The experience in the Brazilian offshore production systems is to adopt the traditional riser solution composed of unbonded flexible pipes at a free-hanging catenary configuration. In deep waters, the tendency has been to use different pipe length sections (normally two), each of them designed to resist typical loadings. At the bottom, pipe structure is dimensioned against external pressure, axial compression, bending and torsion, for example. The theoretical prediction of riser responses under the crescent combined loading conditions is a key issue at the TDP region. The potential failure modes are buckling of the armour tendons and also rupture of the high resistance tapes. Much effort has been done in order to have available, from the market, larger envelopes of certified methodologies and qualified products, applicable to the Brazilian ultra-deep scenarios. Since 2002, an extensive R&D Program has been conducted (i) to improve current design evaluation tools & criteria and (ii) to establish representative test procedures and scope, for prototype qualification against the potential failure modes associated with combined axial compression, bending and torsion, at the TDP regions of bottom riser sections in ultra-deep water depths. This paper describes the main steps of the R&D Program, as below: I. Improvement of computational tools to better represent the behavior of the tendons, II. Consolidation of a new strategy for structural analysis, under more realistic conditions, III. Issue of a more adequate set of pipe technical specifications, and IV. Review of both theoretical and experimental results obtained from Feasibility Technical Studies and offshore field tests, respectively. Some examples and results are showed to illustrate, step by step, the whole process covered by the cited Program. Finally, the authors document their main conclusions for further discussion.

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