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OTC 23583

Innovative Drilling Rig for Deepwater Dry-Tree Floating Plartform


Nagan Srinivasan, Specialist and Meena Sridhar, Deepwater Structures Inc., Houston, TX

Copyright 2012, Offshore Technology Conference


This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 30 April3 May 2012.
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright.

Abstract
The deep water development in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) harsh environment could potentially reduce the capital cost with
the self-contained drilling unit on the production floater. This paper studies the technical feasibility of a complete drilling
package; an independent pipe deck combined drilling support structure on top of the ultra deepwater production floater. A
dry-tree support semi-submersible is used for this study for water depths from 7000 to 9000 ft. The objective of the paper is
to reduce the drilling costs with the use of an onboard platform rigs over dry trees. In this design, a 2.5 million hook load
drilling rig in association with the drilling support modules on a box-on-box concept structure type is considered.
The substructure skids are over the strong back in the transverse direction and the strong back skids are over the platform
capping beam in the longitudinal direction. The substructure contains a trip tank and an independent mud separate system.
The larger mud process system and the power units are isolated from the substructure that allows the substructure to be
lighter and easy to move both longitudinal and transverse to cover the matrix of the well pattern. A bridge type structure
communicates between the drill floor and the drilling support structure by transporting the pipe to and fro from the pipe deck
to the drill floor. The bridge is also used to make up and break up the pipes in addition to the pipe-conveyer work. The
substructure is designed as a box- on-box type thus easing the fabrication, transportation and rig-up. This paper conceptually
engineers the drilling structure with the selection of major equipment accordingly, to meet the proposed platform
requirement for the dry-tree support semi-submersible with production unit.
The merits are the reduction in the overall drilling, operating and well enhancement cost. Additionally, the advantages are
early production with accelerated production revenues leading to a reduction in the overall development capital requirement.
Also the ease of well intervention field requirements to enhance the well performance is feasible. This paper also defines and
illustrates a suitable dry tree vessel for ultra deepwater harsh environment to make the GOM ultra deepwater development
reliable, feasible and cost effective.
Introduction
In general, the future of the oil and gas is very bright for international players. In the USA, the GOM deepwater development
has a significant role with several prospective fields in water depths over 5000 ft. Some of these fields are over 7000 ft and
close to 10,000 ft range and will be developed in the mere future. The GOM environment in general is called harsh
environment with the maximum wave height of 91.5 ft in a 1000 year return period. For such large wave height the free
board required for the floating vessel is about 100 ft. Several dry tree support concepts are available. This paper presents one
of the most suitable dry tree supported semi-submersible platform concepts to accommodate the conceptually engineered
drilling rig. The technical advantages and the features of the selected dry-tree support semi-submersible is also presented in
middle part of the paper after presenting the drilling concept. The selected dry-tree vessel with minimum heave acceleration
would make design of the drilling rig as light weight. A cost and weight effective drilling rig structure that is suitable for the
dry tree support platform is one of the primary tasks required for the ultra deepwater development to be successful. An
innovative drilling rig with a safe, light weight, reliable, efficient, easy to construct, easy to transport and easy to install
(utilizing modern drilling equipment) will become necessary for the dry tree support ultra water developments.

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The Conceptual Drilling Rig


In order to have an easy rig up and rig down on the land, before transported and installed on to the platform, a box-on-box
type drilling rig is to be considered in this paper. The box-on-box type drilling rigs are in general, easy to fabricate and
transport as modules with equipment in place within each box. The structural strength with respect to weight is high; thus the
total rig weight is reduced. The rig moving is to be achieved East to West and North to South to cover the matrix of wells on
the sea bed. The vessel top-deck platform comes with two capping beams and the wells are spaced equally in between. The
area covered by the wells is called well-bay and is typically of 100 ft x 100 ft or it could be less depending on the number of
wells. There are possibly 12- 24 wells that need to be drilled from the well-bay. The platform drilling rig consists of several
modules: Derrick, Drill Floor, Sub-Structure Boxes, Upper-Skid Structure, Strong Backs and Lower Skids Structure. The
strong back is capable to skid over the platform capping beam in the longitudinal direction. There are two design options
available to skid the rig in the transverse direction. One method is to move the drill floor and keep the substructure stationary
and the second method is to move the substructure over the strong back with the upper skid beams. The first method is
recommended when there are significantly less number of the wells in the well-bay. The second method is used when there
are large number of wells are over 20 in the well-bay. This paper uses the later method.
In order to reduce the moving weights of the drilling rig by half, an independent and stationary support structure is
developed. The support structure incorporates the complete mud system and the electrical system. The top deck of the
stationary supporting structure is also utilized to accommodate the drill pipes and drill collars and is called pipe-deck. With
this method, the main drilling rig structure will have a reduced facility and weight to be skidded over the capping beam for
drilling. Both the drilling structure and the support structure could be modularized as of several boxes fabricated separately
and assembled on top of the platform deck over the platform capping beam. This method will optimize the overall weight of
the drilling module on the platform and make it easier to handle over the drilling area. The second major advantage is that the
drilling efficiency will also increase with less crowded equipment near the well-bay. The chances of rig accidents are also
reduced by concentrating less moving and operating equipment.
A bridge structure with a pipe conveyer on top is used to communicate between the support structure and the drilling
structure at the drill floor level. The drill floor in general is about 80 ft from the top of the capping beam. The support module
could be designed to a 55 ft height from the top of the capping beam; thus the bridge top is in-level with the drill floor to feed
the pipe in and out through the conveyer. The pipes are transported from the pipe deck to the bridge conveyer with a platform
crane. A pipe basket could be used to transport a large number of pipes at a time going from the pipe deck to the bridge top.
The high pressure mud lines and the low pressure mud return lines are supported underneath the bridge between the support
structure and the drilling structure.
A horizontal bucking system is mounted on the bridge to make and break the connections. This will speed-up the drilling
operation by making the connections horizontal on the bridge itself. The bridge is pin connected to the rig structure and is
simply supported on the drilling support structure. The bridge is stationary with respect to the drilling structure when the rig
is skidding and the bridge moves over the top deck of the support structure with the help of the pony truss. A head room is
provided with the pony truss structure to cross over the stored pipes on the pipe deck. The drilling structure incorporates 1000
BBL of mud process systems. Unlike other drilling rigs, the drawwork is placed below the drill floor in the subbox. There are
sevral advantges in this system. There are more free space on the drill floor for the crews. The visibility for the driller from
driller cabin to the well center is enhanced. The cg of the rig is lowered. The transportation and the installation becomes
easier. The described drilling rig concept is illustrated in Figures-1-7. This concept provides excellent an working
environment on the drilling structure and also in the support structure by separating these into two great isolated working
areas. The overall structural weight is reduced. All the modules are simple box type structures fabricated, transported
separately and assembled over the platform using shipyard boom cranes.

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Figure -1 Top-View of the Drilling Structure, Bridge Structure and the Support Structure

Figure -2 Side -View of the Drilling Structure, Bridge Structure and the Support Structure

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Figure -3 Side-View of the Rig Structure Skidded Over the Capping Beam to the Right

Figure-4 Top -View of the Strong Back and the Lower Skid Base with a BOP Lowering

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Figure-5 Top -View of the Pipe Bridge with Equipments

Figure-6 Side-View of the Sub-Structure - Off-Driller Side

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Figure-7 Drill Floor Layout (Where S1-S4 are Derrick Shoes)

The Challenges Involved


The challenges involved in this innovative rig design are discussed in this section. The first choice in the design is to ensure
and improve safe operation. Several advanced and automated pipe handling systems available are utilized to minimize the
handling of tubular by the crews onboard on the rig. With spacious operation areas and with automated equipment, the crews
are kept at a distance from the moving components on the rig. The safety is ensured in every action of the drilling operation.
The equipment selection and its appropriate placement also avoids accidents. Thus the layout of the drilling structure, the
supporting structure and the bridge structure are given top priority from the operational and the associated safety
considerations. The design of the strong back is also very challenging. For the ease of inspection, an open sided tall
fabricated I-beam is used with transverse strength trusses as shown in Figure-4. This provides the reduced weight to the rig
with adequate strength. The tie-down system, the lift and roll skidding system and the anti skid claw system are other
important key components in this rig design. API-Spec 4F recommends 1.25 load factor to be used for the Survival Uplift
Case with 90% of the dead and live loads with 3 sec gust factor survival wind in combined with the corresponding vessel
acceleration inertia loads of the rig. The automated mud transfer is another challenging area to be given consideration. Pipe
handling needs to be horizontal to vertical and the vertical pipe handling systems needs to be integrated utilizing powerful
control.

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The Suitable Drilling Equipments


Amazingly a wide variety of top class drilling equipments are available in today's market from the equipment manufacturers.
It is a competitive market field with several new types and high power drilling and handling equipments. The following
equipments are found suitable for this rig design.
API-Spec-4F derrick with 50ft x 50ft base and 20ftx20ft top with 210 ft clear height rated for dynamic 2.5 million hook load
is used. Higher capacity may be required depending on the drilling depth. An API-8C top drive TDX-1250 with 1250 ton
hoist capacity could be considered for the derrick. The TDX top-drive provides 90,000 ft-lbs continuous torque with speed
ranging from 130-260 rpm. NOV SSGD1250 ton Drawworks (6,900 hp) with regenerative braking would be a suitable fit for
this application. The pipe handling equipment could have horizontal bucking machine on the pipe bridge (see Figure-5),
horizontal to vertical handling and vertical handling (see Figure-7). Weatherford ComCAM20-160 OT, capable of 160,000
ft-lbs, is the horizontal bucking machine that facilitates pipe makeup on the bridge and feed the full pipe stand to the pipe in
triple to the drill floor.
NOV TS PR X 93, NOV VWS-65-LS tubular and riser shuttle machine could be considered for the purpose of horizontal
transport on the pipe bridge. For horizontal to vertical pipe handing assistances, a V-Door machine could be used. NOV
VDM 10 moves tubular between horizontal position on a conveyor to vertical position on the drill floor. This Hercules 10 is
capable of building stands in Mouse Hole and moving tubular (single, double or stands) to/from well center. NOV FMTA
Floor Monkey also would be helpful in the horizontal to vertical pipe handling process.
The vertical pipe racking could be achieved by NOV PRS 8i. This is the newest and most compact models of NOV's family
of column racking systems have been designed for medium to large offshore platform rigs. It is engineered for durability and
ease of operation, the XY Column Rackers optimizes operational flexibility and efficiency. These machines utilize state-ofthe-art robotics control systems that deliver consistent reliability and high performance. NOV's XY Column Rackers also
offers automated tripping and offline stand building capabilities in a static or dynamic vessel environment. PRS8i can handle
pipe sizes 3.5 to 9.75 inches and its hoist capacity is 22,000 lbs which is adequate to handle triples.
The ST-120 Iron Roughneck from National Oilwell Varco could be used for the vertical make-ups of the pipes on the drill
floor. It is one of the most compact design with maximized reach . It is also retractable and could extend over 5 feet from the
pivot. The most attractive feature is its minimum footprint and providing more room on the rig floor. The pipe makeup/break-out could be feasible also at the mouse-hole. Most importantly the ST-120 improves drill-floor safety.
Modern and compact Lift and Roll system equipments are available that replaces the cumbersome skidding systems. They are
designed to incorporate speed of movement, minimize rig downtime and enhance operator safety. ESI Lift & Roll system
could be used that moves the rig over the capping beam at a rate of 16 inches every 2 minutes with full payload on the rig
floor and with liquid full on the tanks. With this equipment, the substructure can move quickly and efficiently over the
strong back transversely and the strong back rig can move over the capping beam longitudinally. A control system to
synchronize the movement is required between two capping beam moving system. The modern Lift and Roll system is very
compact and is placed in the slot of the skid base and moves over the capping beam.
The Suitable Semi-Submersible For Dry-Tree Support
A simple and the most efficient dry support semi-submersible design for ultra deepwater harsh environment GOM is selected
herein for the purpose of demonstrating the applicability of the present drilling rig over the platform deck. The semisubmersible has telescopic keel-tank with moon-pool open at the middle for the access of the wells on the seabed. The vessel
extends it keel tank to its maximum down position for the operating, standby and survival conditions and retracts up the keeltank for the transportation and installation conditions. Figure 8 and 9 show the configuration of the semi-sub with the
extended position of the keel-tank and Figure 10 shows the semi-sub with retracted keel-tank for the transport condition.

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Figure -8 Side View the Dry-Tree Semi-Sub with Description

Figure - 9 A 3D View of the Semi-Sub for Operating Condition

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Figure - 10 Physical Model of the Semi-Sub for Transportation Condition

Figure -11 The Semi-Submersible Side view With Platform Modules

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Figure - 12 Top View of the Dry-Tree Semi-Submersible

The semi-submersible has truss type pontoon connecting the four columns to reduce the heave motion. A riser tower is used
to support the production risers at the middle and the pretension is adjusted by the ballast of the keel tank. Thus the columns
are designed slim to take the deck pay load without the production riser pretention. Figure - 11 shows the side view of the
Dry-Tree Semi-Submersible with the drilling, production and quarters modules and Figure 12 shows the top view of the
semi-submersible with the drilling modules at the middle and rest of the modules around.

BEHAVIOR OF THE SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE FOR DRY-TREE


The semi-submersible hull size is reduced because the columns buoyancy is designed to take the deck payload and the keel
tank buoyancy is designed to take the riser, SCR and Umbilical loads. The telescopic keel-tank is the key element of this
semi-submersible concept. The following are the advantages of the keel-tank for the semi-submersible: 1 Keel-tank is
telescoped down to a depth to give required level of resistance needed for stability & motion. 2 Keel-tank is away from wave
excitation. It provides large added mass, damping. 3 Keel-tank buoyancy is adjusted to support Risers hanging static load
(large) Keel-tank suppresses vertical motions and does not hurt horizontal motion. The motion behavior of the semisubmersible to waves is shown in Figure 13 and 14. Table 1 gives the typical motion behavior of the semi-submersible for the
GOM survival wave condition. The motion behaviour shows that the sem-submersible is suitable for the support dry-tree
application and could be used for the deepwater GOM developments.

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Figure - 13 Heave RAO of the Semi-Submersible (32 sec Heave Period)

Figure - 14 Heave RAO of the Semi-Submersible at Low Peak

Description
Air Gap
Offset
Max Pitch and Roll
Max Heave
Max Horizontal Acceleration

Survival Condition
8.6 ft
2% of water depth
2.3 degree
6 ft
0.18 g

Table -1 Semi-Submersible Vessel Motion Behavior Summary

Drilling Rig Design Guide Lines


Rig guidelines related to the design, operations & maintenance philosophy and the rig design specifications are discussed in
this section. Met-ocean wind criteria for the GOM deepwater is given below Table 2. This should be used for the rig design
according to API-Spec-4F.

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API-Spec4F recommends 3 sec gust factor for the structural design of the drilling rig. In addition to this appropriate height
factor to be used. Please note that the wind speed given in Table 2 are defined at 33 ft above sea level. Assuming the rig is
165 ft above the mean sea level, a height factor of 1.185 could be used according to API-Spec4F height factor. The wind
velocity for 3 sec gust factor is 135.9 knots. Thus the drilling rig is to be designed for 161 knots of wind load. There are
vessel acceleration inertial loads to be added in addition to the static wind load. The lateral and vertical acceleration loads are
derived from the motion of the vessel for the winter storm and hurricane conditions given in Table 2. All the eight directions
could be considered in the structural analysis with load combinations. Only for the standby and survival cases a 1.33
allowable stress increase could be considered. There should be a separate uplift case with survival expected storm condition
and with 90% of the dead load and minimum live load should be considered for the design of the uplift preventer clams
between the drilling rig and the capping beam. The pipe setback is assumed full on the stand for all the cases except the
survival and uplift cases. Table -3 gives the major estimated dead and the live loads. Table 4 furnishes the load combinations
used for the design of the drilling rig for wind in three directions and it could be extended for 8 directions. The motion inertia
accelerations in the horizontal and the vertical directions for different conditions are obtained from the semi-submersible
wave motion analyses.
Conditions

1-Year Winter Storm

10-Year
Hurricane
Standby
Condition

100-Year Hurricane

Hook/Rotary/Skidding
Operating Condition

10-Year Winter
Storm
Hook/Rotary
Operating

Operating
and Other
Conditions
Wind Speed
1-Hour
Average
Wind Speed
1-Minute
Average
Wind Speed
3-Sec Avge

35 knots

42.8 knots

58.3 knots

89.4 knots

40.8 knots

50.5 knots

71.7 knots

116.0 knots

45.8 knots

57.3 knots

81.6 knots

135.9 knots

Survival
Condition

Table -2 Met Ocean Wind Criteria for Gulf of Mexico Deepwater

Dead Load (tons)


500
Skid Base
500
Derrick
1250
Sub-Structure
2000
Mud System
550
Electrical, Misc.
250
Pipe Bridge
Total (tons)
5000 t

Main Rig Live Load (tons)


1250
Hook/Rotary Load
750
Pipe Set-Back
250
Treatment/Trip-Tanks
125
BOP
75
Misc
50
Blanket-Live Load
Total (tons)
2500 t

Drilling Support Live Loads (tons)


2000 t
Pipe Deck Rack
500 t
Active Mud
1500 t
Reserve Mud
750 t
Bulk Barite
200 t
Sack Storage
50 t
Misc
Total (tons)
5000 t

Table-3 Summary of Rig Loads (Both Main Rig and Support Structures)

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DL

ADL

LL1

LL2

100%

100%

100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%
100%
100%
100%

100%
100%
100%
100%
100%
100%

XWIND

YWIND

XACCL

YACCL

ZACCL

8
(1.0)
0

9
(1.0)
0

0
6.2%
4.383%

8%
8%
8%

0
8.1%
5.727%

9.4%
9.4%
9.4%

0
12.3%
8.7%

12%
12%
12%

0
18.1%
12.8%
0
-18.1%
-12.8%

14%
14%
14%
14%
14%
14%

Description
Basic-Load
Cases
DL+LL
1Yr
Operating
13
14
15
10Yr
Operating
16
17
18
100Yr
Standby
19*
20*
21*
100Yr
Survival
22*
23*
24*
25*
26*
27*

5
6
7
(161kn)
(161kn)
(1.0)
100%
100%
0
0
0
45.8 Knots Wind & 6.0% g Lateral & 8% g Vertical
(with 1.185 Height Factor 54.237 knots)
100%
100%
11.36%
0
6.2%
100%
100%
0
11.36%
0
100%
100%
8.03%
8.03%
4.383%
57.3 Knots Wind & 8.0% g Lateral & 9.4% g Vertical
(with 1.185 Height Factor 67.9 knots)
100%
100%
17.8%
0
8.1%
100%
100%
0
17.8%
0
100%
100%
12.6%
12.6%
5.727%
81.6 Knots Wind & 12.0% g Lateral & 12.0% g Vertical
(with 1.185 Height Factor 96.7 knots)
100%
100%
36.1%
0
12.3%
100%
100%
0
36.1%
0
100%
100%
25.5%
25.5%
8.7%
135.9 Knots Wind & 18.0% g Lateral & 14.% g Vertical
(with 1.185 Height Factor 161 knots)
0
0
100%
0
18.1%
0
0
0
100%
0
0
0
70.7%
70.7%
12.8%
0
0
100%
0
-18.1%
0
0
0
100%
0
0
0
70.7%
70.7%
-12.8%

Table-4 Rig Structural Analysis Loads Cases and Combinations


Note 1 (*) For Load Cases 19 to 27, a 1.33 stress increases is considered in the allowable
Note 2 Shape Coefficient for Wind Load is used by member by member method for the Primary Members with Cs=0.8 for
Pipes, 1.8 for Open AISC Sections, 2.0 for Built-up Sections
Wind Load for the Drilling Support Structure
The Drilling Support Structure is a large building similar to the quarters and process modules. It is mostly occupied by major
drilling equipment like mud tanks and processing system with wind walls on all the sides. The question arises, should it be
considered as the other platform modules and use API-RP2A or should API-Spec-4F be used strictly? A comprehensive
analysis study had been conducted with the following simple hand calculation and CFD analysis with wind simulation over
the support structure. The following dimensions are assumed H Height = 36 ft, L Length = 150.5 ft and W Width = 75 ft
Wind Load on Sub-Structure Using API-Spec-4F

EastExposedArea=Ae=36x150.5=5418sq.ft
NorthExposedArea=An=36x75=2700sq.ft
WindVelocityat33ftwith3secgustfactor=135.9knots
TheheightaboveMSL=165ft
Theheightfactor=1.185(approximated)
WindVelocityforCalculation=1.185x135.9=161knots
WindForceF(lb)=0.00338xV2xCsxA=87.66xCsxA
ForceontheEastSide(Face1)=87.66x0.8x5418=380.0kips(Compression)
ForceontheEastSide(Face4)=87.66x0.3x5418=142.5kips(Suction)
TotalEastSideWindLoad=522.44kips(Modelshows=1800kips)
ForceontheNorthSide(Face1)=87.66x0.8x2700=189.35kips(Compression)
ForceontheNorthSide(Face4)=87.66x0.3x2700=71.00kips(Suction)
TotalNorthSideWindLoad=260.0kips(modelshows=1000kips)

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Wind Load on Sub-Structure Using API-RP2A


According to Sections: 2.3.2 of API-RP2A, sustained wind speed should be used to compute global platform wind and gust
speed should be used for individual structural elements. In section 1.3.2, a sustained wind speed is defined as the average
speed of one minute or longer duration. For the GOM project, the one minute wind speed for the 100 years return hurricane is
116 knots

ShapeCoefficientforthesidesofthebuildingis1.5.
WindVelocityat33ftwith3secgustfactor=116.0knots
WindVelocityforCalculation=1.185x116.0=137.46knots
WindForceF(lb)=0.00338xV2xCsxA=63.87xCsxA
TotalForceontheEastSide=63.87x1.5x5418=519.0kips
TotalForceontheNorthSide=63.87x1.5x2700=258.67kips

Wind Load Calculation by CFD for the Support Structure


Wind load calculation was obtained based on the ANSYS CFD (Fluent Transient) Model. The drilling support structure was
modeled as a 2D box of 150 ft x 75 ft. A wind of 180 knots considered in the CFD simulation fluid domain. Longitudinal,
transverse and diagonal winds were considered in the model. The total forces on each face is obtained by summing the
pressure on each side and then multiplied by the height of 35 ft. The results of the velocity contour and the total forces on
each side is attached in the Figures 15-18. Since the wind velocity is 161 knots with 3 sec gust factor but the wind considered
is 180 knots, the following scale factor is used (161/180)^2 = 0.8 is used for the wind speed correction. Wind load on the
support structure has been calculated using API-Spec4F, API-RP2A, Ansys CFD analysis and Strucad Member by member
wind load. The following Table 5 gives summary of the total forces the four different methods.
Description

East Wind
North Wind
Diagonal

APISpec 4F
(kips)
522.4
260.0
553.24

APIRP2A
(kips)
519
258.67
550.0

Ansys
CFD
(kips)
1088
545
941

StruCad
Members by
Members
1800(kips)
1000 (kips)
1980 (kips)

Table-5 Comparison of Wind Loads on Drilling Support Structure


Summary of Wind Load Results on Drilling Support Structure
The Drilling Support Structure is considered herein in this document for wind load calculation based on API Spec 4F and
API-RP2A. Since the drilling support module is a large building separated from the drilling substructure by a large distance,
it could be governed by API-RP2A instead of API-Spec 4F. Spec 4F considers 3 sec gust factor where as RP2A considers 1
minute sustained wind. Spec 4F considers 1.1 shape factor and RP2A consider 1.5 shape factors. With all that into account
the Table 5 compared the wind loads with respect to the two major applicable codes from the same organization. Irrespective
of the different considerations, the total load on the building for each sides are very comparable. However, the load appeared
very low for such large building. In order to verify these two answers from these two major specs, a comprehensive CFD
analysis was performed using the ANSYS Fluent Model. A large flow domain of wind with 180 knots is created and in which
the building is modeled at the middle with 2D. The velocity flow simulation was obtained in the transient model and found
that the forces are 2.0 times larger than the calculated forces based on the API-RP2A and API-Spec4F. The above
demonstration clearly says that the API-Specs are well underestimating the wind loads though it uses a very high wind speed
criteria with 3 sec gust factors. According to the above CFD results, the shape coefficients are to be doubled. It is concluded
that the API spec forces are underestimating the wind speed on the support module building.

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Case1
150ft
2
Case1

75ft

Ydir

4
Xdir

Case3

Forces
(kN)

Side1

Side2

Side3

Side4

Xdir

1260

480

Ydir

1380

1650

Forces
(kN)

Side1

Side3

Side4

Xdir

585

990

Ydir

3575

2475

Forces
(kN)

Side1

Side3

Side4

Case2
Side2

Case2
Case3

Height=36ft
WindSpeed=180knots

Side2

Xdir

640

2930

Ydir

2765

1065

Figure - 15 ANSYS CFD Analysis Description of Three Cases & Results

Case1

Figure - 16 ANSYS CFD Analysis Flow Rersults for Case-1

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Case2

Figure - 17 ANSYS CFD Analysis Flow Rersults for Case-2

Case3

Figure - 18 ANSYS CFD Analysis Flow Rersults for Case-3

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Conclusion
The oil companies like to keep the drilling modules on the deepwater platform over 9000 ft due to the overall project cost
reduction. The weight and functionality should be efficient in order for them to have a feasible and safe drilling along with
the production solution. The drilling module with the skid system to cover the array of wells, is placed in the middle and the
production module, power module and the quarters are placed all around. The current paper has described the drilling rig
particularly for dry tree support floaters in the Gulf of Mexico harsh environment. An innovative drilling and supportive
structure has been presented in concept with the equipment, that has also been accommodated in the dry-tree supported semisubmersible platform. This paper discussed the safety, specification, design, and operation of the drilling rig, and explained
how this innovatively reduced the weight along with improving the performance.
Platform drilling rig capital cost range from 250-300 million dollars. Given that daily rates of renting drilling rigs from the
contractors go upwards of 600K per day on a multi-year contract, the initial capital costs of constructing and owning becomes
more cost effective. There are several new floaters for the GOM ultra deepwater in the future from 6000 ft -15000 ft. There
are also marginal fields in which drilling, production, and storage are combined. Combining a drilling and production
solution is very attractive to the oil companies particularly for deepwater and ultra deepwater. This paper has established a
solution for this problem with adequate technical input.
Acknowledgement
The authors thank Madhusuden Agrawal, ANSYS Inc., Houston, Texas, for his help in performing the CFD
analysis for this paper.
Reference
1.

Srinivasan, Nagan, et.al. Innovative Harh Environment Dry-Tree Support Semi-Submersible for Ultra Deepwater Application,
OMAE2009-80085.