Nowadays, coupled analysis tools that allow the simultaneous modelling of the hydrodynamic behaviour of the hull and the structural behaviour of the lines of floating production platforms have been increasingly used.
The use of such tools is gradually allowing the introduction of some feedback between the design of risers and mooring systems. In the current practice, that comprises the so-called “hybrid” methodologies, mooring designers have been using these tools to consider the influence of the risers on the platform motions. On the other hand, riser designers can use motions that result from coupled simulations for the analysis of each riser. Such integration is already being implemented in the design practice of Petrobras; however, elsewhere the design of risers and mooring systems may still be performed separately, by different teams, therefore not fully exploiting the benefits that the coupled analysis tools can provide.
In this context, this work describes an innovative, fully integrated methodology for the design of mooring systems and risers of floating production systems (FPS). This methodology considers different design stages (from preliminary to advanced), integrating the design activities of mooring lines and risers in a single spiral, allowing gains in efficiency and cost reduction. The initial design stages already include a feedback between riser and mooring analyses. The integrity of the risers can be considered in the mooring design by determining their safe operational zones, and therefore, mooring line pretensions can be modified to improve its structural performance. Then, in advanced stages critical design cases for both mooring and risers systems can be identified and rigorously verified by using fully coupled models.
The application of the proposed methodology is illustrated with a case study of a typical FPS, representative of the platforms that have been recently considered for deepwater applications.
It should be stressed that the methodology described here does not reflect the current design practice of Petrobras. Presently it is merely a proposal that is being studied and assessed; this work comprises the first draft of the methodology, which will be enhanced and consolidated as the result of current and future studies.