SURF's up

May 1, 2011

The season of joint industry projects has dawned, with a handful of announcements being made in the last month or so about subsea efforts. Two of those focus on SURF-type equipment while a third is focused on pipelines. OE highlights some of the newest areas gaining industry attention.

One of the newest JIPs is aimed at predicting stress in deepwater umbilicals while a second is aimed at integrity management of subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF).

Oceaneering Umbilical Solutions and Marintek have teamed up to design a predictive stress analysis tool for deepwater umbilicals. The UFlex (Umbilical Flexibility) tool is designed to provide data based on the umbilical's expected deepwater behavior. The environment umbilicals operate in mean the equipment is subjected to stresses from its own weight as well as stresses from tidal wave and current forces.

John White, global FEA & dynamic analysis manager at Oceaneering Umbilical Solutions, says UFlex will set a precedent for pinpointing stress and fatigue-related issues.

Marintek originally came up with the UFlex concept, White notes.

‘We need to have a better understanding of how an umbilical performs lying on the seabed. Umbilicals are exposed to a raft of internal and external pressures, tensions, torsions, bending and external contact loads, which may have an impact on performance. We now have the ability to predict, during the development phase, what scenarios are likely to occur and make some headway in rectifying the causes,' he says.

Umbilical testing will be carried out in Oceaneering's Testing Qualification & Research (TQR) facility in Rosyth. Oceaneering Umbilical Solutions will incorporate a number of sensors into the umbilical manufacturing process, enabling its technicians to assess specific behavioral traits. The assessment will give a thorough understanding of the umbilical's likely operational performance, according to OUS. UFlex will be used to benchmark and standardize each client's bespoke configuration, so the data captured by the software tool can be used on future production runs, OUS adds.

The second SURF-related JIP, launched by Wood Group Kenny, is aimed at establishing best-practices for integrity management (IM) of the various SURF components. Wood Group Integrity Management will lead the SURF IM JIP with support from MCS Kenny. The project is intended to identify current technology developments and needs for subsea inspection and condition monitoring.

Wood Group is behind the launch of a second initiative as well. The slug loading and response in pipelines (SLARP) project will be led by MCS Kenny and MSi Kenny. SLARP will focus on developing design and analysis techniques to avoid pipeline vibrations caused by fluctuating internal fluids transported by the pipeline.

Together, both of Wood Group's efforts are valued at $1 million. Wood Group said in mid-April that 12 international operators have opted to participate in, and fund, the pair of projects over the next 12 to 18 months. OE



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