The Atkins-led SAFEBUCK Joint Industry Project (JIP) was launched in 2002, and ran until 2015, to develop novel yet safe methodologies for the design of deepwater, or high pressure, high temperature (HPHT), pipelines which are susceptible to lateral buckling, and the associated challenge of pipeline walking. The SAFEBUCK Design Guideline enables engineers to design pipelines that are deliberately encouraged to buckle in a controlled way, thus reducing and sharing the loads between each buckle site.

The JIP was completed in three phases, with each building upon the achievements of the previous phase(s). The JIP was supported by a membership drawn from operators, contractors, regulators and classification societies.

Atkins assembled an internationally renowned team of industry leading companies and academic institutions to undertake an extensive research and testing programme into axial and lateral pipe-soil interaction, buckle formation, buckle response and limits states including local buckling, fatigue and fracture. The University of Western Australia was a key partner in the development of new methodologies for the assessment of critical pipe-soil interactions. The research team also captured feedback from operating pipeline data donated by the JIP membership which enabled calibration of the SAFEBUCK models. The work of the research team was recognised by the Subsea Innovation and Technology Award in March 2010.

Whilst the SAFEBUCK Design Guideline remains proprietary to SAFEBUCK participants, the culmination of the JIP was the merger of the SAFEBUCK Guideline with DNV-RP-F110 – Global Buckling of Submarine Pipelines, ensuring that project teams within the wider industry can confidently deliver lateral buckling designs which meet industry safety and reliability targets.