Deepwater risers are complex dynamic structures subject to extreme events in the Gulf of Mexico such as hurricanes and high currents. The offshore industry in the Gulf of Mexico is aggressively moving into the ultra deep and developing challenging fields with high pressure, high temperature conditions and corrosive production fluids. Floating production vessels such as semi-submersibles and FPSOs are being selected for these developments and these vessels typically have higher motions than Spars and TLPs used to date. Consequently, the risers become increasingly challenging to engineer and design margins can be significantly reduced. Uncertainties in design basis data, actual response in the field, and component degradation with time can be effectively managed by monitoring the performance of the riser system in service through direct structural monitoring on the riser in conjunction with vessel and environmental monitoring. Such a system forms an integral part of the integrity management program and can allow anomalies to be identified ahead of time to prevent catastrophic riser failure. This paper puts forward the benefits of riser performance monitoring and describes system based architectures for various development scenarios utilizing dry tree vertical top tensioned risers, wet trees with SCRs, and wet trees with free-standing risers.

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