Extending the operating life of flexible pipelines

Unbonded flexible pipe was primarily developed for use in dynamic systems where the use of fixed rigid solutions was impractical, such as in deep water. Following a number of early failures, improvements to the unbonded flexible pipe design and manufacturing process have resulted in increased reliability and therefore a steady increase in the number of flexible pipelines, spools and risers operating until the end of their design life. At this stage, when recoverable reserves remain or an asset is crucial to the export of hydrocarbons from surrounding fields, continued operation is often desirable. However, the quantification of remnant life in order to evaluate ongoing field viability (and aid in the planning of remediation, replacement or cessation of production) is not a trivial process for flexible pipe and little guidance is currently available.

This webinar expands on the work Jee is undertaking as convenor of the ISO TS 12747 working group to update the standard to cover flexible pipelines. The webinar explores the lifetime extension process for ageing flexible pipes in order to demonstrate that the risks of continued operation remain acceptable. The presenter, Graham Wilson, discusses the crucial factors to consider prior to extending operating life and highlight the available means of assessment to allow remnant life to be determined. Appropriate mitigation and remediation options that can be utilised to reduce risks where necessary are also covered, including the use of advanced inspection and monitoring techniques.

This webinar will be particularly beneficial to:

  • Those responsible for pipeline systems where operation beyond the design life of any flexible pipe components present is desirable;
  • Integrity engineers responsible for sanctioning or performing lifetime extension assessments of flexible pipe;
  • Representatives of regulatory bodies tasked with verifying the safe and responsible operation of pipelines containing ageing flexible components.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify the considerations to be made prior to extending the operating life of both static and dynamic flexible pipelines, risers and spools;
  • Appreciate the threats to the integrity of ageing flexible pipe;
  • Understand the assessment approaches available in the determination of remnant life and any associated sources of guidance;
  • Be able to select appropriate inspection and monitoring techniques and prescribe suitable remediation activities where appropriate to mitigate risks during any period of extended operation.


Graham Wilson, Head of Late Life at Jee Ltd

Graham is an experienced chartered mechanical engineer who has worked in the oil and gas industry since he joined Jee as a Graduate. With a background in pipeline design and integrity management, Graham has been integral in the writing of the ISO code for rigid pipeline lifetime extension (ISO TS 12747), acting as convenor of the associated working group and producing the final document. Graham is now leading the drive to update this document to incorporate the lifetime extension of flexible pipe.

In his current role as Jee’s Head of Late Life, he is responsible for all lifetime extension and decommissioning projects performed by the company. He has performed lifetime extension assessments for many operators worldwide and has significant experience of the issues affecting mature pipeline systems, appropriate means of assessment and the associated mitigation or remediation options available.

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