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Proceedings of the ASME 2010 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering

June 6-11, 2010, Shanghai, China
Proceedings of the ASME 2010 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic
OMAE 2010
June 6-11, 2010, Shanghai, China

OMAE 2010-20715

Lanre Odina

Robert J Conder

Xodus Group Pty Ltd

Xodus Group Ltd

Perth, WA Australia

Aberdeen, Scotland, UK



When subjected to permanent ground deformations,

buried pipelines may fail by local buckling (wrinkling
under compression) or by tensile rupture. The initial
assessment of the effects of predicted seismic fault
movements on the buried pipeline is performed using
analytical approaches by Newmark-Hall and Kennedy et
al, which is restricted to cases when the pipeline is put
into tension. Further analysis is then undertaken using
finite element methods to assess the elasto-plastic
response of the pipeline response to the fault movements,
particularly the compressive strain limits.
The finite element model is set up to account for
the geometric and material non-linear parameters. The
pipe material behaviour is generally assumed to have a
smooth strain hardening (roundhouse) post-yield
behaviour and defined using the Ramberg-Osgood stressstrain curve definition with the plasticity modelled using
incremental theory with a von Mises yield surface,
associated flow rule and isotropic hardening. However,
material tests on seamless pipes (X-grade) show that the
stress-strain curve typically displays a Lders plateau
behaviour (yield point elongation) in the post-yield state.
The Lders plateau curve is considered conservative for
pipeline design and could have a significant impact on
strain-based integrity assessment.
This paper compares the pipeline response from a
roundhouse stress-strain curve with that obtained from a
pipe material exhibiting Lders plateau behaviour and
also examines the implications of a Lders plateau for
pipeline structural integrity assessments.

As part of a structural integrity assessment and

rehabilitation program for a displaced subsea pipeline,
arising from mass gravity flow events related to
typhoons, recommendations were made in order to
improve future pipeline integrity by mitigating and
controlling identified risks to the pipeline. Rock dump
was suggested as a possible solution for stabilisation of
the displaced pipeline.
The pipeline, located in
deepwater, was installed exposed on the seabed.
Furthermore, the pipeline is in a seismically active
region and lies on an active seismic fault line.
Pipeline integrity assessment was undertaken to
determine the potential for the buried pipeline to
withstand the large strain bending associated with the
worst-case seismic fault movement.
The study
considered a 24-inch pipeline, wall thickness of 17.1mm,
6mm FBE anti-corrosion coat and 40mm concrete coat,
API Grade X-65 material and rock dumped with 0.75m
cover of high density rock (3100kg/m3). This paper
evaluates the effects on pipeline material properties of
the large strain bending. The potential for strain
localisation at the location of the high curvature was also

Copyright 2010 by ASME

Pipeline designs in difficult terrains, such as seismically
active and arctic regions, pose huge challenges and
difficult engineering problems that need to be addressed
to deliver a cost-effective solution. ORourke and Liu
[1] noted that buried pipelines generally cover large
areas and are subject to a variety of geotectonic hazards.

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They can be damaged either by permanent movements of

ground or by transient seismic wave propagation.
Permanent ground movements include surface faulting,
lateral spreading due to liquefaction, and landsliding.
The hazard is usually limited to small regions within the
pipeline network; however the potential for damage is
very high.
Where fault movements are predicted to occur,
analysis is possible to predict the effect on a buried
pipeline when the direction and magnitude of the fault
movement are known as well as the ground conditions
[2]. Pipelines crossing active faults are typically routed
and designed to be in tension rather than in compression.
When strained in tension, the pipeline is very ductile and
is capable of undergoing large strains before rupture.
Due to the high straining conditions that the pipeline is
subjected to, the structural integrity of these pipelines is
dependent on the pipe steel material and should have
high deformability in addition to high strength [3, 4].
Mitigation measures for buried pipeline crossing
active faults include optimisation of the angle of crossing
with respect to the fault configuration; together with
various design measures such as pipe wall thickness,
special fault crossing trench design and selected loose
granular backfill material, inclusion of a geotextile
membrane to enhance the mobility of the pipe/trench
material. For the case of the existing pipeline considered
in this paper, some of these measures are not applicable.
Strain-Based Approach
The traditional practice for the design of subsea
pipelines, including those crossing active fault lines is
based upon satisfying several criteria for the strength of
the pipeline. The stress analysis is generally performed
to define the operating conditions where the stresses in
the pipeline remain elastic and the design falls within a
stress-based design regime. These stress-based criteria
use a linear elastic material property and acceptance is
based on demonstrating that the resulting stresses are less
than a given fraction of the material specified minimum
yield stress.
The current trend of increasing reservoir
operating conditions, coupled with pipeline traversing
difficult terrains impose limits on the use of a stressbased design approach and it has been recognised that
there are situations where limited yielding of the pipeline
can occur safely.
This has led to the recent
developments geared towards the use of limit state
approach based on strain based methods for efficient
design of offshore pipelines [5-7].
These strain based (displacement-controlled)
design methods are also applicable for developing
economic and practical engineering solutions for buried
pipeline design in seismically active regions. Design
acceptance criteria to assess pipeline mechanical
integrity are established through the application of limit
states concepts with respect to defined target safety
levels. This is also now covered in the DNV Offshore
Pipeline Standard, DNV-OS-F101 [8].

For a buried pipeline subject to seismic faulting

loads, there is the likelihood of bending related
deformation limit states including wrinkling in the pipe
sectors experiencing longitudinal compressive stresses,
ovalisation and bending failure. Other limit states to
consider include local buckling, fracture/plastic collapse
at girth welds and corrosion due to damage to pipe
coatings at high strains.
Strain Localisation
In the strain-based regime and particularly for the buried
pipeline subject to high curvature at the fault crossing,
there is the likelihood that the pipeline will experience
problems associated with localised strains. The
localisation results from variations in wall thickness and
material properties.
For example, the thickness
variations can be due to manufacturing tolerances or to
differential corrosion along the pipe. This is generally
addressed in the assessment by including models with a
weak section.
Material Properties
In using the strain based approach, the analysis and
assessment of the pipeline requires a detailed
understanding of the pipeline material properties, soils
properties and weld performance. The pipeline material
property, which is the focus of this paper, should be
established for the conditions to be encountered during
the installation and operation phases. It is common for
testing programmes to be initiated for bending and
material tests at the start of the project. The key material
properties established in the tests include: non-linear
stress strain curve, elastic modulus, yield stress, strain
hardening modulus, Charpy V-notch impact toughness
and strain ageing in some instances [6].
It is also noted that studies of pipeline behaviour
show that the critical moment and critical curvature are
primarily governed by D/t ratio, material anisotropy and
shape of the stress-strain curve and strain hardening [6].
Stress-Strain Relationship
Where material plasticity occurs and strain based design
is used, the shape of the stress-strain curve is important.
It is necessary that the pipe steel exhibits a strain
hardening behaviour and does not have a yield plateau
since axial compression failure depends on the Tangent
Modulus of the material. The shape of the stress-strain
curve will influence the predicted pipeline behaviour and
is very important in determining when wrinkling failure
will occur, for instance. It is also acknowledged the
temperature has significant effect both on the shape of
the stress-strain curve and the magnitude of the yield
stress. Thus, it is very important that a representative
curve is used at the required temperature condition.
The pipeline stress-strain constitutive relationship
can be defined by isotropic, elasto-plastic behaviour with
a von Mises yield surface and isotropic hardening rule
with appropriate material parameters. The RambergOsgood representation [9] is the most widely used

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approach for defining the relationship between true

non-linear stress and strain of a material under an
experimental, uniaxial tension test. The RambergOsgood stress-strain relationship is expressed as:




total strain
Young's Modulus
Ramberg-Osgood coefficient


nominal yield stress

Ramberg-Osgood exponent

E o
r =

E o
E u
- 1 - log
- 1
o = minimum specified yield strength;

Upper yield stress

Actual -
Lower yield stress

= strain at o = 0.5%;


= minimum specified ultimate tensile strength;

= strain at ultimate strength = 21%.

Engineering Stress

= + r o
E o

steels containing interstitial solid solution elements such

as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen atoms, which migrate to
dislocations where they form solute atmospheres during
or after plastic deformation. The solute atmosphere
locks mobile dislocations, leading to the upper yield
stress. When the dislocations break away from their
solute atmospheres, the flow strain is reduced (lower
yield stress).
The separation from the solute
atmospheres is localised leading to Lders lines [10].
Figure 2 depicts a typical stress-strain curve, for a
material displaying Lders strain. The stress-strain
curve exhibits a purely elastic deformation with an initial
maximum yield point followed by a drop as strain
increases. The yield stress decreases from the upper
yield stress to the lower yield stress, and the strain
continues to increase while the stress stays roughly
constant as inhomogeneous yielding propagates through
the material at the lower yield point. At some point, the
stress increases as the material continues to strain. The
relatively flat portion of that stress-strain curve is the
Lder's strain, and the extent of the Lders strain is
depicted as L.

Idealised -

A typical API Grade X-65 stress-strain material curve

(Ambient conditions) is illustrated in Figure 1.

L = extent of Lders strain

Engineering Strain


Figure 2: Stress-strain curve showing Lders



Ramberg Osgood
coefficient, Ar=1.31

Stress (N m m-2 )


In the experimental studies and analytical work

performed by Aguirre et al [11] on bending of steel tubes
with Lders bands, it was noted that as the applied
elongation increases the region of strained material
grows by propagating of a state transition front along the
test specimen. It is also noted that Lders bands are
usually observed in seamless pipe made from X-grade
steel. Lder bands are often one of the mechanical
effects of static strain aging.







Nominal Pipe











Total Strain

Strain Aging

Figure 1: Stress-strain curve for smooth strain


Test results have shown that not all pipe steel exhibit a
smooth Ramberg-Osgood stress-strain curve, with some
materials showing a Lders plateau.
The Lder
phenomenon typically occurs in hot-finished low carbon

Hukle et al [3] examined the effects of aging on pipeline

material properties and lists a number of post-forming
thermal activities that may result in strain aging. These
include FBE coating, re-coating, welding pre-heat,
welding interpass, repair welding, field joint coating,
pipe storage and long-term operation. The paper also
noted that the aging effect may either be localised (i.e.
adjacent to a girth weld) or global (i.e. along the entire

Copyright 2010 by ASME


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length of a pipe section) depending on the nature of the

thermal activity.
The heat applied as part of the FBE anti-corrosion
coating process, typically applied in the range of 180 to
250C (360 to 480F), has a significant influence on the
pipe steel material. The pipeline discussed in this paper
is FBE-coated and material tests suggest there is
potential for the pipe steel stress-strain curve to display
Luders plateau.
The fault movement refers to the relative displacement of
soil or rock across the fracture. Fault movement may be
described as normal, reverse, strike-slip or oblique and
can occur continuously (creep) or episodically. An
episodal occurrence involves a displacement event that
can generate an earthquake. Vertical separation of a
displaced horizon is termed throw and horizontal
separation is termed heave. Refer to Figure 3 for
illustrations of the various types of faults [12].

using the analytical approaches proposed by NewmarkHall [13] and the Kennedy et al [14]. The two analytical
procedures, provide respective lower bound and upper
bound estimate of the stress and strain, and are restricted
to cases when the pipeline is in tension. For cases where
the soil movement puts the pipeline in compression, the
finite element (FE) method is used. The FE method is
also used in this study to assess the impact of the
material stress-strain curves on the pipeline structural
integrity under operational and faulting conditions.
Assessment of pipelines subject to fault
displacement is generally undertaken using global FE
models [2]. However, for instances where local
deformations such as pipe ovalisation and pipe wall
buckling are required, local FE models using Shell
elements are more suitable. The general-purpose finite
element Program Abaqus [15] is employed for the
seismic fault assessment.
It is essential to predict the non-linear behaviour of
the pipeline under the applied loading and determine
when an unacceptable condition will occur. The FE
analysis of the buried pipeline subject to fault crossing is
performed using the approach detailed in ASCE Design
Guideline [2]. The modelling accounts for the:

non-linear behaviour of the surrounding soil mass;

large deflection including stress-stiffening effects

(geometric non-linearity); and

elasto-plastic pipeline behaviour.

The static analysis takes into account the
sequence of application of the loads, i.e. the pipeline
equilibrium configuration is determined considering the
application of the loads on the updated deformed
structure. Therefore a load step approach is adopted for
the analysis model. The Newton-Raphson algorithm is
used for the analysis convergence.
Figure 4 shows a sketch of a buried pipeline
subject to oblique (normal and strike-slip) fault crossing
due to an earthquake [16].

Figure 3: Fault Types

During the deflection of a pipeline arising from soil
movements, a bending moment/bending strain is
developed. The limit states adopted for the integrity
assessment of the pipeline discussed in this paper are as

Compressive strain limit

 Critical buckling strain as a function of D/t ratio,
internal pressure and stressstrain curve shape.

Tensile strain limit

 Pipeline strain capacity limited by girth weld
 Established by fracture mechanics and defect

The pipeline basis of design utilised a limiting strain of

2% for a conservative design of the pipeline and this has
also been utilised for the integrity assessment. A
maximum fault displacement of 1.9m has also been
assumed for the assessment.
The assessment of the effects of predicted fault
movements on buried pipeline is generally performed

Figure 4: Buried Pipeline subject to Oblique

Fault Crossing

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Pipeline Model
A straight pipe section (coated with Fusion Bonded
Epoxy and Concrete) laying on the seabed is modelled
using a three dimensional model. The FE model
comprises of nodes and the Abaqus 3D elastic-plastic
beam elements (type PIPE31H). The beam elements
model a one-dimensional approximation of a 3D
continuum. PIPE31H is a 2-node linear pipe element
(including hybrid formulation) with a hollow, thinwalled circular cross section and has 6 degrees of
freedom at each node. The element accounts for the
hoop strain caused by internal and external pressure
loading in the pipe. The pipe axis is aligned with the
global X-direction as shown in Figure 5. The horizontal
(lateral) direction has been chosen as the global Ydirection and the vertical direction as the global Zdirection.
For the assessment, the strains and stresses have
been extracted at 32 integration points around the
circumference of the pipe wall.

discrete elasto-plastic springs in the axial, lateral and

vertical (up/down) directions.

Figure 6: 3D Pipe-Soil Interaction FE Model

The Abaqus SPRING2 element was used to model the
non-linear springs. The SPRING2 element is between 2
nodes, acting in a fixed direction. The soil stiffness
used in the modeling has been determined using the
relations in the ASCE guideline. The elastic-plastic
multi-linear spring is fully defined by two parameters:
the maximum force per unit length at the soil pipe
interface and the relative displacement at which slippage
between pipe and soil occurs in the axial, transverse and
vertical directions.
Analysis Cases
Three cases have been analysed; two examples are
presented to show the effect of material stress-strain
curves on the pipeline integrity and another to assess the
effect of strain localisation:

The pipeline length (1.4km long) modelled is based on

the effective unanchored length in the fault zone. This
length is a function of the yield force and the
longitudinal frictional restraint per unit length. The
mesh is refined in the critical region of high curvature
within the vicinity of the fault (100m either side of fault)
with element lengths of 0.5m specified. The remainder
of the pipeline was modelled with 1m long elements in
the relatively undisturbed area. Appropriate boundary
conditions were also applied to the model.
Sensitivity analyses were undertaken to verify the
mesh applicability.
This was accomplished by
comparing the results from the analytical approach to the
response from the FE analysis.
Soil-Pipe Interaction
The FE model assumes the pipeline lies on a perfectly
flat and rigid seabed. The pipe-soil interaction was
modelled following the methodology detailed in ASCE
Seismic Design Guideline. The seabed is described as
sand/silty sand with coral and rock outcrops.
interactions can be ideally modelled as pipe resting on
continuous multi-linear soil springs as shown in Figure
6, with the soil surrounding the pipeline modelled as

Case 1 assumes a Ramberg-Osgood smooth stressstrain curve.

Case 2 assumes a stress-strain curve displaying the

Lders plateau.

Case 3 assesses the effect of strain localisation

using the Ramberg-Osgood representation.

Nominal Stress (Nmm-2 )

Figure 5: FE Pipe Model Coordinate System


Nominal Pipe
Luder's Plateau
Weak Joint







Engineering Strain

Figure 7: Stress-Strain Curves for the Case

The stress-strain curves utilised for the analyses are
presented in Figure 7. The stress-strain curve exhibiting
Lders plateau was acquired from sample tests

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Strain Localisation
As the properties of a pipeline generally varies along the
length, as a result of geometric tolerances and stressstrain variations across and within individual joints, there
will be potential for strain localisation to develop at any
position on a pipeline at which there is discontinuity in
the stiffness of the pipeline, either bending or axial.
This is addressed by incorporating in the FE
model a weak joint of linepipe at the worst (highest
strains/moments) location of global response and
represented by a different element set at this location.
It is recommended for strain-based design [17] that the
designer should perform an assessment to identify the
suitable level of strength mismatch. However, in the
absence of such a study, a weakened joint, with a plastic
moment capacity 10% below the nominal value, may be
inserted in the region of highest longitudinal strains.
The length of the weak section is taken as a full
joint of 12 m and is based on the minimum material
properties. The stress-strain curves (based on RambergOsgood) for the nominal and weak joints are shown in
Figure 7.

Figure 8 show that the FE analysis is broadly in good

agreement with the analytical work, predicting response
between a lower-bound and upper-bound maximum axial
stress along the total length of the pipeline.
A x ia l S t re s s ( N /m m 2 )

performed for the production pipeline, i.e. API Grade X65 material, with FBE anti-corrosion coating. It is noted
the curve is based on the upper yield stress point, as
shown in Figure 7.
For the pipeline outside diameter of 24-inch
(610mm) and wall thickness of 17.1mm, the diameter to
thickness (D/t) ratio is 35.67. Corrosion allowance is
specified as zero.



New ton-Hall


Kennedy et al












Distance (m)

Figure 8: Comparison of maximum Axial Stress

from analytical and FE approaches
Ramberg-Osgood Stress-Strain Curve
The longitudinal strains profile along the pipeline length
is presented in Figures 9 and 10 for a fault displacement
of 1.2m and 2.5m respectively.
The respective
maximum longitudinal strains are calculated as 0.012
and 0.027.


In the Abaqus model, loads are applied to the pipeline
after all nodal positions have been defined, elements set
up and boundary conditions applied.
The pipe is initially modelled stress free on the
seabed and residual loads applied to simulate the current
state of stress. The rock cover was then installed,
followed by the operating loads (design pressure of 200
bar and ambient temperature). Fault displacement (fault
angle of 22o) is then input to the model as displacements
of the soil springs.
Plasticity is modelled using incremental theory
with a von Mises yield surface, associated flow rule, and
isotropic hardening. The material property is defined in
terms of the true stress versus logarithmic strain as
required by the Abaqus program.
Post-processing of the FE analyses outputs was
carried out to assess the consequences to pipeline

Figure 9: Ramberg-Osgood Curve - Longitudinal

Strain (At Fault Displacement of 1.2m)

Model Validation
The FE model, using Ramberg-Osgood approximation,
was validated by comparison with the predictions from
the analytical procedures of Newmark-Hall [13] and
Kennedy et al [14]. The axial stress plots presented in

Figure 10: Ramberg-Osgood Curve - Longitudinal

Strain (At Fault Displacement of 2.5m)

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Pipeline Response at Fault Crossing (Element 800)

(Rock Cover=0.75m, Rock Density=3100kg/m 3)

Pipeline Response at Fault Crossing (Elem ent 800)

(Rock Cover=0.75m , Rock Density=3100kg/m 3)

M axim u m L o n g itu d in al
Strain s (% )







2% Strain








Fault Displacem ent (m )

1.8m @2%

Figure 13: Longitudinal Strain profiles at

Crossing Location




M ax F ault
D isp,1.9m


S m o o t h R a m be rg- O s go o d M o de l
Lude r's P la te a u M o de l

Maximum Longitudinal
Strains (%)

The maximum longitudinal strain profiles for the midelement (Element 800), extracted at the integration
points, are plotted against the fault displacement as
shown in Figure 11.
For the crossing angle and rock properties
assessed, the limiting tensile strains of 2% occur for a
maximum fault displacement of 1.8m.

2% Strain

0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00 1.20 1.40 1.60 1.80 2.00 2.20
Fault Displacem ent (m )

Figure 11: Longitudinal Strain profile at

Crossing Location
Stress-Strain Curve with Lders Plateau
The longitudinal strains along the pipeline length at a
fault displacement of 1.2m are presented in Figure 12.
Indeed, it is noted that the maximum strain is already
0.020 at this displacement.

In the Lders stress-strain plateau model, the plateau

persists until a strain of 1.6% is reached (see Figure 13),
at which point it starts to exhibit properties of strain
hardening. This response from the Lders plateau
model shows that the plasticity is most severe and
confirms that the shape of the stress-strain curve is
extremely important for analysis of the effect of fault
The response reflects some of the observations
from the studies by Aguirre et al [11], assessing the
effect of Lders banding on the moment-curvature
relationship of steel tubes (for D/t=27.23). It was noted
from the studies that the maximum moment occurs
essentially as soon as the pipe starts to yield, with
relatively sharp transition from the elastic to the plastic
regime followed by extended moment plateaus.
Strain Localisation
The impact of the weak joint is presented in Figure 14
for the pipeline at the fault crossing location. It is
observed that the 10% mismatch in material properties
for the weak joint has a significant effect on the peak
longitudinal strains in the pipeline, when compared with
results for the nominal pipe properties. It is also noted
that the effects of material plasticity on strain localisation
is increased with reducing yield stress.
Location 2 - Fault Crossing at KP469.6
(Material Strength Mismatch Sensitvity, Rock Cover=1.5m, Rock Density=3100kg/m 3)

Figure 13 shows the comparison between the peak

longitudinal strains in the plateau curve and the smooth
roundhouse strain-hardening response.


M a x im um Longitudina l S tra ins (% )

Figure 12: Lders - Longitudinal Strain (At Fault

Displacement of 1.2m)




Max. Fault
Disp, 1.9m

Average Fault
Disp, 1.2m

Weak Joint


2% Strain












Fault Displacement (m)

Figure 14: Longitudinal Strain profile at

Crossing Location

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The comparison of results shows that the shape of the
stress-strain curve has a significant effect in the
magnitude of the longitudinal strains developed. The
plot in Figure 13 shows that at a fault displacement of
0.75m, the peak longitudinal strains developed in the
plateau model is almost three times that developed when
the smooth strain-hardening model is employed (Figure
11). It is also observed that for the material with a
plateau in the stress-strain curve, the localised strains are
arrested at the onset of strain hardening (i.e. at the end of
the plateau). The fault displacement at the allowable
strain of 2% is 1.22m, compared with a displacement of
1.8m for the smooth curve.
For pipelines with Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE)
anti-corrosion coating, a Lders plateau behaviour is
likely for the pipeline during its design life. It is also
worth remarking that materials which have not been
work-hardened (seamless pipe) will exhibit plateau
behaviour and materials which have been formed (e.g.
UOE pipe) will tend to show a smooth strain hardening
response. For pipelines manufactured using the UOE
method, the use of the smooth strain-hardening model
for the seismic fault analysis is reasonable.
The findings from this work imply that the use of
smooth strain-hardening model for the fault displacement
analysis would significantly underestimate the response
of the pipeline. The literature also infers that the flat
region makes the pipeline steel susceptible to strain
localisation and limit states such as wrinkling. Whilst
the Lders plateau might lead to predictions that the
pipeline could wrinkle as a result of fault displacements,
it is not anticipated that such a wrinkle would lead to loss
of pressure containment of the pipeline.
Hence, it is critical that the stress-strain behaviour
of the steel material is well understood prior to
undertaking strain-based design.
For integrity
assessment of existing pipelines, it is also prudent to use
suitable material tests data for random samples chosen
from the production pipe. In conclusion, if the pipeline
material is prone to stress-strain plateaus then the
behaviour must be accounted for in the seismic fault
displacement assessment.
The authors wish to thank the management of Xodus
Group for permission to publish this paper.

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[1] ORourke, M. J. and Liu X., Response of Buried
Pipelines Subject to Earthquake Effects,
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Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems, Committee on Gas
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