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Don Field Subsea Development: Umbilical Strategy and Practical Experiences
J.H. Hall, J.J. Campbell, and P.G.H. Shaw, BP Exploration
Copyright 1990, Offshore Technology Conference This paper was presented at the 22nd Annual OTC in Houston, Texas, May 7-10, 1990. This paper was selected for presentation by the OTC Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference or its officers. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented.
ABSTRACT The Don field was developed as a subsea satellite of the Thistle platform and is currently the furthest from the host platform (17.5 km) in the UKCS. The paper presents the umbilical strategy adopted for the first phase of the field development. The paper also addresses, in particular, problems encountered with the design, manufacture and installation of the electro-hydraulic control umbilical and their successful resolution following an extensive test programme. INTRODUCTION The Don field is situated in Block 2ll/18a about 15 km north of BP's Thistle Platform and is in 170 meters water depth. The field is extensively faulted and consists of two main accumulations. These are denoted as Don NE and Don SW with the former having potentially the more prolific reserves. The reserves for both areas were estimated as 56 mmstb. Figure 1 shows the location of the field.
The plan finally adopted was to develop the field using subsea production techniques tied back to the Thistle Platform. Because of the nature of the reservoir particularly its multiple faults and uncertain reservoir characteristics, the development was to be phased. Two production wells and a water injection well comprise the first phase. All three wells are located at the Don NE area. The second phase potentially requires up to a further seven wells at Don NE area and three wells at the Don SW area. However, the detailed requirements and their location will be better determined after further reservoir information has been gained from the early phase 1 production experience. Both the production wells incorporate downhole pressure and temperatures gauges to assist in maximising this information. The wells are arranged in a cluster around a manifold. This enables the wells to be drilled from one mooring position and allows simultaneous production and drilling and workover. Each tree structure incorporates a valve package containing an additional wing valve designed to take the flow
cutting action on tree shut down and a choke. A
References and figures at end of paper control module to control and monitor each well is also located on the tree adjacent to the valve
It would be retrieved. The configuration of such an umbilical will be such that the copper conductor elements will not form a central core around which the hoses are laid as would be the case for a dynamic umbilical used for example on a Floating Production system. As a result. the accelerated ageing tests in which the hose liner material was tested with the chemicals at elevated temperatures. The cluster arrangement proposed for both phases is shown in figure 2. they would be typically 50% more expensive than an umbilical 486 . 6 electrical power cores (3 phase). there were areas where the expenditure of very little capital in an early phase was seen to result in significant savings in later phases and it was recognised that the umbilicals satisfied this criteria. The longer the umbilical. The development is also described in more detail in ref 1. Separate control and chemical umbilicals were chosen because of the possible incompatibility between one of the injected chemicals and the hose liner. They are useful in that they will identify most incompatibility problems in a reasonable time. In addition to the components having differing elasticity. there were reports in the industry of umbilical hose failure due to chemical attack. Phase 1 equipment was generally limited to that required for the initial stage of the development only and was not extended to accommodate flexibility initially for future development. UMBILICAL STRATEGY There are a variety of ways to approach a phased expansion in two separate areas and a number of umbilical solutions. signal pairs and hydraulic hoses of different diameters and with different elasticity properties are then bundled together using either a planetary machine resulting in a helical lay-up or an alternate clockwise-anticlockwise method known as S-Z. This latter method has a distinct advantage in that it can lay-up longer lengths without joints because of the size limitations of cable drums which can be accommodated on planetary machines. the more the copper content per unit length will increase to compensate for voltage drop. the back tensions of each component as they are transferred from the reels or drums to the lay-up machine may be unequal. quickly reterminated and re-laid. In addition. The valve package and the control module are independently retrievable without having to recover the tree. Such an incompatibility could then result in a chemical attack of the critical elements ie. The installation of a junction box in the umbilical to accommodate the tie-in to a second area and the provision of separate hose umbilicals and electric cables to each area are just two examples. A new chemical umbilical would be installed for Don NE. both power and signal. The control umbilical and its subsea termination were designed so that the umbilical could be retrieved. This may be because of limitations in the J tube diameter or handling capacity limitations of transportation or lay vessel reels. cannot be considered a fully guaranteed guide to long term deterioration. The umbilical was designed with a minimum number of joints in cables and hoses and had no externally apparent joints. cut. In the extreme.2 DON FIELD SUBSEA DEVELOPMENT . The umbilical strategy adopted for the first phase of Don may be summarised as follows: Control functions were incorporated in a single electrohydraulic umbilical. Although chemical compatibility testing was carried out to verify the suitability of the hose liner for transporting the specific chemicals (and alternatives) there was always the risk that an incompatible chemical could be introduced over the field life leading to failure. although satisfactory. Three of the chemicals designated for injection into the wells and manifold had not been used previously in thermo-plastic hoses. It is not usual to design an electrohydraulic umbilical which is to be used for subsea well control to withstand the dynamic stresses associated with floating systems. They would therefore have a larger diameter and would occupy much more machine time in manufacture than the equivalent static product. Power conductors. reterminated and re-laid to service the Don SlY area. At the time this umbilical strategy was being determined. capability for re-use in phase 2 and long term reliability must be made and the weighting against each of these three criteria must always be to some extent subj ective. A balance between minimum initial cost. In addition. this can mean an umbilical containing: 2 screened signal pairs. In order to derive maximum economic benefit from a phased development. This umbilical was designed to provide hydraulic and electric power and signal transmission for up to 10 wells and control modules at the NE area and for extension to 21. hydraulic hoses and electric cable insulation with the subsequent loss of control and a total field shutdown.UMBILICAL STRATEGY AND PRACTICAL EXPERIENCES OTC 6255 package.5 km to accommodate 3 wells and control modules at Don SlY area. in the umbilical. However. DESIGN ASPECTS OF ELECTRO-HYDRAULIC UMBILICALS There is a tendency to request duplication of the electrical components. there is often a requirement to design the umbilical to minimise the cross-sectional area. 2 hydraulic hoses. The resulting umbilical will then be nearer to an electric cable with copper being the predominant element. The chemical umbilical was designed to accommodate phase 1 only. Such dynamic umbilicals would have a very high degree of radial symmetry and the lay-up angles for all conductors cables and hoses would be high to give the necessary flexibility.
No kinks were found in unlaid or normally laid umbilical. Evidence of kinking of the 35 mm 2 power cores was found only in the section of the umbilical which had been subjected to extended time in the catenary. Tests on the final umbilical included: Flow rate and pressure response tests on the hoses (fig 4). hose pressures and electrical continuity were continually monitored. 487 . The ensuing events are summarised as follows and the weather during the period is described in figure 5. C &G for the signal and power conductors. After about 3 days.s. The examination of samples of umbilical from an unlaid section and a spare section which had not been loaded onto the vessel showed kinks in the signal conductors. However. operational difficulties with the trencher were experienced. Cold bend tests in which a sample was cooled to -15 0 C and bent 4 times through the minimum bend radius and then tested and partially stripped down for examination. Quality control inspection was extensive during all stages of the umbilical manufacture. There was some evidence to suggest that the kinking in the power cores had occurred predominantly in the lower region of the stationary catenary. This was achieved by making all the hoses in 9 km lengths and the electric cables in 4.s. before it could be re-deployed. The examination of the umbilical was undertaken over several weeks. The umbilical was pulled onto the platform and the laying/trenching process started satisfactorily.d. MANUFACTURE The control umbilical was laid up and armoured as one continuous length of 18 km.d. The kinks in the signal conductors occurred with varying severity and varying intensities. initially using X-ray techniques.5 km lengths. from the extrusion of hose liners and electrical insulation of the individual conductors to final electrical tests after the umbilicals were loaded onto the vessel. During the installation. Examples of kinked and broken power cores are shown in figure 7. On return to the factory. Wind speeds were above 60 knots with significant wave heights of 12 metres. Determination of cable characteristics R. The results are summarised below. There were no breaks. The umbilical was subjected to flexing in the length of umbilical in catenary during this period. the break and other kinks are clearly Visible. continuity was lost in the 35 mm2 power cores. There were no kinks in samples of unarmoured umbilical.OTe 6255 HALL. Broken conductors are difficult to discern electrically because of the rubber insulation keeping the two broken ends in contact. For long umbilicals such as those required for Don. The umbilical was cut and abandoned to save the vessel. The 2 km of abandoned umbilical was subsequently retrieved from the J tube and seabed and returned to the factory along with the unlaid umbilical. All internal joints were at specific locations. The signal pairs exhibited occasional kinking in the conductors. The project specification required duplication of any system which would shut down the whole field and so the umbilical functions were duplicated: 4 2 2 2 35 mm2 power conductors screened signal cables 6 mm2 9 mm HP (7. i. Weather conditions prevented immediate recovery. INSTALLATION The umbilicals were reeled on to the lay vessel Deepwater 1 and were to be simultaneously laid and trenched with lay being initiated by pulling the umbilical up the riser and laying away from Thistle to Don. L. exposing the umbilical in the catenary to even greater dynamic forces.000 psi) hoses 12 mm c. Sometimes this kinking was clearly visible through the conductor insulation. Testing comprised the usual industry standards for both qualification and routine tests on the hoses and the cables.500 psi) hoses LP (3. Weather conditions improved to allow the trencher to be recovered and repaired. the weather worsened considerably. they were generally to be found where the lay direction reverses and the umbilical elements are co-axial with the umbilical axis. a fully dynamic design would prove very expensive and is in any case unnecessary provided the design allows for normal installation stresses. area i. UMBILICAL EXAMINATION The constraints placed on the contractor resulted in the cross section shown in Figure 3. CAMPBELL AND SHAW 3 designed for static use. Torque balance test under loads to 10 tonnes. After 11 hours' continuity in one of the signal pairs was lost. The breaks in the conductor strands were always at one of these kinks. the location of the signal core failure was determined using pulse reflection techniques and then selectively cutting 10 m samples from the umbilical removing the armour and examining the cores. All joints and splices were factory made so the umbilical lay up was a continuous process for the total 18 km length. After about 2 km had been installed. area c. Figure 6 shows an X-ray of a signal pair.
There was no significant improvement in the cycles-to-failure figures for any of the samples when compared with the original umbilical. There were no reports from QC inspectors of any convoluted central core.87% longer than the power cores. the kinks would occur randomly since there would be no preferential locations. the failures occurred after a few hundred cycles. If the central hose were perfectly straight then with a lay length of 700 mm the signal pairs would be 0. this is to be expected because of the homogeneous nature of the planetary lay-up. However.3%.3%. However. This will cause no problems unless during the lay up it remains straight with the other elements laid round it. The kinking and subsequent fracturing occurred only in the section subjected to catenary laying forces when the vessel was stationary and subjected to rough seas. As can be seen in figure 7.18%. Helical lay up would not necessarily prevent the formation of kinks resulting from compressive forces. the bend radius at the seabed with the 50 metre stand off distance was about 12 meters resulting in strains of only 0. The S-Z change over points of the signal pairs were positioned on the outside or inside of the bend so that they would see maximum strain. An immediate test programme was initiated in which samples of the armoured umbilical were flexed with no tension. The kinks and fractures all occurred at the S-Z change over positions. In essence. the relative lengths of each component will change resulting in significant compressive forces. Observation from ROV during installation did not reveal any severe bending or flexing either in the catenary or at the plough entry. SIGNAL CABLE FAILURE AND UMEILICAL DESIGN It can be seen that the central hose is not concentric with the umbilical. because there are no areas more susceptible to strain than others. If the core is then forced from a convoluted form into a cylindrical form about the centre of the umbilical. A four kilometre length was made and samples taken which were then flex tested and stripped down. kinks were found in the signal conductors. the signal pairs would be shorter by 0. there may well be others. it was established that’cyclic strains of more than 0. with strain levels of around 1%. When such a “wavyttconstruction iS subsequently forced into a cylindrical form as it will when armoured. a new 1000 metre length was manufactured using a variety of laying-up and armouring parameters. Samples from this umbilical for flex testing could not of course be oriented so that any kinks present would be in the position to receive msximum strain. over 40. The object was to see how many cycles of strain a kinked signal conductor could accept before failure in an attempt to determine limits on laying conductors. In this case the form of the laid up bundle would have slightly cork-screw-like or convoluted form with different lengths of each laid up component for unit length of umbilical (Fig8). However. These effects. Each new combination was tested by bending sample sections through bend radii up to 7 metres.000 cycles of flexing through a bend radius of 7 metres. to conclude with certainty that the planetary lay-up was better than the S-Z form. The cycling frequency was selected to reflect the anticipated wave frequency. In parallel with the testing of the unlaid umbilical. For flexing to have been the cause. equivalent toa78 meter bend radius. It is possible that in this region the core becomes detached from the armour and that the internal components which will be in compression support the umbilical with the compressive forces the same as the residual catenary tension. the effect would be small and was not specifically looked for. On stripping the samples. However.000 cycles would cause the conductors to fail. ~OWER CORE D= The kinking of the power cores did not appear to be the result of manufacturing or design. It was therefore not possible. The exact cause of these compressions has not been fully established. REPLACEMENT UM81LICAL A replacement length using the more conventional planetary lay-up method was manufactured. Although such a mechanism could explain the production of kinks. This represents a strain of 1. One possible cause is the effect of hydrostatic pressure on the umbilical core. TESTING It was not clear at the time whether a completely new control tunbilicalwould be required or whether the 15 km which had not been laid could be used. the kinks appeared to be fewer in number than in samples taken from the original umbilical. These forces were possibly of a sufficient magnitude to make the signal pair conductors kink. it .4 DON FIELD SUBSEA DEVELOPMENT . coupled with the dynamics imposed by significant veaael motion. The pressure near the seabed will induce both radial and axial compressive forces on the umbilical core. In the case of Don umbilical which was laid up using alternating directions or S-Z lay. None of the samples from unlaid umbilical showed any sign of irregularity. without testing many samples. the catenary must have been moving around quite markedly or the umbilical must have been bent at the plough entry point. The kinks would be expected to occur in the region where the S-Z lay up changed direction and the conductors were co-linear with the umbilical.UNBILICAL STRATEGY AND PRACTICAL EXPERIENCES The conductor fractures were clueto stress fatigue fractures and not tensile fractures. the armouring process could have introduced compressive forces in the signal pairs. Indeed. They were also randomly distributed. The OTC 6255 catenary tension decreased from about 1900 kgf at the vessel to about 160 kg at the seabed.14%. could account for severe cyclic compressive forces being applied to the umbilical internals in the lower regiona of the umbilical catenary which must have occurred to cause the observed damage of the power cores. None of the samples failed after 50. severe and repetitive compressive forces must have occurred during this period to cause 35 mm2 conductors to kink and ultimately fracture in this way.
One section.. was joined to the existing umbilical to form the subsea end which would be laid at the manifold. the conductor size is substantial. . . All hydraulic joints and electrical splices were made in the factory and tested. a sample of the designed umbilical should be made. Ideally. 4 kilometres trenched. During installation.OTC 6255 HALL . armoured. This minimised the time the umbilical was exposed to catenary laying forces. The distance between the touch-down point of the umbilical or plough and the vessel should be such as to give a residual catenary tension which prevent% the core from experiencing compression.” paper presented at Offshore Europe 1989 40Y . CONCLUSIONS It will always be difficult to design a symmetrical electrohydraulic control umbilical because of the high copper conductor content. Previous experience of umbilical installation in the North Sea would indicate that the poor reliability of trenching equipment and predicted weather windows combine to make and trench operations over long Umbilicals longer than say 3 to should be laid and subsequently simultaneous lay distances risky. Stoddard B and Campbell J J: “Don . flexed and stripped down to prove the design and manufacturing process. The effects of dynamic forces due to vessel motion which occur where there is little residual tension in the umbilical and where compressive forces due to hydrostatic pressure acting on the umbilical core become significant are not fully understood. RESOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM The original umbilical was re-completed using two new sections. copper conductors should form the central core with hoses surrounding. this cannot be achieved particularly with long umbilicals where for voltage drop considerations. These lengths had the esme geometry as the original design but were made using the planetary method. There is clearly scope for modelling the processes involved so that all forces on components can be predicted. In general. the distance between the touchdowm point and the vessel was increased from 50 metres to about 100 metres to increase the tension in the catenary at the seabed. This is the end which may be recovered for regermination at a later stage and would therefore be subject to further stress. The principle of simultaneous lay and trenching was discontinued. If project timescale permits. It did not appear to be possible to make defect-free umbilical of this particular design using alternating or S-Z lay-up. CAMPBELL AND SH. A 600 m length was joined to the other end of the umbilical and so would be the length to be pulled up the J tube.A Cost Effective Approach to Subsea Design. Hose and cable o MKNWLEDGMENTS The authors express their thanks to BP exploration and Don Partners for permission to present this paper. The umbilical was successfully installed and trenched using this modified procedure and to dst’ is working to specification. A stand~off distance of about 110 metres would have given a tension of around 500 kg at the plough. some 2 km in length. ~EFERENCE$ 1. 5 is likely that any kinking should be less severe.AW tensions during the lay-up process are also very important in ensuring a cylindrical form free from convolutions.
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\ )1 Signal Pairs \ Power Cores / Figure 8 Convoluted Umbilical Lay-Up Resulting From Non Central Component .I Figure 6 Radiographs Kinks And Of Umbilioal Breaks Elements Pairs Figuro 8howing 7 Radiographs And Brcsk8 Of Umbilical In S5mm Elomonts Powor Coroo Showing In Signal Kinks Armour / Hydraulic Lines 1.
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