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Water Fields

J.P. de Vries, J. van Drunen, R. van Dijk and R. Zoontjes, Heerema Marine Contractors

This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 25 May 2011.

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

Within the offshore industry Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) is known for the semi-submersible crane vessels able to

install offshore structures up to 14,000t. Over the last years HMC has also proven to be a leading player in the ultra deep

water construction market by setting world records on installation of heaviest structures at the greatest water depths using the

Deepwater Construction Vessel (DCV) Balder and Semi-Submersible Crane Vessel (SSCV) Thialf. The installed deepwater

subsea structures include flowlines completed with flowline end structures, manifolds and risers. Due to the large lift capacity

of the DCV Balder, Heerema Marine Contractors is ready to install these structures in deep water fields up to 3500m. For

deployment of structures multiple steel wire hoist arrangements such as the Balders deepwater crane hoist arrangement,

mooring line deployment winch or the support vessel hoist wire are available. Some typical examples of deepwater structure

installations performed are shown in figure 1 and 2.

Export Riser Base

700t in 305m water depth

Foundation Bottom Structure with Manifold

1,150t in 850m water depth

Because HMC is operating in deep and ultra deep water for more than 10 years, HMC is specialized in coping with the

challenges coming along with installing in frontier deep water. Figure 3 is showing the track record on weight of installed

subsea structures versus water depths.

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Deep

Water

2,500

Ultra Deep

Water

2,000

1,500

1,000

500

500

1,000

1,500

2,000

2,500

3,000

3,500

Figure 3: HMC track record showing the weight of the subsea structures versus installation water depth since 1996

The challenge of installing subsea structures within the acceptable installation limits increases in magnitude when installing

in deeper water. In deeper water the lowering system migrates from stiff to a softer system due to the reduced stiffness of the

hoist system together with the typically large added mass of the subsea structure. The reduction in stiffness is a result of the

increased length of the hoist wires. The natural frequencies of the lowering arrangement may in this case coincide with the

wave frequencies and vessel response frequencies resulting in unfavorable resonant behavior of the subsea structure. This

resonant behavior during heavy structure installation typically occurs in deep water. A relatively small vessel may amplify

the resonant response by its larger motions.

Numerical models should capture this dynamic behavior in order to accurately determine the operability limits of subsea

structure installation in deep water. A monitoring campaign was performed to confirm the applicability of these models and

the model input.

This paper describes the monitoring campaign on a typical example of a deep water lowering operation. Two suction piles

have been installed in 2700m water depth using a support vessel. The equipment set-up used to monitor the subsea behavior

of the suction piles and the monitoring results are presented. The monitoring results are compared with HMCs in-house

numerical models used for the dynamic analysis and workability predictions. The paper is concluded with a discussion on the

verification of the dynamic models.

The results of the offshore monitoring campaign show a good agreement with the numerical models. This yields to the

conclusion that dynamic analysis methods are able to accurately predict the motions and load fluctuations for structure

installation in deepwater, making it possible to optimally utilize the capacity of the equipment and the available weather

windows to perform the operation.

Introduction

When installing subsea structures the overall stiffness of a steel wire hoist system reduces with increasing water depth.

Combined with the usually large added mass of subsea structures, this results in a natural period of the lowering system

within the wave periods range. This typically occurs in deep and ultra deep water, for which the water depth is defined as

larger than 1,000ft (305m) and 5,000ft (1,524m) respectively. In figure 4 and 5 the wire stiffness and the system natural

period are plotted for increasing hoist wire length (i.e. installation water depth) for a 250t subsea structure lowered with a 3"

diameter steel wire.

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Tn / L

10

4000

Stiffness - k [kN/m]

k /L

5000

3000

2000

1000

500

Wire length - L [m ]

500

1000 1500

2000

Wire length - L [m ]

A soft lowering system could result in unfavourable resonant behavior of the subsea structure when the natural period of the

soft lowering system coincides with the vessel response periods of the installation vessel. The heave and pitch response

periods of small support vessels are typically in between 6 and 9 seconds. Resonance results in high dynamic loads in the

hoist arrangement and large motions of the suspended structure. High load fluctuations will be an issue in either case the

weight of the subsea structure is close to the maximum safe working limit of the hoist wire or the subsea structure is light and

high load fluctuations result in slack rigging.

Besides the large load fluctuations a lowering system in resonance will also show large structure heave motions. These large

motions may affect the installation as the subsea structure approaches the seabed. A summation of examples of how large

heave motions hinder subsea operations is listed below:

Damage to subsea structure due to high docking loads when for example a manifold is installed on top of a suction

anchor or a spool on a manifold;

Unfavourable soil disturbance when installing a suction pile or mud mat resulting in a reduced holding capacity;

Damage to remotely operated vehicle (ROV) or structure due to uncontrolled large motion of the structure when

docking the ROV to confirm and / or control position and orientation of the subsea structure.

In order to avoid unfavourable resonant behavior during offshore operations, the dynamics of the lowering system should be

assessed and the installation workability evaluated for critical deepwater installations. It is standard practice within HMC to

perform these detailed dynamic lowering analyses for deepwater installations in the project preparation phase. The analysis

should confirm installability of the structure at the prescribed water depth in the occurring environmental conditions.

If resonant behavior is expected to occur measures could be taken to improve installability. Some examples of measures

widely adopted in the offshore industry are listed below:

Use of active or passive heave compensation;

Reduce the allowable weather conditions for the operations (reducing operability);

Change properties of hoist arrangement (e.g. reeving of hoist arrangement, diameter or material of hoist wire);

Consider optimized installation vessel (better motion characteristics for a particular area);

Change design of subsea structure.

If the dynamic behavior can be accurately predicted, the necessity to apply conservative assumptions is eliminated. This may

result in the above measures being scaled back or eliminated, which is a cost saving.

In addition to performing dynamic analysis, verification is required to confirm applicability and reliability of the models for

the installation at hand. HMC conducted a full scale deepwater lowering monitoring campaign to verify the in-house

numerical models.

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In the past effort has been put in obtaining confirmation on system dynamics of subsea structures like suction piles. Besides

the dynamic behavior, the hydrodynamic properties were investigated in detail and in particular the added mass and damping.

The methods used to investigate the dynamics of the lowering system were scale model basin tests and Computation Fluid

Dynamics (CFD) analyses.

Roe et al. and Ireland et al. have performed model test series to obtain added mass and damping of a suction can in mid-water

[1] and in close proximity of sea bottom [2] conditions. The influence of motion amplitude and period on the heave added

mass and damping of the suction pile for various hatch openings was investigated. The results have been verified and

confirmed with CFD analysis performed by Zoontjes et al. [3].

Both scale model test series and CFD analyses proved to be an effective method to determine the hydrodynamic properties

such as added mass and damping. However, both methods have their limitations:

In scale model tests the dimensionless hydrodynamic properties of the structure are determined. These

dimensionless hydrodynamic properties can be scaled up to full scale dimensions. The results from scale model tests

are subject to discussion due to the scaling effects in the modeled fluid pattern.

CFD analyses.

In case CFD analyses are conducted to determine the hydrodynamic properties extensive validation is required.

Before the hydrodynamic properties of similar structures can be approximated, the CFD results have to be tuned for

a base structure.

Full scale measurements are suitable to complement the limitations of CFD analyses and scale model tests. However,

conducting full scale tests has its own limitations and is not always successful. The following conditions make executing full

scale measurements a challenge:

Measurements on real time structure installation greatly reduce the number of test opportunities and requires careful

planning.

The possibility to assess the behavior of the hoist wire is one of the opportunities a full scale monitoring campaign on a

subsea structure installation offers. The following dynamic wire behavior or properties are of specific interest:

Wire stiffness;

Various recommended practices from well-established class societies are available to determine the quasi-static

stiffness of a steel hoist wire. The scatter on the approximated stiffness is large. On top of this the strand

construction of the wire affects the wire stiffness. Furthermore, it is well known within the industry that the dynamic

stiffness of hoist wire differs from the quasi-static stiffness [4].

Weight distribution;

The weight of the hoist wire needs to be properly distributed over its length in the numerical model. Proper weight

modeling is required, because the weight of the steel wire hoist arrangement is in the order of magnitude of the

structure weight.

Wire damping.

The wire damping is present and the contribution to the system damping can be assessed. In the numerical models

the wire damping is usually lumped to the structure damping.

Note that in the scale model basin tests the hoist wire was modeled by a spring with prescribed stiffness. An offshore

monitoring campaign offers the opportunity to confirm the dynamic wire properties for various motion responses.

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Theory

The heave response of the lowering system can be decoupled from the other motions and described with Newtons 2nd law of

motion:

..

(m + m A ) x = Fexternal = F cos t b x kx

In which:

m

=

=

mA

Fexternal =

F

=

=

b

=

k

=

(1)

Added mass of the suction pile

External force

Amplitude of oscillation force on the suction pile

Angular frequency of the force on the suction pile

Damping coefficient of the suction pile

Spring stiffness of the hoist wire

The heave response is characterized by the spring stiffness of the hoist wire (k), the natural angular frequency of the heave

response (n) and the linear damping ratio (BE).

k=

EA

Lwire

n =

BE =

(2a)

k

m + mA

(2b)

b

2 k (m + mA )

In which:

E

=

A

=

=

Lwire

(2c)

Effective hoist wire cross section area

Length of the hoist wire

None off the characteristics defined in equation 2 can be determined accurately without performing either scale model tests,

CFD analyses or full scale measurements. The damping coefficient and the added mass are dependent on the shape of the

structure and the motion response of the structure. While the hoist wire stiffness depends on the wire properties and the

dynamic loading condition of the hoist wire. Following the approach of Roe [1] and Zoontjes [3] the added mass is expressed

in the non-dimensional coefficient (CA) with the equation:

CA =

mA

D 2 H

1

4

In which:

=

D

=

H

=

(3)

Density of seawater

Diameter of the suction pile

Height of the suction pile

In the scale model tests [1] and [2] and the CFD analysis [3], the modeled excitation force on the lowering arrangement are

predetermined. The amplitude and frequency of excitation force are preset and the motion of the suction pile model was

simulated. From the simulated motion the hydrodynamic properties were approximated.

In the full scale measurements the excitation force is induced by the support vessel motions. Because the vessel was exposed

to a real wave environment, the vessel motion response is a motion spectrum. This motion spectrum is a summation of

harmonic motions with a range of amplitudes and frequencies. The behavior of the dynamic system is captured in the

schematic overview in figure 6. The schematic overview shows the complete dynamic system from sea-states, support vessel

motions to subsea structure response.

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Cross Coupling

Sxx

Syy

RAO: waves

Vessel crane tip

Wave

Spectrum

^2

tip

structure

^2

Structure

Response

Figure 6: Schematic overview of the frequency domain dynamics of the lowering system

The motion response of the subsea structure is initiated by the response of the support vessel in waves. However, the support

vessel is also affected by the dynamic behavior of the suction pile. This is called cross-coupling. Cross-coupling could have a

positive effect on the operability of the installation. Subsea structures may act like a heave plate reducing the vessel motions.

The reduction in vessel motions again will reduce the motions of the subsea structure.

For the in-house approximation of operability limits and workability assessments the complete dynamic system of figure 6

will be considered. The wave environment affects the motions of the support vessel, which on her turn excites the subsea

structure through the hoist wire. For the occurring sea-states the predicted subsea structure responses are compared with the

allowable. The workability can be expressed as the percentage of occurring sea-states in which the dynamic structure

response is within the allowable response limits.

To perform the operability assessments HMC developed the in-house software LiftDyn. LiftDyn is a multi-body frequency

domain analysis computer program able to compute the dynamic response characteristics of lift systems involving a large

number of rigid bodies.

The LiftDyn model considers the frequency dependent hydrodynamic properties of the installation vessel, the hydrodynamic

properties of the subsea structure and the stiffness and mass properties of the hoisting system. Figure 7 shows the graphical

representation of the models of a subsea structure installation using a support vessel and crane vessel.

Figure 7a: Support vessel installing 60t suction pile

structure

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The dynamic behavior of the vessel in seas is not covered in this paper and is considered to be given fact. The structure

response is isolated from the vessel response by determining the response amplitude operator (RAO) between the support

vessel stern or crane tip and the submerged structure (equation 4). A schematic overview of the responses and RAOs of the

lowering system is shown in figure 6.

The RAO of the hoist wire between the structure and the support vessel stern is determined with the following equation:

RAO =

Syy

Sxx

(4)

In which:

Syy = Output spectrum, suction pile response spectrum or winch force response spectrum

Sxx = Input spectrum, support vessel response spectrum

Early 2009 the DCV Balder installed two 16"/12" pipe-in-pipe flow lines at approximately 2700m. Prior to flowline

installation two suction piles were installed to act as pipeline initiation anchors. These suction piles were installed with a

support vessel and a monitoring campaign was performed on their installation. The performed monitoring campaign on this

deepwater installation consisted of measuring the motions of the suction pile and the support vessel. Also the load

fluctuations in the hoist wire were measured. Figure 8 shows the suction pile on support vessel deck.

The full scale monitoring campaign focuses on the dynamic behavior of the lowering arrangement in agreement with the

approach of scale model tests [2] and [3] and the CFD analysis [4]. The results of the offshore monitoring campaign cannot

directly be compared with the results of the studies performed by Roe and Zoontjes. The diameter-height ratio (D/H) of the

offshore installed suction pile is approximately 5 times smaller than the suction can studied by Roe and Zoontjes. However,

an approach similar to Zoontjes was used to estimate the hydrodynamic properties of the the suction pile.

The lowering system is expected to behave as a damped mass spring system. The properties dominating the dynamics of the

lowering arrangement are:

(Dry) weight of structure;

Hydrodynamic properties of structure; added mass and damping;

Stiffness of hoist arrangement.

Approximation of in particular the hydrodynamic properties of a subsea structure can be a challenge and often requires use of

model tests and CFD analyses. It even becomes more challenging for more complex shaped structures. Therefore the

lowering of the suction pile was selected to verify the analysis method due to the relatively simple shape of the suction pile

and availability of reference data based on model tests and CFD analyses.

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In addition to the already available reference data, dedicated CFD analyses were performed for the pipeline initiation piles.

Figure 9 and 10 show graphical output from these CFD analyses. Figure 9 show the modeled geometry of the initiation

suction pile and figure 10 the flow patterns as a result of the heaving suction pile.

The suction pile dimensions of the full scale monitoring campaign and dedicated CFD analysis are listed in table 1.

Notation

Unit

CFD

analysis

Full scale

monitoring

Dry weight

[t]

60

60

Diameter

[m]

3.8

3.8

Height

[m]

18.0

18.0

[m ]

11.3

11.3

D/H

[-]

0.21

0.21

[%]

0.0 - 8.0

8.0

Description

Top Area

Diameter / Height ratio

Perforation

Table 1: Dimensions of the studied suction pile

Figure 11 shows the results of the in-house CFD analyses conducted to approximate the hydrodynamic properties of the

suction pile for different oscillating motion amplitudes. The amplitudes are expressed in the Keulegan Carpenter (KC)

number following the approach of Roe and Zoontjes:

KC =

c

R

In which:

c

=

R

=

(5)

Amplitude of motion

Radius of the suction pile

Figure 11 show that the added mass coefficient (CA) increases for increasing KC number and the added mass coefficient

decreases for larger perforations in the top cover. The perforation of the installed suction pile is 8%. The linear damping ratio

(BE) is constant 14% for varying KC numbers, as can be seen in figure 11.

Note that a comparison CFD analysis for various oscillation periods showed that the oscillation period does not affect the

added mass and damping properties for the considered suction pile.

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1.2

C 0% perf

A

CA [-]

CA 4% perf

CA 8% perf

0.8

Trend 0% perf

Trend 4% perf

Trend 8% perf

0.6

0.4

0

0.5

1.5

KC [-]

2.5

0.2

B 0% perf

E

BE [-]

0.15

BE 4% perf

B 8% perf

0.1

Trend 0% perf

Trend 4% perf

0.05

Trend 8% perf

0

0.5

1.5

KC [-]

2.5

Figure 11: Simulation results with corresponding linear trend lines for perforations 0%, 4% and 8%

Methodology

The suction pile dynamic behavior has been monitored during installation of the suction pile. At various water depths the

suction pile lowering was stopped. To evaluate the response of the structure two approaches were available:

1.

In calm water the support vessel would hardly move and as a result the structure dynamic response would be small.

For these conditions the decaying heave motion of the structure as a result of the firm stop would be assessed.

2.

If seas were present and the support vessel would exhibit significant motions, the subsea structure would show a

dynamic motion response. A spectral analysis would be performed to assess the dynamic behavior of the subsea

structure.

The suction pile was kept stationary every 1000m starting at 500m until the suction pile reached installation depth of 2700m.

In the stationary condition the motions of support vessel and suction pile as well as the forces in the hoist wire were logged.

The minimum duration of the stationary condition was at least 100 free oscillations of the suction pile. This is 100 times the

approximated natural period of the structure in agreement with equation (2b). Frequency domain analysis of time series of at

least 100 cycles is considered sufficient to provide reliable RAOs.

A time trace was composed from the logged motion and force data. A Fourier transformation has been performed to obtain

the motion response spectra of the support vessel and suction pile motions. The same transformation has been performed for

the forces logged in the wire. By dividing the motion and force response function of the suction pile by the support vessel

response spectrum the transfer function or RAO is determined in agreement with equation (4) and figure 6.

The transfer function of the lowering arrangement obtained from the monitoring campaign was compared with the transfer

function from the HMC in-house software LiftDyn. If necessary the (hydro-) dynamic properties were tuned to fit the

theoretical transfer function from LiftDyn with the measured transfer function from the monitoring campaign.

Equipment set-up

Monitoring equipment was installed on board the support vessel to capture the motions of the support vessel in combination

with the motion and force of the lowering system. The monitoring equipment set-up is shown in figure 12. The following

monitoring equipment was used:

Motion Reference Unit (MRU)

The motion reference unit has been installed on board the support vessel to measure the support vessel motions. The

MRU was interfaced with a PC to store the logged data.

10

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Winch logging

The support vessel winch containing the hoist wire is interfaced to an operator screen to read-out the load in the wire

at the winch and the paid out wire length. An extra interface was installed to store the read-out data on a PC.

Accelerometer

On top of the suction pile cover an accelerometer measured the accelerations of the suction pile. The accelerations of

the suction pile were logged and stored on a memory card in the accelerometer. After the suction pile installation

was completed the accelerometer was recovered to surface with the ROV to read-out the data. The motions of the

suction pile are determined by post-processing the logged accelerations.

Winch logging

Accelerometer

MRU

Results

The monitoring stages were performed at 500m, 1500m, 2500m and 2700m water depth. Figure 13 and 14 show the motion

and force transfer function of the lowering arrangement for the listed water depths. The graphs show the transfer function

from the support vessel motions to the suction pile motion and the transfer function from the support vessel to the force in the

wire. Both transfer functions are describing the same dynamic behavior of the lowering arrangement. As discussed the graph

does not represent the dynamic behavior of the support vessel. The lowering system response is isolated from the vessel

motions following the method of equation 4 and shown in figure 6.

The thin smoothed lines are the transfer function determined with in-house software LiftDyn. The thicker lines are the results

of the offshore monitoring campaign. The monitoring results show a good agreement with the numerical model results after

minor tuning of the wire stiffness and the hydrodynamic properties of the suction pile.

The natural frequencies of the lowering arrangement are visible as peaks in the graphs. The frequency of a peak is dominated

by the inertia - i.e. dry mass together with the added mass - of the suction pile and the stiffness of the hoist wire.

The peak height of the motion RAO is governed by the damping on the system. The damping is assumed to be linear with the

suction pile velocity. The linear damping ratio is kept constant in the numerical model for the different water depths in

compliance with the CFD results as shown in figure 11. As the critical damping is proportional with the square root of spring

stiffness, this means the linear damping term reduces with increasing water depth, see equation 2c. The constant linear

damping ratio results in equal peak heights for the different monitoring water depths, see figure 13.

The peak height of the force RAO increases with decreasing water depth as shown in figure 14. The explanation for this is

that a larger force is required to stretch a shorter wire with a unit extension.

11

RAO [m / m]

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500m

1500m

2500m

2700m

500m OMC

1500m OMC

2500m OMC

2700m OMC

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

w [rad/s]

RAO [t / m ]

Figure 13: Transfer function or RAO of the support vessel heave motion to the suction pile motions

500m

1500m

2500m

2700m

500m OMC

1500m OMC

2500m OMC

2700m OMC

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

w [rad/s]

Figure 14: Transfer function or RAO of the support vessel heave motion to the force in the hoist wire

Tuning was performed by systematically changing the hydrodynamic properties until the numerical model results fitted the

results of the monitoring campaign. The tuned (hydro-) dynamic properties together with the properties from the CFD

analysis are listed in table 2.

Notation

Unit

CFD

analysis

Full scale

monitoring 1)

[kN/m]

not applicable

800 - 148 2)

heave

CA

[-]

0.58 - 0.96 3)

0.96

BE

[-]

0.14

Description

Hoist stiffness

1)

2)

3)

4)

The stiffnesses cover the water depth ranging between 500m and 2700m.

The approximated added mass coefficients for KC number between 0.0 and 3.0.

The linear damping ratio includes hoist wire damping

0.16

4)

12

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Tuning of the hydrodynamic properties of the numerical models was within the expected range:

Added mass

The CFD analysis showed a range of the dimensionless suction pile added mass coefficients between 0.58 and 0.96

depending on the motion amplitude for KC numbers up to 3.0. The added mass coefficient of the suction pile

derived from the full scale monitoring campaign proved to be 0.96 -, which is within the range of the results of the

CFD analysis.

In-house CFD calculation approximated the linear damping ratio for only the suction pile at 14%. After processing

and tuning the offshore measurements, the linear damping ratio of the actual suction pile including the wire damping

was proven to be 16%. The inclusion of the wire damping to the total damping could explain this difference.

Wire stiffness

The wire stiffness used in the numerical model before tuning was deviating from the stiffness obtained from the full

scale monitoring campaign. The stiffness obtained from the monitoring campaign is outside the range of the

stiffnesses approximated with recommended practices from various class societies.

The difference between the theoretical stiffness and the measured stiffness could be a result of the type of strand

construction of the support vessel wire or the difference in static stiffness versus the dynamic stiffness. More

measurement campaigns are required to confirm the stiffness of hoist wires during various loading conditions.

Discussion

The monitoring campaign and comparison with the numerical models results in the following observations:

1.

The monitoring set-up and methodology provided a uniform method to confirm the dynamic behavior of the

lowering system. The method is independent of the vessel performing the installation.

2.

The results of the monitoring campaign gave good insight in the applicability of various methods to derive

hydrodynamic properties. After tuning, numerical models showed a good agreement with the results of the

monitoring campaign.

3.

The tuned hydrodynamic properties are close to the approximated values with the CFD calculations.

The listed observations confirm that the motions of the subsea structure together with force in the wire can be accurately

predicted with the numerical software LiftDyn providing the input is accurate. The referred model input which is required to

be accurate is listed below:

The subsea structure is excitated by the support vessel. Therefore accurate prediction of the vessel response is vital.

HMC has standard databases for all its installation vessels, based on diffraction analysis and damping derived from

model tests. Theses databases are verified by offshore measurements.

The relevant hydrodynamic properties of the lowering system are the added mass and damping of the subsea

structure combined with the stiffness of the wire.

Different available methods to approximate the (hydro-) dynamic properties of subsea structures provide a range of properties

in general. In order to cover the real behavior a sensitivity study for the approximated range of system properties need to be

performed. The range of (hydro-) dynamic properties depends on:

Availability of scale model test data and or CFD results;

Availability of full scale measurement data of identical or comparable structures;

Avaible data on stiffness of hoist wires

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13

The installabililty of the subsea structure needs to be proven for the full range of dynamic properties. By regularly performing

full scale measurements HMC is building a (hydro-) dynamic database for various structures. Use of this dataset will narrow

the range of input data resulting in the most cost efficient installation method for future installations.

For small structures, the use of (passive) heave compensation may be a solution. For heavy structures the installability can be

improved by using a semi-submersible type of installation vessel for critical subsea installation. HMCs - high lift capacity crane vessels show small motions in various wave environments. These small motions keep the excitation forces on the

subsea structure small. This ensures a safe installation of subsea structures within provided installation criteria.

Follow-up activities

HMC has performed and will continue performing full scale monitoring campaign on a variety of structures and lowering

arrangements. The main objective of these monitoring campaigns will be gathering data regarding and confirming the

dynamic system properties. The main areas of interest are:

Added mass and damping for more complex structures to be used for validation of future CFD analyses;

Confirmation of dynamic stiffness of hoist wire arrangements for a range of loading periods and motion amplitudes;

Dynamic behavior and efficiency of active and passive heave compensation systems.

Currently, HMC performs a extensive monitoring campaign on the HMC subsea structure installation scope offshore West

Africa in 2000m water depth. Nylon ropes are incorporated in the support vessel rigging arrangement to act as a passive

heave compensator. The principle of using nylon rope is a reduction of the stiffness of the hoist arrangement to improve the

dynamic behaviour. The obtained monitoring results will be used to confirm the dynamic properties of the nylon rope and

prove the efficiency of the rigging for future projects.

Conclusion

One of the most critical phases of the deepwater structure installation is encountered when the subsea structure is in close

proximity of the seabed. The position and orientation need to be confirmed before landing the structure on the seabed. In

general the subsea structure will be stationary at this depth for longer durations. Large motions in this phase are not permitted

for various reasons.

The offshore monitoring campaign conducted by HMC confirmed the applicability of numerical models for deepwater

structure installation. Numerical models proved to be able to accurately model subsea dynamic behavior of the lowering

system for this stationary condition. With the numerical software LiftDyn, HMC is able to analyze the structure motions and

confirm the installability of the subsea structure in deepwater within the operational limits.

In difficult circumstances HMC is able to fine-tune the installation using lift simulation in combination with CFD analysis to

arrive at a safe and effective procedure. The effect of the predicted improvements can be confirmed and documented in

procedures, backed up by experience from the monitoring campaigns. Tuning measures range from selecting more suitable

vessels, such as semi-submersible crane vessel as installation vessel to usage of active or passive heave compensators.

Analysis will be performed to ensure installation in compliance with the clients need to land the critical structures safe and

undamaged on the sea bottom.

14

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References

[1]

Investigation into the Sensitivity of the Dynamic Hook load during Subsea Deployment of a Suction Can

OMAE2007-29244

[2]

Heave Added Mass and Damping of a Suction Can in proximity to the Sea Floor

OMAE2008-57559

[3]

Using CFD to Determine Heave Added Mass and Damping of a Suction Pile

OMAE2009-79373

[4]

Simple determination of the axial stiffness for large diameter independent wire rope core or fibre core wire ropes

Civil and Building Engineering Department, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

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