Delivering full service life performance for mooring systems of Floating Production Storage & Offloading assets (FPSO) has been a frustrating challenge to operators across the industry.
Remaining strength and fatigue assessment on degraded top mooring chains of the Bonga FPSO and Single Point Mooring (SPM) loading Buoy has been investigated as part of an in-house Bonga Asset Preservation Program. Both facilities are located approximately 120 km off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea operating in tropical waters just North of the Equator, where top chain links have been subjected to accelerated deterioration from Sun Corals and other forms of Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC). These phenomena have led to overall corrosion rates being slightly above general design requirements, but more importantly to formations of large pitting on several sections of the top chain links.
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) assisted inspections, chain link cleaning and underwater 3D photogrammetry have allowed capturing the surface geometry of representative degraded chain links of the mooring lines to provide detailed input data for further analyses.
Reverse engineering has been performed via Finite Element Analysis and fracture mechanics methodologies using the scanned geometry of selected highly exposed critical links to estimate the residual strength and fatigue life performance of the degraded links relative to their original design criteria.
To evaluate the potential impact of cracks on the capacity of degraded chains relative to a reference link, crack tip Stress Intensity Factors have been computed at worst case stress-raising pits and parametric analyses using varying initial crack sizes have been performed to calculate the number of years for the cracks to propagate to critical sizes.
A baseline for benchmarking the strength, fatigue and crack growth behaviour of the degraded links investigated has been provided by analysing non-degraded and uniformly corroded links after 12 years of service with projection to end of service life capacity.
The paper provides a comprehensive application of numerical methods for assessing the fitness-for-service of the chains and recommendations on in-situ performance integrity management by circumventing the need to retrieve chain samples for testing.