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Subsea Wellhead System Design for Fatigue Performance

F. Justin Rodriguez 11 March 2015

11 March 2015 Subsea Drilling Services


Introduction to Fatigue
Mechanics of the failure
Dislocations accumulate near
surface stress concentrations
Generates stress risers where
cracks initiate
Cracks join together and begin to
propagate through material
Crack propagates to critical point
when part can no longer sustain Source: http://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S092150931001049X-gr4.jpg

load

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Introduction to Fatigue
Wellhead System Loading
Loads generated due to:
Waves (vessel motion & offset)
Currents along water column
Vortex-Induced Vibration (VIV)
Loads cyclic in nature
Transferred to wellhead system
through riser

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Fatigue Analysis Process

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Riser Analysis Analysis Methodology


Input

Input: Geometry Input: Rig, Weather Data Input: Industry Code or Internal Specification
Owner: Equipment Manufacturer Owner: Operator or Equipment Manufacturer Owner: Operator

Component Stress Response Cyclic Load Profile Calculation Methodology

Fatigue Damage Calculation


Owner: Equipment Manufacturer / Operator
Output

Accumulated Fatigue Damage

Fatigue Life

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Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
Global model determines overall load transfer
characteristics of the system

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Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
Sub models determine local stress
response at each critical feature in
the system

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Fatigue Analysis Process

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Riser Analysis Analysis Methodology


Input

Input: Geometry Input: Rig, Weather Data Input: Industry Code or Internal Specification
Owner: Equipment Manufacturer Owner: Operator or Equipment Manufacturer Owner: Operator

Component Stress Response Cyclic Load Profile Calculation Methodology

Fatigue Damage Calculation


Owner: Equipment Manufacturer / Operator
Output

Accumulated Fatigue Damage

Fatigue Life

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Analysis Methodology
Methods of Fatigue Assessment
Stress-Life Approach (S-N Approach)
Based on empirical material data
Calculates accumulated damage due to cyclic loading
Predicts life based on number of cycles to failure
Heavily impacted by geometry optimization
Fracture Mechanics approach
Calculates crack growth in material due to cyclic loading
Assumes initial flaw size
Less sensitive to geometry optimization

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Analysis Methodology

Purpose of the analysis to determine the number of cycles in a


given stress state a piece of material can endure before failure
is predicted to occur
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Analysis Methodology

Accumulated damage
Stress response raised to m-power
m is an empirical constant
Ranges from ~3 to 5
Small changes in stress response lead to large effects
on the accumulated damage

1

1 1

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Example: Design for Fatigue Performance

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Design for Fatigue Performance
Example:
Geometry transitions are
stress concentrations
Cause increased stress
response
Sharp features are worst

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Design for Fatigue Performance
Stress vs. Load

Decreasing the slope of the stress vs. load line is the goal

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Design for Fatigue Performance

Stress vs. Load

=1.00*L

=0.65*L

Radius = X Radius = 60X


A small decrease in stress response can
have a substantial effect on the fatigue life

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Design for Fatigue Performance
Final Outcome:
Fatigue life increased by factor
of 5 to 8 depending on other
assumptions
No impact on function of the
system
Geometry modification is the
only way to improve fatigue life
of the wellhead system without
potentially impacting other
areas of operation

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Conclusions

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Fatigue Analysis Process

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Riser Analysis Analysis Methodology


Input

Input: Geometry Input: Rig, Weather Data Input: Industry Code or Internal Specification
Owner: Equipment Manufacturer Owner: Operator or Equipment Manufacturer Owner: Operator

Component Stress Response Cyclic Load Profile Calculation Methodology

Geometry Modification: Interpretation of ocean data: Modification of methodology:


- Optimization of wellhead Fatigue Damage
- Reduction Calculation
of conservatism - Modification of material
Owner: Equipment Manufacturer / Operator
system geometry - Tightening of watch circles characteristics assumptions
Output

- No impact to operations - Restriction of operational


envelopes
Accumulated Fatigue Damage

Improves fatigue Does not actually improve Does not actually improve
performance of the wellhead the fatigue performance of the performance of the
system in reality the wellhead system wellhead system
Fatigue Life

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