The riser system is a vital component of deep water floating production installations. Field specific optimised solutions are generally required to obtain a technical solution fit for purpose and to secure an economic field development. In some cases, the riser system is a potential technology stopper preventing use of existing field proven floater/station keeping solutions for new applications. One such example is operation of large diameter steel catenary risers (SCR) from floating production units in harsh environmental conditions.

This study is focused on methodology for optimisation of riser systems by use of a mathematical optimisation scheme. An optimisation problem may formally be described as minimisation of a function in several variables (objective function) subjected to additional constraints. For the first time the general optimisation framework Optima is outlined allowing for use of standard riser analysis software for evaluation of objective function and constraints. Principles for selection of objective function and constraints are discussed for practical design applications with reference to design codes. Finally, an optimisation study of a steel riser for deep water and harsh environment is presented.

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