As the industry plans to move forward with the development of high pressure and high temperature (HP/HT) fields, challenges exist for the design of complaint risers in deepwater applications. The conventional wet tree application risers such as Steel Catenary Risers (SCRs) have proven to be mature technologies in the deepwater applications around the world. HP/HT application leads to many challenges in deepwater risers. This paper investigates ways to overcome the design challenges of deepwater SCRs using a multi-pronged approach.

The paper first addresses the challenge in riser pipe wall thickness. The HP/HT applications require higher pipe wall thicknesses mainly governed by the burst pressure design requirements. The pipe wall thicknesses required for the HP/HT applications will result in very high installation loads, reeling issues with low D/t, fabrication (welding) challenges, high payloads to the host vessel, etc. Any optimization to the wall thickness design in terms of using higher grade material, advancements in welding technology and advantages to be gained in the use of design codes can potentially help in overcoming of these challenges.

The pipe sizes used in the HP/HT applications can pose significant challenges to the touchdown zone (TDZ) of standard steel catenary riser configurations, in terms of experiencing large TDZ compressions and having fatigue life concerns. Use of different SCR problem-solving approaches — TDZ clump weights, Lazy Wave Steel Riser (SLWR) and weight optimized risers will be reviewed in this paper.

Vessel motion characteristics can significantly affect the riser performance. Vessels with improved motions, particularly from the riser response viewpoint, can play a significant role in the selection of optimum riser configurations. This has to be achieved in the early stages of the project. Some of the work done recently in development of the optimized vessel performance particularly in the case of semi-submersibles and their implications on the riser design are studied in this paper.

Design of the risers in HP/HT fields in deepwater applications presents significant challenges and requires a multi-dimensional problem solving approach. An example is provided in this paper for the investigation. A multi-pronged approach has to be adopted for the successful design of riser system for HP/HT deepwater applications.

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