As the water depth of hydrocarbon discoveries becomes deeper, the technological challenges related to the design of mooring systems increases. Changing from steel catenary mooring systems (CMS) to fibre rope taut mooring systems (TMS) has been accompanied by an immense focus on how to qualify and approve fibre rope material for use in a TMS. This involves items related to specifications for manufacturing, handling and testing fibre ropes, as well as calibration of safety factors to use in the design of TMSs. One consequence of moving to a TMS is that the anchors will have to take more uplift load than in a conventional CMS, which makes the anchors a more critical component of the mooring system than before. The types of anchor normally available to the designer of a TMS are pile anchors, suction anchors and various types of plate anchors. Anchors of all types are designed and installed in ever-deeper water, but the safety of the designed mooring systems varies with the design code adopted. There is thus an obvious need for an industry standard, a design code for each anchor type that is calibrated based on structural reliability analysis using the current experience and knowledge in the industry. This paper compares anchor design codes that use total safety factors (TSF) with the DNV design code that uses partial safety factors and failure consequence classes. Examples of design codes for station-keeping systems that adopt the TSF format are API RP2SK and (assumed herein) the ISO code, which is under development. The comparison demonstrates that use of the safety format adopted in the DNV code provides more flexibility and ensures a uniform safety level of all components in a mooring system than the TSF format. If all types of anchor were designed to the same safety level it would be possible to compare anchors without worrying about differences in safety. A typical approach for calibration of a design code is described.

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