Fatigue analysis of flexible risers is a demanding task in terms of time and computational resources. The traditional time domain approach may take weeks of time in global simulation, local modelling and post-processing of riser responses to get fatigue results. Baker Hughes developed a fast hybrid approach, which is based on a frequency domain technique. The new approach was first implemented at the end fitting region and then to all other regions of the riser. Studies showed that the hybrid approach achieved convenient and conservative results in a significant shorter period of time.

To improve the accuracy and reduce conservatism of the method, Baker Hughes has further optimized the analysis procedure to seek better results approaching true solutions. Several methods were proposed and studied. The duration of representative cases and noncritical cases have been extended. The steps to predict stress spectrum based on transfer functions have also been updated. From previous studies, only one transfer function was built for fatigue load cases with similar response spectra. This assumption linearizes the system response and produces certain level of discrepancy against true time domain solution. In this study, multiple ways of spectrum prediction are evaluated and compared.

The paper summarizes several techniques to further optimize the hybrid frequency domain approach. The updated fatigue results are found to be more accurate. The optimized approach therefore gives more flexibility to engineers to approach the true solutions, which were originally acquired from full 3-hr time domain simulations. The approach requires less analysis time and reduces iterations in pipe structure and riser configuration design, which leads to faster project execution and potential cost reduction.

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