Offshore geotechnical engineering

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.

By working closely with you we provide valuable, project-specific advice to identify value opportunities.This collaboration is critical. It ensures that the selected foundation, anchoring and pipeline solutions can be installed reliably and economically. It also makes sure that the solutions can withstand all conditions safely, throughout their working life.

Foundation analyses

We routinely carry out a wide range of foundation analyses, including:

  • Installation performance
  • Capacity under 3D loading (incorporating the detrimental effects of cyclic loading and the benefits from soil consolidation strength gain)
  • Settlements and seismic performance (reduced foundation capacity and post-seismic settlements)

Software tools

Using our in-house software tools, 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 sediment mobility effects)
  • Lateral and axial pipe-soil response models (such as friction factors)
  • Optimised pipeline stabilisation solutions for on-bottom stability and thermally induced movements

Design and analysis

We provide the following design and analysis services:

  • Seabed interpretation through the integration of geophysical, geological, in situ and laboratory geotechnical data
  • Specification, supervision and interpretation of advanced laboratory testing
  • Foundation design for subsea structures, platforms and mooring systems, typically for oil and gas projects and renewables projects
  • Foundation design for nearshore structures, including ports, piers, sea defences and breakwaters
  • Numerical modelling of laterally and cyclically loaded large diameter piles
  • Jack-up leg penetration and spud can in-place stability assessment, including storm and seismic loading
  • Well conductor analysis  (such as installability, capacity and p-y, t-z curves)
  • Hydrodynamics, sediment mobility and scour
  • Soil-structure interaction, including pipe soil
  • Specialist advice on topics such as non-standard soils, carbonate soils, silts, tar sands and permafrost
  • The assessment of geohazards and their potential impact on infrastructure

We have wide-ranging capabilities in geotechnical engineering design and analysis relating to offshore structures, as summarised below.

Foundations for subsea structures

We deliver design projects in a wide range of water depths, soil stratigraphies and structure types. Structures are typically supported by mudmat foundations, with or without skirts, and may have suction-assisted installation. We routinely check the key criteria for foundation design – including installation, settlement and capacity – using well-developed analysis procedures. If needed, we can also carry out more detailed assessments using numerical modelling software.

Foundations for offshore platforms 

We offer an integrated approach to the design of foundations for offshore platforms, from initial concept studies, through site investigation and characterisation to the detailed engineering design. Our holistic design approach includes assessing the in-place foundation capacity and response under design loads, and assessing and mitigating installation risk through advanced geotechnical engineering analysis.

Foundations for renewable energy structures 

Our service combines constitutive modelling, advanced numerical analysis and geospatial analysis to achieve foundation optimisation across large offshore development areas. We developed our design approach in conjunction with industry research and development and in collaboration with academic partners. We offer state-of-the-art, bespoke design solutions for monopile, suction bucket and drilled and grouted pile foundation systems under monotonic and cyclic loading. 

Mooring systems for floating facilities 

Our experience in designing a range of 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. 

We have in-depth experience with drag embedment anchors, suction anchors, torpedo anchors, suction embedded plate anchors, gravity anchors and anchor piles. We have also been involved in developing design software and academic research.

Pipeline-soil interaction 

Our pioneering pipeline geotechnics technology delivers efficient designs that go above and beyond conventional code methods such as SAFEBUCK or DNV-RF-F114. We work closely with pipeline engineering firms to deliver tailored geotechnical support, efficiently integrated into the main pipeline design effort. 

Our refined pipe-soil interaction analysis enables accurate design that reduces risk and uncertainty. This allows our clients to mitigate on-bottom instability, buckling and walking, and to achieve cost savings by minimising stabilisation and anchoring works.

Pipeline stability 

We have wide experience in assessing pipeline stability during operation. We use this knowledge to provide advice on solutions such as pipeline burial (trenching, jetting and ploughing), based on a review of the pipeline loading conditions and ground conditions.

Assessment of jack-up foundations 

We provide jack-up installation and in-place capacity analysis for jack-up structures. Our capabilities include specifying and supervising site investigation campaigns, as well as laboratory testing programmes tailored for jack-up foundation design. 

We use this soil information to perform jack-up foundation capacity and installation assessments. We also apply spud-can penetration calculation methods – these include bearing-capacity approaches and detailed site-specific finite element (Abaqus) or finite difference (FLAC) analysis. We provide on-vessel support during spud-can penetration and pre-loading, with additional support provided by staff on standby in one of our global offices.

Scour assessments 

We offer a range of studies relating to seabed mobility and scour. Our services include seabed morphology and mobility studies, sediment transport assessment and modelling, bedform mobility studies, geomorphological features characterisation, mass gravity flow (MGF) modelling and jet-trenching modelling.

Our team comprises consultants with a variety of specialist skills including geophysical interpretation, geospatial analysis, environmental analysis, engineering seismology, engineering geology and geohazards analysis. Fugro's geotechnical engineers can tap into this diverse group of consultants within the global Fugro GeoConsulting team at any time, to make sure we always meet the specific requirements of our clients.

Our clients choose us because we are technical leaders in our industry and because our multi-disciplinary project teams have an excellent track record for:

  • Expert advice and guidance
  • Design optimisation and risk mitigation
  • Innovative design solutions
  • Refined analyses, leading to design optimisation and cost savings
  • Reducing project costs by ensuring foundation, anchoring and pipeline solutions are installed economically
  • Ensuring the long-term safety of your structure, by checking that the foundations can withstand all conditions throughout their working life.

Enquire about our services