At the moment, in eastern Venezuela several projects involving design, fabrication and installation of submarine pipelines from offshore platforms to onshore plants are being developed. These pipelines will be subjected to high pressure–high temperature conditions, which will cause relevant compressive forces in the pipeline as a consequence of restricted thermal expansion, generating that pipelines can suffer a global buckling. One of the most important factors in this buckling situation is the soil–pipe interaction. In this work, a numerical study of soil–pipe interaction and its effect on the global buckling response for a specific Venezuelan submarine pipeline using the Finite Element Method is presented. A 3D pipe–soil model using shell elements with contact elements for pipe-soil interface for three different pipelines cases is applied. This model has considered nonlinear behaviour for pipe material, loads and contact zones. The main results indicate that global buckling response of a pipeline under axial compressive load depends mainly of pipe-soil interaction, being the main variables: friction factor and submerged weight of pipe.

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