The performance of pipeline ploughs traversing seabed slopes

Mark Bransby (Lead / Corresponding author), David T Barlow, Michael Brown, John Davidson, Stuart Brankin, Scott Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


Ploughing is a method used to bury pipelines beneath the seabed. In this method, a large purpose built plough is pulled by a support vessel to create a trench into which a pipeline is lowered. The soil that has been removed is then placed or back filled over the pipeline to provide thermal insulation, protective cover and to prevent upheaval buckling (UHB) due to pipeline thermal expansion. The majority of previous research effort has focussed on the behaviour of ploughs on level seabeds and has not investigated common geohazards such as sloping seabeds. There is also limited guidance available to industry on the limitations of ploughing on slopes. This paper reports a series of experimental tests conducted to investigate how ploughs may behave when seabed slopes are encountered and ploughing has to traverse cross-slope. The results show that ploughing operations can still be undertaken when traversing a slope but that the efficiency of operations is reduced with increasing slope inclination, leading to a reduction of trench depth and spoil heap sizes on steeper slopes. This may result in reduced pipeline cover depths on slopes if these effects cannot be mitigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • Offshore pipeline ploughing
  • Physical modelling
  • Sand
  • Slopes

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  • Research Output

    • 3 Citations
    • 5 Conference contribution
    • 1 Article

    Comparative Assessment of Pipeline Plough Performance Prediction Models Against Field Experience in Sand

    Brunning, P., Ashton, G., Brown, M., Robinson, S. & Lauder, K. D., 2020, Proceedings of the 30th International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference. International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers, 7 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • Centrifuge testing to verify scaling of offshore pipeline ploughs

    Robinson, S., Brown, M., Matsui, H., Brennan, A., Augarde, C. E., Coombs, W. M. & Cortis, M., 14 Nov 2019, In : International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics. 19, 6, p. 305-317 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    187 Downloads (Pure)

    Investigation into the effect of plough share leading edge geometry on cable plough performance

    Matsui, H., Robinson, S., Brown, M., Brennan, A., Augarde, C. & Coombs, W. M., 14 Oct 2019, Proceedings of the 16th Asian Regional Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society, 4 p. JGS-045

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • Activities

    • 3 Invited talk
    • 1 Hosting an academic visitor
    • 1 Keynote

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