By Martin Connelly, technical manager, Tata Steel Modern linepipe design is an increasingly intricate process. The various demands of corrosion management, fatigue resistance, deepwater collapse and any other failure modes place increasing emphasis on design robustness. But are the industry standards and processes, developed decades ago, still fit for purpose in a context where technological innovation is pushing exploration into deeper and ever more aggressive environments? I firmly believe we need to update and validate new methodologies such as DNV, API and ASTM. Many testing procedures were developed in the early years of the industry when materials were rather different, specifically they were less advanced in terms of both chemistry and structure. We need to create a consistent set of standards for the specification, design, manufacturing and testing of linepipe that progresses and evolves alongside technological innovation, rather than restricts improvements. Quite frankly, we run the risk of putting the industry as a whole at risk of decline if we reduce the capacity to access and harness reserves in demanding environments. Tata Steel, along with many other organizations in the sector, has spent decades improving the performance of its products under these increasingly demanding conditions. In response to the shortcomings of the existing theoretical practice, for example, we commissioned Naples University Federico II to develop an analytical model for ring collapse under hydrostatic pressure. The team constructed a framework for the model and successfully developed a relationship that described the mechanics of the collapse and its ‘roundness’ when buckling occurs. It is hoped this work can be expanded to encompass more critical variables for eventual simplification to a practical form for future use. If proven robust, it will be an integral part of developing accepted standards for deepwater design. But it falls to us all, as pioneers in the sector, to continue to challenge and re-evaluate conventional thinking, applying our knowledge and expertise in steel technologies to the specification, design, manufacturing and testing of linepipe, thus ensuring the end result is a product that is even safer as well as more reliable and financially viable.