Evaluation of Compressive Bearing Capacity of Long Offshore Steel Piles Driven in the Persian Gulf

Document Type : Research Article


1 Shahid Beheshti University

2 Assistant Professor, Geotechnical Engineering Department, Faculty of Civil, Water and Environmental Engineering, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Long-driven steel piles are widely used in the foundation of fixed offshore oil and gas extraction platforms due to the existence of physical limitations, heavy loads and weak shallow seabed soil layers. There are different methods to determine the pile bearing capacity, including static analysis, using the results of in-situ tests, as well as static and dynamic pile loading tests. In recent years, the in-situ cone penetration test has considerably been developed in the design of offshore piles owing to its high accuracy, continuous recoding across the depth, and similarity to pile. Additionally, the application of in-situ tests for pile design is of great interest due to difficulties in obtaining undisturbed soil samples at sea. The dynamic pile load test is also considered as an alternative and economical way to the static pile load test, particularly in offshore environments. In this paper, for the first time, a comprehensive data bank, including soil engineering parameters derived from laboratory and in-situ tests as well as field measurements obtained from dynamic pile tests in short, medium, and long-term conditions, is developed for the Persian Gulf - South Pars field. Afterward, fourteen methods, including four offshore static analysis methods and ten direct methods based on cone penetration test results, are selected and applied to estimate the axial compressive bearing capacity of steel pipe piles driven in the studied area. The results obtained from different methods are compared with the results of dynamic pile tests at three mentioned times and evaluated using the statistical criteria. According to the findings of the conducted statistical analyses, the lowest precision and prediction quality are provided in the four static analysis methods compared to the CPT-based methods for the developed data bank. The values of pile total ultimate bearing capacity obtained from the static analysis methods are on average 70%, 63%, and 35% higher than the corresponding values measured by the dynamic pile tests in short, medium, and long-term conditions, respectively.


Main Subjects

[1] B. Ebrahimian, A. Nazari, A.Y. Pasha, Evaluating ε50 for lateral load–displacement behavior of piles in clay, Ocean Engineering, 96 (2015) 149-160.
[2] B. Ebrahimian, V. Movahed, Application of an evolutionary-based approach in evaluating pile bearing capacity using CPT results, Ships and Offshore Structures, 12(7) (2017) 937-953.
[3] A. Eslami, E. Aflaki, B. Hosseini, Evaluating CPT and CPTu based pile bearing capacity estimation methods using Urmiyeh Lake Causeway piling records, Scientia Iranica, 18(5) (2011) 1009-1019.
[4] H. Titi, M. Abu-Farsakh, M. Tumay, Evaluation of pile load tests in soft cohesive Louisiana soils, Analysis, Design, Construction, and Testing of Deep Foundations,  (1999) 296-308.
[5] T. Lunne, J.J. Powell, P.K. Robertson, Cone penetration testing in geotechnical practice, CRC Press, 2002.
[6] I. Haustorfer, S. Plesiotis, Instrumented dynamic and static pile load testing at two bridge sites, Fifth Australia-New Zealand conference on geomechanics: prediction versus performance; preprints of Papers,  (1988) 514.
[7] F. Rausche, G.G. Goble, G.E. Likins, Dynamic Determination of Pile Capacity, Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 111(3) (1985) 367-383.
[8] K. Fakharian, T. Bahrami, F. Esmaili, I. Hosseinzadeh Attar, Dynamic and Static Tests for Optimization of Spun Piles of a Utility Plant near Persian Gulf-Case Study, The 9th International Conference on Testing and Design Methods for Deep Foundations,  (2012) 18-20.
[9] F.S. Niazi, Static axial pile foundation response using seismic piezocone data, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014.
[10] F.S. Niazi, P.W. Mayne, Cone Penetration Test Based Direct Methods for Evaluating Static Axial Capacity of Single Piles, Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, 31(4) (2013) 979-1009.
[11] M. Abu-Farsakh, H. Titi, Assessment of Direct Cone Penetration Test Methods for Predicting the Ultimate Capacity of Friction Driven Piles, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering - J GEOTECH GEOENVIRON ENG, 130 (2004).
[12] K. Tand, E. Funegard, Pile capacity in stiff clays: CPT method, Congrès international de mécanique des sols et des travaux de fondations. 12,  (1989) 349-352.
[13] Z. Wang, N. Zhang, G. Cai, Q. Li, J. Wang, Assessment of CPTU and static load test methods for predicting ultimate bearing capacity of pile, Marine Georesources & Geotechnology, 35(5) (2017) 738-745.
[14] B. Ebrahimian, A.H. Shamshirgaran, Axial Compression Bearing Capacity of Driven Offshore Piles in the Persian Gulf – A Case Study, 13th International Conference on Coasts, Ports and marine structures,  (2018) 249-250.
[15] J.-L. Briaud, L.M. Tucker, Measured and predicted axial response of 98 piles, Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 114(9) (1988) 984-1001.
[16] H.H. Titi, M.Y. Abu-Farsakh, Evaluation of bearing capacity of piles from cone penetration test data,  (1999) 296-308.
[17] M.S.S. Almeida, F.A.B. Danziger, T. Lunne, Use of the piezocone test to predict the axial capacity of driven and jacked piles in clay, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 33(1) (1996) 23-41.
[18] R. Salgado, J. Lee, Pile design based on cone penetration test results,  (1999).
[19] R.M. Semple, W.J. Rigden, Shaft capacity of driven pipe piles in clay, Analysis and design of pile foundations,  (1984) 59-79.
[20] A.H. Augustesen, The effects of time on soil behaviour and pile capacity, Aalborg University, Department of Civil Engineering, 2006.
[21] G. Cai, S. Liu, A.J. Puppala, Reliability assessment of CPTU-based pile capacity predictions in soft clay deposits, Engineering Geology, 141-142 (2012) 84-91.
[22] A. Eslami, B.H. Fellenius, Pile capacity by direct CPT and CPTu methods applied to 102 case histories, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 34(6) (1997) 886-904.
[23] S. Lacasse, F. Nadim, S. Knudsen, U.K. Eidsvig, Z. Liu, G. Yetginer, T.R. Guttormsen, Reliability of axial pile capacity calculation methods, in:  GéoMontréal 67th Canadian Geotechnical Conference. Paper, 2013.
[24] R. Jardine, F. Chow, R. Overy, J. Standing, ICP design methods for driven piles in sands and clays, Thomas Telford Publishing, 2005.
[25] R. Aggarwal, R. Litton, C. Cornell, W. Tang, J. Chen, J. Murff, Development of pile foundation bias factors using observed behavior of platforms during hurricane Andrew, in:  Offshore Technology Conference, Offshore Technology Conference, 1996.
[26] B. Ebrahimian, V. Movahed, A. Nazari, Soil characterisation of South Pars field, Persian Gulf, Environmental Geotechnics, 1(2) (2014) 96-107.
[27] B. Ebrahimian, V. Movahed, A.Y. Pasha, Evaluation of undrained shear strength of marine clay using cone penetration resistance at South Pars field in Iran, Ocean engineering, 54 (2012) 182-195.
[28] A. Eslami, B.H. Fellenius, CPT and CPTu data for soil profile interpretation: review of methods and a proposed new approach, Iranian Journal of Science and Technology Transactions of Civil Engineering, 28(1) (2004) 69-86.
[29] P.K. Robertson, Soil classification using the cone penetration test, Canadian geotechnical journal, 27(1) (1990) 151-158.
[30] A.H. Augustesen, L. Andersen, C.S. Sørensen, Assessment of time functions for piles driven in clay, Aalborg University, Department of Civil Engineering, 2006.
[31] K. Karlsrud, Prediction of load-displacement behaviour and capacity ofaxially loaded piles in clay based on analyses and interpretation of pile load test results,  (2012).
[32] M. Khanmohammadi, K. Fakharian, Numerical modelling of pile installation and set-up effects on pile shaft capacity, International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 13(5) (2019) 484-498.
[33] ASTM, Standard Test Method for One-Dimensional Consolidation Properties of Saturated Cohesive Soils Using Controlled-Strained Loading, in:  Standard D-4186, United States, 2012.
[34] Cathie-Associates, OPILE Instruction Manual, 2015.
[35] N. Aoki, D.A. Velloso, An approximate method to estimate the bearing capacity of piles, Proc., 5th Pan-American Conf. of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, 1 (1975) 367-376.
[36] M. Bustamante, L. Gianeselli, Pile bearing capacity prediction by means of static penetrometer CPT, Proceedings of the 2-nd European symposium on penetration testing,  (1982) 493-500.
[37] M. Clisby, R. Scholtes, M. Corey, H. Cole, P. Teng, J. Webb, An evaluation of pile bearing capacities, Volume I, Final Report, Mississippi State Highway Department,  (1978).
[38] J. de Ruiter, F.L. Beringen, Pile foundations for large North Sea structures, Marine Geotechnology, 3(3) (1979) 267-314.
[39] API, Recommended practice for planning, designing, and constructing fixed offshore platforms, in:  API-RP2A, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, USA, 1993.
[40] K. Karlsrud, C.J.F. Clausen, P.M. Aas, Bearing capacity of driven piles in clay, the NGI approach,  (2005) 775-782.
[41] H.J. Kolk, E. der Velde, A Reliable Method to Determine Friction Capacity of Piles Driven into Clays, Offshore Technology Conference,  (1996) 10.
[42] F.S. Niazi, P.W. Mayne, CPTu-based enhanced UniCone method for pile capacity, Engineering Geology,  (2016) 21-34.
[43] G. Philipponnat, Méthode pratique de calcul d'un pieu isolé, à l'aide du pénétromètre statique, Revue Francaise de Geotechnique, (10) (1980) 55-64.
[44] G. Price, I. Wardle, A comparison between cone penetration test results and the performance of small diameter instrumented piles in stiff clay, Proceedings, the 2nd European Symposium on Penetration Testing, 2 (1982) 775-780.
[45] J.H. Schmertmann, Guidelines for cone penetration test: performance and design, No. FHWA-TS-78-209, United States. Federal Highway Administration, Washington, USA, 1978.
[46] M. Tumay, M. Fakhroo, Friction pile capacity prediction in cohesive soils using electric quasi-static penetration tests, Interim Research Rep, 1 (1982) 44.
[47] A.H. Shamshirgaran, B. Ebrahimian, Time Effects on the Axial Compression Bearing Capacity of Piles Driven in Offshore Clays of Persian Gulf – A Case Study, The 3rd Iranian Conference on Geotechnical Engineering,  (2018).