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Drilling Riser Disconnection Challenges in Ultra-Deep Water

[+] Author Affiliations
Alexandre Diezel, Germain Venero, Victor Gomes, Leandro Muniz, Rafael Fachini, Hugues Corrignan

Wood, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Paper No. OMAE2018-77115, pp. V001T01A008; 8 pages
  • ASME 2018 37th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 1: Offshore Technology
  • Madrid, Spain, June 17–22, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5120-3
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


With the extension of the offshore drilling operations to water depths of 10,000 ft and beyond, the technical challenges involved also increased considerably. In this context, the management of the riser integrity through the application of computational simulations is capital to a safe and successful operation — particularly in harsh environments. One of the main challenges associated with keeping the system under safe limits is the recoil behavior in case of a disconnection from the well. The risk that an emergency disconnect procedure can take place during the campaign is imminent, either due to failure of the dynamic positioning system or due to extreme weather in such environments.

Recent work [1] in the field of drilling riser dynamic analysis has shown that the recoil behavior of the riser after a disconnection from the bottom can be one of the main drivers of the level of top tension applied. Tension fluctuations can be very large as the vessel heaves, especially in ultra-deep waters where the average level of top tension is already very high.

In order to be successful, a safe disconnection must ensure that the applied top tension is sufficient for the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) to lift over the Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) with no risk of interference between the two. This tension should also not exceed a range in which the riser will not buckle due to its own recoil, that the telescopic joint will not collapse and transfer undesirable loads onto the drilling rig or that the tensioning lines will not compress. A good representation of such behavior in computational simulations is therefore very relevant to planning of the drilling campaign.

A case study is presented herein, in which a recoil analysis was performed for a water depth of 11,483ft (3,500m). Numerical simulations using a finite element based methodology are applied for solving the transient problem of the riser disconnection in the time domain using a regular wave approach. A detailed hydro-pneumatic tensioning system model is incorporated to properly capture the effect of the anti-recoil valve closure and tension variations relevant during the disconnection.

A reduction of conservativism is applied for the regular wave approach, where the maximum vessel heave likely to happen in every 50 waves is applied instead of the usual maximum in 1000 waves approach. ISO/TR 13624-2 [4] states that using the most probable maximum heave in 1000 waves is considered very conservative, as the event of the disconnection takes place in a very short period of time.

The challenges inherent to such an extreme site are presented and conclusions are drawn on the influence of the overall level of top tension in the recoil behavior.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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