Abstract

The riser is a critical element in a subsea production system for transporting hydrocarbons from the seafloor to the surface. The track record of existing riser systems worldwide has shown that risers tend to be designed conservatively to accommodate dynamic loads, strength and fatigue requirements, and corrosion/erosion provision needs. Among all the riser types, the steel catenary riser (SCR) is the most installed riser configuration for deepwater oil and gas production worldwide in the last two decades. This is mainly because of their simple configuration and relatively low manufacturing and installation cost.

As riser technology advances, SCRs are designed to tackle more challenging environments and longer service lives. For the riser life extension applications, regulatory bodies prefer riser operations to be managed through an integrity management program, demonstrating that a robust framework with detailed records on the conditions of the risers is in place. This paper studies an integrity management program for SCRs with a 30-year design life in a harsh environment.

The planned riser integrity management program is based on successful industry practice and the newly published riser integrity management standard API RP 2RIM [4]. It starts with a review of the riser design basis and as-built data, continuing with key field data measurement and production fluid sampling. A digital model, continuously calibrated with the measured data, is established to assess the integrity of the riser system.

Key physical quantities are selected to monitor the structural health of the SCRs, including vessel motion measurement, measurement of SCR top hang-off angles and tensions, and full water column current measurement. The relationship between the measurement data and the riser strength and fatigue performance is established. Details of the riser integrity assessment in a digital model utilizing the measurement data are presented. The implemented proposed riser integrity management program is expected to provide a more focused and efficient method with a higher level of confidence in operating the SCRs during the design life and potentially beyond.

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