The traditional industry approach to drilling riser joint inspection and maintenance has centered on recertification of riser joints at fixed five-yearly intervals. There are significant potential efficiencies to be gained from moving to a condition-based maintenance regime where inspection intervals are determined based on the actual usage of the riser joint. One of the critical factors driving the requirement for inspection is the fatigue damage sustained by the riser joint during use.

This paper describes a unique drilling riser joint fatigue tracking system that uses the latest digital technologies, advanced automation processes and a state-of-the-art finite element model of the drilling riser to provide an accurate and efficient solution to the challenge of long-term riser joint fatigue tracking. The architecture and operation of the system is described in detail and the application of a fracture mechanics-based approach to fatigue calculation versus the traditional S-N curve-based approach is discussed.

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