Design of steel catenary risers (SCRs) requires the use of connection hardware to decouple the large bending moments induced by the host floater at the hang-off location. Reliability of this connection hardware is imperative, especially in those applications involving high pressure and temperature fluids. One option for connection hardware is the metallic tapered stress joint. Because of its inherent density, strength and stiffness, steel is not well suited for these applications as it would result it excessive length and weight for deepwater applications. Titanium grade 29 (Ti 29) has been identified as an attractive material candidate for demanding stress joint applications due to its unique mechanical properties including greater flexibility, excellent fatigue performance, and high resistance to sour fluids. Industry has successfully used this technology in over 60 SCR applications.
Titanium stress joints (TSJs) for deep-water applications are typically not fabricated as a single piece due to titanium ingot/billet volume limitations, thus making an intermediate girth weld necessary to satisfy length requirements. Fracture and fatigue performance of these welds in the presence of cathodic potential in seawater and galvanic potentials in sour production fluids that may produce hydrogen embrittlement effects must be assessed to ensure long term weld integrity. This paper describes a joint industry project (JIP) performed to qualify titanium stress joints welds for ultra-deep water applications under harsh service and environmental conditions. Fatigue crack growth rate (FCGR) results for Ti 29 1G/PA gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) specimens in air, seawater under cathodic potential and sour brine environments under galvanic potentials are presented and compared to vendor recommended design curves.