A new riser concept is proposed by Subsea 7 for field development in deep and ultradeep waters: the Tethered Catenary Riser (TCR)-patent pending. The concept consists of a number of steel catenary risers (SCRs) supported by a subsurface buoy which is tethered down to sea-bed by means of a single pipe tendon and anchored by means of a suction pile; flexible jumpers are used to make the connection between the Floating production Unit (FPU) and the buoy. Umbilicals run without interruption from the FPU to their subsea end while being supported by the buoy.
The system has all the advantages of de-coupled riser arrangements: flexible jumpers effectively absorb platform motions, thereby the rigid risers and tendon have very small dynamic excitation. The system can be installed before FPU arrival on site, which improves the time before first oil. Analyses have shown that, with adequate geometry of the buoy, the latter is sufficient stable to induce acceptable tilt and twist when different arrangements of SCRs and flexible jumpers are installed, and under accidental scenarios during the in-place life.
The riser system is best designed for a number of risers between 4 and 8, in addition to a number of umbilicals, thus convenient for one or two drilling centers.
Results of the basic engineering work on the TCR clearly indicate that it is possible to have a robust design using presently qualified materials and technology. The components used in the TCR are all field proven as they are commonly used in existing riser systems.
As a result of installation studies, a method very similar to the one commonly used by Subea7 for Single Hybrid Risers (SHRs) has been selected for the buoy and tether system. Placement of rigid risers, jumpers and umbilicals is as done by Subsea 7 for the Buoy Supporting Risers (BSRs). This method is well adapted for installation by the new Subsea 7 flagship vessel Seven Borealis which is able to perform heavy lift and pipe laying.
The Tether Catenary Riser is a credible option for use in deep water developments all over the world. Since all the components, design methods and installation procedures are fully qualified and familiar to Subsea 7, the concept is cost effective and ready for project application.