Unconventional Solutions to Address Slope Protection Issues

Narasimhan, Thirugnanam (ADNOC Gas Processing) | Adel, Khalid (ADNOC Gas Processing) | Al Maskari, Juma (ADNOC Gas Processing)


Abstract Protection of bunds and slopes is of prime importance in Oil and Gas facilities, in order to contain hydrocarbon products and to protect soil erosion. This paper highlights some slope protection challenges and mitigation techniques comparing the conventional systems and describes the evaluation methodology including Sustainability and Cost optimization potential of a new material "Concrete Impregnated Fabric". The knowledge obtained in determining the evaluation criteria and methodology of this slope protection system is worth sharing with industry professionals. Conventional slope protection involves mainly gatch and concrete lining. While the design life of gatch being less, use of reinforced concrete is non-sustainable. The main challenge in slope protection is "slope stability" involving the type of soil to be retained and slope angle. Various polymeric products named as Geo-strips, Geogrids, etc. are used for soil reinforcement. Steel mesh surrounded Gabion retaining structures are used for retaining very high slopes. New technologies such as "Mastic grouted mattresses" are more suitable for sloped surfaces of coastal areas. "Concrete Impregnated Fabric" or "Geo-synthetic Cementitious Composite Mat (GCCM)", a new material that hardens on hydration was found suitable for quick construction and has many more advantages. Technical evaluation criteria and detailed evaluation process in selecting this slope protection system is described in this paper. Technical information, features and installation methods of the product have been collected from the manufacturer and subjected to a detailed desk study. After initial review, the product with its varying thicknesses was applied on mock-up bund, demonstrating laying, joint-fixing, end-anchoring and initial hydration. This event has been witnessed by more than a dozen of engineers from all plants of ADNOC Gas Processing. The trial site was left exposed to atmosphere and revisited after 6 months and the condition ascertained. Physical properties listed in the information brochure have been verified by carrying out third party laboratory tests in UAE based on various international codes and witnessed by professional team. Also as part of evaluation process, in a pilot project, it was applied on pipeline bund area of about 4000 Sqm. Apart from the sustainability aspects and techno-commercial analysis, other advantages of the product such as design-life of 50 years, construction ease, 24% cost saving compared to concrete lining and feedback from previous users, etc. were evaluated and captured in a comprehensive report based on which it was accepted for use on slopes without any loads. Evaluation of this fit-for-purpose slope protection system including its pilot application will be useful for all relevant stakeholders.

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