One of the widely used systems for offshore oil production in water depths up to 500–2500 meters is a steel catenary riser (SCR). Requirements for long-term corrosion resistance of SCR are very stringent, that obliges to manufacture it from expensive steels. Still, the increased water depth leads to increased riser tension, grown pressure, aggravated buckling and oscillation problems. Among alternative materials to manufacture catenary risers, i.e., steel, titanium and aluminum alloys, the aluminum is the best from the “Strength/Weight/Cost” aspects with its high corrosion strength.
Design of an aluminum catenary production riser (ACPR) was developed in Russia; and comprehensive tests were performed on mechanical characteristics and corrosion resistance properties of ACPR tubes and their connections. Two possible connections of riser sections were considered, i.e., welded and threaded. Strength analysis of threaded connection was performed by FEM.
Mechanical testing included: testing of small samples of pipe material and welded connection cut out of riser section, testing of full-scale specimens of connection prototypes, and measurement of residual stresses. Structural and corrosion tests of samples consist of investigation of standard metallographic characteristics of pipe material and welded connection, and assessment of effects of different types of corrosion in seawater and oil fluid. The results of performed work have led to the conclusion that welded connection is most prospective for ACPR manufacturing. At the same time, the testing revealed certain improvements need to be done in the course of further work on this project.