Modeling deepwater seabed steady-state thermal fields around buried pipeline including trenching and backfill effects Academic Article uri icon


  • Deepwater pipelines are designed to transport mixtures of oil and gas, and their associated impurities at wellhead temperatures that can be in excess of 149. C (~300. F or 422. K) while the external temperature maybe in the range of 5. C (~41. F or 278. K). Depending on the circumstances these pipelines may be buried for physical protection or for additional thermal insulation using robotic trenching equipment. This results in a complex cut and backfill geometry in the seafloor in addition to altering the thermal properties of the backfill. A two-dimensional boundary element model was developed specifically to address to investigate the local steady-state thermal field in the near field of the pipeline. The model allows one to account for the complex geometries in the near field associated with this burial technique, site-specific multi-layered soil conditions and the seawater adjacent to the seafloor. A parametric study was preformed to evaluate effects of the thermal power loss, burial depth, pipe diameter and soil thermal conductivity on the thermal field in the near field of a buried pipeline. The numerical examples illustrate the influence of the backfill thermal property on the temperature at the pipe wall, that the pipe diameter controls the required output thermal power needed to maintain the desired pipe wall temperature, and the importance of pipeline burial depth on seabed temperature distribution above the pipeline. 2014.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bai, Y., & Niedzwecki, J. M.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Bai, Yanbin||Niedzwecki, John M

publication date

  • January 2014