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Numerical Prediction of MODUs Drift During Hurricane Katrina

[+] Author Affiliations
Galin Tahchiev, Jun Zhang

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Paper No. OMAE2007-29606, pp. 703-710; 8 pages
  • ASME 2007 26th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 1: Offshore Technology; Special Symposium on Ocean Measurements and Their Influence on Design
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 10–15, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4267-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-3799-8
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


During severe hurricanes, such as Katrina, the mooring system of a number of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) in the Gulf of Mexico failed. Drifting MODUs may potentially damage other critical elements of the offshore oil and gas infrastructure by colliding with floating or fixed production systems and transportation hubs, or by rupturing pipelines owing to their dragging anchors over the seabed. To avoid or mitigate the damage caused by a drifted MODU, it is desirable to understand the mechanics of the drift of a MODU under the impact of severe wind, wave and current and have the capability of predicting the trajectory of the drift. To explore the feasibility and accuracy of predicting the trajectory of a drifting MODU based on real-time or hindcast met-ocean conditions and limited knowledge of the condition of the drifting MODU, this study employed a simplified equation describing only the horizontal (surge, sway and yaw) motions of a MODU under the impact of steady wind, current and wave forces. The simplified hydrodynamic model neglects the first- and second-order oscillatory wave forces, unsteady wind forces (owing to wind gustiness), wave drift damping, and the effects of the body oscillation on the steady wind and current forces. It was assumed that the net effects of the oscillatory forces on the steady motion are insignificant. To verify the accuracy and feasibility of our simplified approach, the predicted drifts of two MODUs were compared with the corresponding measured trajectories recorded by the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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