design.

    The proven corrosion resistance, strength and light weight of composite piping, coupled with increasing confidence on the part of regulatory agencies, has made composite piping an attractive means to reduce load and cost on offshore platforms. Starting in 1974 with Trinmar Ltd.’s Platform 9 offshore Trinidad, fiberglass pipe has been used on hundreds of offshore structures worldwide. Documented performance together with a significant weight difference — 5.4 lbs/ft (7.3 kg/m) for 6 inch/150 mm composite pipe rated for 200 psi/14 bar service, as compared to 19 lbs/ft (26 kg/m) for 6 inch/150 mm schedule 40 carbon steel pipe — has opened the door for a large number of composite topside piping applications. According to industry experts, each pound eliminated from the structural design of the platform means a $4 to $6 cost savings. When a builder is dealing with hundreds of thousands of pounds of material in each platform, this can amount to millions of dollars in savings, if composite materials are designed into the platform from its inception.

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Design Issues

    Typical FRP pipe is reciprocally filament wound with a fiber angle of ±54.75° relative to the longitudinal (0°) axis. This architecture satisfies stress loads in both the circumferential (hoop) and longitudinal (axial) directions for most pipes and pressure vessels. It withstands the in-use pressure, ther