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Deepwater dry tree semis are here New deeproater floaters present opera- lors with improved motions and space ‘and construction savings. AUTHOR John Murray, FlooTEE, LUC s the oll and gas industry moves farther offshore into ultadeep water the need for drilling and production pladorms becomes more acute, The dry tee semisubmersible isan pplication of proven technologies. It offers small in-place motions, large open deck areas, dockside commissioning and minimum offshore hookup. The ability to install and commission topsides ata dockside location mitigates risks and significantly reduces the costs associated with mobilizing equipment install the topsides anl commission the system offshore. The structural compo- nents can be built at numerous shipyards worldwide, thus offering flexibility in resource capacity and delivery logistics. ‘The economic advantage The economic advantage of having direct vertical access into reservoirs from deep: water floaters is well known in the off shore oll and gas industry When a icture is suitable for direct access development, callows the op torto dill, complete and work over the ‘well directly from the same platform. Onboard drilling eliminates the require- ment to hire a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODL) for development driling and subsequent workover and allows more flexility in the drilling andl workover programs. This type of flexibil- ity im the development brings revenue on ssrean eaulier to defiay capital and oper- ating expenditures. ‘The difference in Toptensioned risers (TTRS) with dry trees allow direct vertical access to pro- duction wells. The main requirement for aafloater to support TTRs is low heave vswncondipinfo such that the yotion benween the hull and the riser i within the nits fof the tensioner while applying sulicient tension to the riser without overstressin The two traditional deepwater hull forms that support TTRs are the spar and the tensionleg platform (TLP). Design selec tion based on one ofthese floaters guided! by efferent crite Considerations include the operating. y of fabrication environment, aailab facilities and suitability the operator's development plan, Sometimes an oper tor's propensity toward a certain design ‘comes into the equation because of familiarity with the system and the infra srueture in place to manage delivery of a ‘ype. ion depths exceeding. 25 mm), present TLP designs have their ox challenges with tendon design and installation, These limitations left the sparas the sole candidate for pro duction above this depth, ‘The truss spar illustrated in Figure 1s characterized by’a hard tank containing. void tanks and variable ballast tanks, a tus section with a number of heave plates and a soft tank atthe keel to hold heavy fixed ballast The purpose of the heave plates is to provide added mass land damping, which gives the sp ‘eave natural period well above the range of wave enengy periods, thus avoid ing heave resonance conditions, ‘The overall length of the spar hulls usually imited to accommodate transport vessel size fit sto be transported by a heavy ves, Because of its length (raft), dhe spar has to be wetiowed hor zonally tothe installation ste and wp ‘ended before the tpsides can be insalled, ‘The dry tree semi alternative An innoxative deepwater floater design is rations ofthe spar and the functionality of a semisubmersible, To this end, loa TEC, a joint venture of Kepple Fels and J. Ray MeDermot, is pro _gressing solutions that involve semis fone tha has the Figure 1.A truss spar has been a tradi- tional deepwater option with heave plates to minimize platform heave at sea. (All _graphics courtesy of FloaTEC LLC) mersibles with heave plates. Two of these designs are illustrated in Figure 2. Both, dry tree semisubmersibles have similar design philosophies and feature a semi submersible hull and a tras section with heave plates supported beneath the hull, These designs follow the same byelrody- namie principles as the spar. The main difference in the two designs is the insta lations metho “The Truss Semi can have the wuss and heave plate section installed at the deployment site or near shore in a water depth sufficient to position the truss under the hull. Obviously this would require an installation vesel to handle the truss. The size and handling capacity of these vessels reqquited to position the ‘uss are relatively all compared to the September 2007 | ERP | 131 150 200 250 300 350 Period (sec) Figure 3, Heave responses vary among platform types. vessel size needed to it topsides mod- lules Therefore, they ean be procured from a large leet base, Alternatively, the truss section could be set on the sea bor tom and the semisubmersibie ballasted down over the uss to subsequendy pall ivup into the hull for conneetion. This ‘operation could be carried out without the aid of vessel to handle the truss Analysis of related operations verifis that 132 | ERP | September 2007, cither method provides a lowrisk mating. ‘The ESEMI Iisa sel installing version of the dry wee semisubmersble. This design retracts the single heave plate insalled dockside under is keel. The semisubmersible would be transported 10 the insiallasion ste with the plate retrneted. Once moored on site, the plate would be lensered into position and secured. This design would be particu How the dry tree semi works Thhe motion that as the greatest inf cence on whether dry wees can be used ‘on a floater is heave. Consequently the nize heave 2s the heave response of a conventional semisub- spar and a dry ree semisub- mensble. These cures, called the “response amplitude operators” (RACs) show the unit heave response per unit ‘wave amplitude asa function of period, The semisubmensbles’ response curves sare characterized by a smal rise at the lower periods. They fall roa near zero value called the “cancellation period, this case at approximately 12 seconds Above this period, the RAO increases steeply to a resonant response ata higher period. This cancellation period occurs where the hydrodynamic forces on the pontoons are practically equal to the Forces on the columns, and the heave response therefore tends 6 ero, Sinee the spar does not have a pontoo RAO does not show a cancellation, period. However, the spars response is very smal in the lower period range die rainlyto is deep draft The conventional semi has hanger RAO than the dry tee semi and cannot be used to support dy tees. To a certain extent, the magnitude of the heave RAO and fe cancellation period can be con wolled by designing the hull such that the hydrodynamic force interaction among the columns, pontoons and heave plate are kept toa mininnum along with the heave response, In order to illstrate this interaction, Figure 4 shows the forces ‘on traditional semisubmersible hull an the atached heave plate as well asthe stun of the two Forces, ‘Without the heave plate, the semis ‘mersible has a cancellation period of about 12 seconds. The RAO above this period is very high, and the res period fills within the wave enengy period, which causes lange heave response. When the heave plate is attached, the eancellatio period is increased to approximately 23 seconds, wnvcandpinfo “which is well above the range of wave ‘energy periods Figure 5 shows a comparison between the responses ofthe spar and a diy wee semisubmersible, These responses were ‘computed for a Gulf of Mexico storm ‘condition. ‘The comparison shows thatthe offiet, ofthe two vesel is approximately equal, ‘The dry tree semisubmersible, however, shows a larger heave range, though the value is within the acceptable limits. ‘There isa significant improvement of the ‘masimum heel angle and deck accelera- tion in the dry tree se pared to the spat: Mi ‘on the ovo are within 2 ft (61 m) of each ‘other, A comparison of these motions ‘demonstrates that TTR designs present used on spars ean be ported directly «0 the dry tree semisubmersible, Design advantages ‘The spar has a number of sacked decks because ofits single-coluinn form, whereas the semisubsmenible offers a large openleck area, These design traits translate into a number of operational advantages forthe semisubmersbl One advantage greater fleibity in the wellhay layout The spar hull strue- ture not conducive to any wellbay shape other than square, Howe dy tee semiubimensble can ly accommodate rectangular layouts, which reduces the span ofthe ski beans for a ig. Recucing the span rediues the spa hing structral weight and Towers the center of rai “Another advantage the semisub- mersible offers over the spar i loser accelerations atthe ding deck, The Tange deck area ofthe dy tee semisub- aersble accommodates equipment arrangements on a single evel. Ona spar, this equipment has to be installed on the thie deck. This alditionsal deck typically niches the dill oor ands reatvely higher above the center of graiy than that ofa dry wee emisubmersbe. The horizontal accelerations induced by pitch a this elevation ae larger om the spar than they are on the dy wee semi This ‘effect is evident inthe deck accelerations ‘compared in Figure 5. Asa rest, dling ‘operations can continue om the dry wee the 134 | ERP | September 2007 00 10.0 200 Period (sec) 300 400 500 Figure 4. A heave plate significantly subdues forces at work on a platform compared ‘with a semisubmersible without heave plates. 25.0 20.0 |. §Dry Tree Semi 45.0 | ™ Spar 10.0 5.0 0.0 Figure 5, Deck acceleration on a tall spar platform would force it to stop working in seas that a dry tree semisubmersible could handle semisubmersible in conditions that would normally suxpenel operations on a spat The obvious result is more drilling up- time on the semisubmersible. Faster delivery and commissioning. ‘The diy wee semisubmersible offers a ‘number of construction and delivery improvements over the spar design. ‘Thote improvements transtate into cost savings. Although itis impractieal to pro- vide a dewiled comparison of a delivery ‘model fora spar and dry tree semisub- rmersible, 2 comparison of the distri tion of durations for each major activity carvied out in a delivery demonstrates the relative advantages, These are illustrated graphically in Figure 6, The graph com> ppares the duration of each activity, indi- ‘ated asa percentage of the total time required to deliver each syste “The schedule assumes a topsides pay- load of approximately 20,000 tons, The ‘weight would require several offshore ‘modules lifts to install the topsides on a Spar: This payload is proportionate to a system with]6 toptensioned dry tee ris: rs including fall eiling capabil ‘equipment to handle a throughps about 100,000 boe /d. For simplicity, the wnvcandpinfo