Geotechnical engineering - offshore

Fugro offers a wide range of services associated with the design of offshore structures.  In addition to many years of project experience, our highly qualified team has a strong background in research in a wide range of offshore foundations including piles, shallow foundations, pipelines and anchoring systems. Our extensive suite of advanced software tools allow for more refined analyses that ultimately result in cost savings for our clients by reducing conservatism otherwise required in design.

The Geoconsulting team at Fugro has been involved in the design of foundation and pipeline infrastructure for a large collection of offshore developments around the globe. The key to providing an effective foundation/pipeline solution is close liaison with subsea structure engineers, who specify the design load cases and functional requirements of the structures. This teamwork is critical to ensure that any foundation/pipeline can be installed with low risk and cost, is able to withstand all load cases safely and will perform reliably during all functional stages.

Foundation analyses routinely performed by our team include installation performance, capacity under 3D loading (incorporating detrimental effects of cyclic loading and benefits from soil consolidation strength gain), settlements and seismic performance (i.e. reduced foundation capacity and post-seismic settlements).

We provide industry-leading advice on planning, execution and interpretation of site investigations for pipeline routes, assessments of pipeline embedment (for as-laid conditions and due to sediment mobility effects), lateral and axial pipe-soil response models (e.g. friction factors) and optimised pipeline stabilisation solutions for both on-bottom stability and thermally-induced movements.

Our design calculations are performed using our large number of software tools, most of which were developed in-house.

The key design/analysis services offered are summarised as follows:

  • Scour Assessments
  • Mooring Systems for Floating Facilities
  • Foundations for Subsea Structures
  • Foundations for Offshore Platforms
  • Pipeline-Soil Interaction
  • Pipeline Stability
  • Assessment of Jack-up Foundations
  • Arctic structures and Ice Gouge Engineering
  • Soil-structure Interaction and Foundation Engineering

The capabilities offered by Fugro in geotechnical engineering design and analysis relating to offshore structures include the following:

  • Scour Assessments – Utilising the skill on offer from our multidisciplinary team, we offer a range of studies relating to seabed mobility and scour. The services available relating to scour and seabed features include seabed morphology and mobility studies, sediment transport assessment and modeling, bedform mobility studies, geomorphological features characterization, mass gravity flow (MGF) modeling and jet-trenching modeling.
  • Mooring Systems for Floating Facilities – Our experience in the design of numerous anchor types enables us to provide informed advice on the appropriate anchoring system for a floating facility, based on the soil profile and project requirements. Anchor types that our team have in depth experience with (including development of design software and involvement in academic research) include drag embedment anchors, suction anchors, torpedo anchors, suction embedded plate anchors, gravity anchors and anchor piles.
  • Foundations for Subsea Structures – Our team has been involved in the design of a large number of foundations for subsea structures. This experience covers a wide range of water depths, soil stratigraphies and structure types.  These structures are typically supported by mudmat foundations with or without skirts, or suction (i.e. suction assisted installation) shallow or deep foundations. The key design criteria for foundation design, including installation, settlement and capacity are routinely checked by our team using well developed analysis procedures, with more detailed assessments using numerical modelling software readily available if needed.
  • Foundations for Offshore Platforms – We offer an integrated approach to the design of foundations for offshore platforms, with involvement in a project from initial concept studies, through site investigation and characterisation, and the detailed engineering design.  Our holistic design approach includes assessment of the in-place foundation capacity and response under design loads, and assessment and mitigation of installation risk through advanced geotechnical engineering analysis.
  • Pipeline-Soil Interaction – Our pioneering pipeline geotechnics technology delivers more efficient designs, above and beyond conventional code methods such as SAFEBUCK.  We work closely with pipeline engineering firms to deliver tailored geotechnical support that is efficiently integrated into the main pipeline design effort.  Our refined pipe-soil interaction analyses offer accurate design that leads to reduced risk and uncertainty.  This allows efficient mitigation of on-bottom stability, buckling and walking as well as savings through minimised stabilisation and anchoring works.
  • Pipeline Stability – Based on our wide experience in assessment of pipeline stability during operation, our team provide advice on solutions such as pipeline burial (trenching, jetting and ploughing), based on review of the pipeline loading conditions and ground conditions.
  • Assessment of Jack-up Foundations – Fugro has provided support to jack-up installation and in-place capacity analysis for numerous jack-up structures. Our capabilities include specifying and supervising site investigation campaigns and laboratory testing programmes that are tailored specifically to obtain the information required for jack-up foundation design. We use this soil information to perform jack-up foundation capacity and installation assessments. Spud-can penetration calculation methods including bearing capacity approaches and if required detailed site-specific finite element (ABAQUS) or finite difference (FLAC) analysis. We provide on-vessel support during spud-can penetration and pre-loading, with support from staff on standby in one of our global offices to provide additional support.

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