The Aasta Hansteen floating production system is the first SPAR platform with steel catenary risers (SCR) at the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The water depth is 1300 msw. The weather conditions with respect to wave loading are more severe than any offshore installation completed so far. Under such environmental conditions, it is vital to verify the design of the SCR’s with respect to extreme loading and fatigue life.

A fatigue verification program has been executed for ground OD welds of both clad and carbon steel riser materials. The objective was to determine the effect of weld defects in combination with the effect of variable amplitude loading using the actual fatigue stress distribution experienced by critical parts of the SCR. The stress distribution is based on the local wave spectrum and estimated from hydrodynamic analysis of the riser and the long-term wave statistics.

Two clad pipes and one carbon steel pipe was exposed to rotation bending fatigue testing with artificially imposed defects. One clad pipes gave fracture after more than 1.0 × 109 cycles. The carbon steel pipe gave fracture after 4.56 × 108 cycles.

A modified Miner’s summation rule is proposed for variable amplitude fatigue design. The procedure is based on a verification of variable amplitude testing against constant amplitude testing. The results indicate that load amplitudes below a fatigue limit defined at 107 cycles are not contributing significantly to fatigue crack initiation and growth from a weld defect. The proposed method suggests an engineering approach to this by a modification of the Miner’s rule for VA loading.

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