Natural gas (NG) pipeline networks constitute a critical means of energy transportation, playing a vital role in the economic development of modern societies. The associated socio-economic and environmental impact, in case of seismically-induced severe damage, highlights the importance of a rational assessment of the structural integrity of this infrastructure against seismic hazards. Up to date, this assessment is mainly performed by implementing empirical fragility relations, which associate the repair rate, i.e. the number of repairs/damages per unit length of the pipeline, with a seismic intensity measure. A limited number of analytical fragility curves that compute probabilities of failure for various levels of predefined damage states have also been proposed, recently. In the first part of this paper, a thorough critical review of available fragility relations for the vulnerability assessment of buried NG pipelines is presented. The paper focuses on the assessment against seismically-induced transient ground deformations, which, under certain circumstances, may induce non-negligible deformations and strains on buried NG pipelines, especially in cases of pipelines crossing heterogeneous soil sites. Particular emphasis is placed on the efficiency of implemented seismic intensity measures to be evaluated or measured in the field and, more importantly, to correlate with observed structural damage on buried NG pipelines. In the second part of this paper, alternative methods for the analytical evaluation of the fragility of steel NG pipelines under seismically-induced transient ground deformations are presented. Through the discussion, recent advancements in the field are highlighted, whilst acknowledged gaps are identified, providing recommendations for future research.
- Natural gas pipelines
- Seismic intensity measures
- Steel pipelines
- Transient ground deformations