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Riser Technology


Many years of applied research and construction experience have given Subsea 7 the significant advantage of being a SURF contractor capable of providing all types of riser systems for deepwater and ultra-deepwater installation, depending on the field architecture and client needs.


Single Hybrid Riser

Steel Lazy Wave Riser

Coupled Risers
Riser systems installed on a worldwide basis by Subsea 7 fall into two categories - those coupled directly to the host facility, and un-coupled systems which in most cases are connected by flexible jumpers. Coupled Risers Steel Catenary Risers (SCRs) Weight-Distributed SCRs Steel Lazy Wave Risers (SLWRs) Flexible riser systems Un-coupled Risers Single Hybrid Riser Tower Grouped SLOR Hybrid Riser Tower Buoyancy Supported Risers (commonly known as BSR system) Steel Catenary Risers (SCRs) have been adopted for many field developments and can be installed by all three methods of installation practised by Subsea 7 - J-lay, reel-lay and S-lay. Subsea 7s widespread experience includes the metallurgicalclad riser for the Shell Bonga field by J-lay, and subsequently for the Exxon Mobil Erha field. Subsea 7 has also installed SCRs by reel-lay in Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. One of the main challenges in any SCR design is the fatigue performance of the weld, and, with its extensive welding technology, Subsea 7 has developed high-quality SCR welding solutions, especially for metallurgical-clad or lined SCRs. Using the reel-lay vessel the Seven Oceans, Subsea 7 installed the first Steel Lazy Wave Riser (SLWR) in the BC-10 field offshore Brazil in 1,800m water depth for Shell International. The main challenges for SLWRs are high-specification welds and installation issues when all the heavy buoyancies are attached to the SCR. Through extensive in-house research and development, Subsea 7 has further developed the Weight Distributed SCR concept which enhances the applicability of SCRs to harsher environments. In this concept, well-qualified ballast elements are

Hybrid Riser Tower

Grouped Slor

attached at certain sections of the SCR to reduce the stresses around the touchdown point and enhance the fatigue performance of the SCR.

Highly suitable for remote and hostile environments Simplifies field layout with no interference between numerous risers Low in-situ fatigue damage Additional equipment such as gas lift, separator unit and booster pumps can be incorporated in the vicinity of the riser base. The first HRT application installed by Subsea 7 was Girassol in Angola for Total in 1998. The field, incorporating three HRTs, has been producing for over ten years to the specified stringent flow assurance requirements. Hybrid Riser Towers have now become accepted as a robust solution for deepwater and ultradeep water developments. The latest Subsea 7 HRT technology is currently being applied to Totals CLOV projects where two HRTs will be installed in 2013. Subsea 7 also has experience in designing and installing a Single Hybrid Riser tower offshore West Africa by the J-lay method. The Grouped SLOR is a qualified un-coupled riser system developed by Subsea 7 in collaboration with 2H Offshore for deepwater applications and based on the proven single-riser concept. Grouped SLOR is an open-bundle riser solution developed specifically to optimise the riser/vessel interface, production

Un-coupled risers
Un-coupled riser systems are increasingly being applied in recent deepwater and ultra-deepwater field developments. Hybrid Riser Towers (HRTs) are recognised to have significant benefits for deepwater riser applications in terms of flow assurance, thermal performance and robustness of layout. This latter issue is especially significant when a large number of risers are considered. An HRT provides the required flexibility by avoiding a crowded layout and allowing a progressive deployment. The concept is applicable to deepwater and ultra-deepwater, and to spreadmoored and turret-moored FPSO installations. Specific characteristics of the Hyperflow Hybrid Riser Tower include: Custom-designed and built for optimum flow performance and adapted to the specific characteristics of each field development For ultra-deepwater flow assurance (pressure, temperature and heat transfer characteristics)

Riser Technology

vessel approaches and access for riser inspection/maintenance. It uses a buoyant truss frame to guide the free-standing risers, constraining all risers to move collectively, and thus eliminating the risk of clashing. The Grouped SLOR has great potential for large deepwater developments, which typically have a complex and congested seabed layout immediately adjacent to the production vessel where there are spatial constraints imposed by mooring lines and vessel offsets. A series of qualification projects have been performed to validate the robustness of the concept and design of the Grouped SLOR for deepwater environments. The Buoyancy Supported Riser (BSR) System is being delivered by Subsea 7 for the Guara-Lula NE field development in Brazil under contract to Petrobras. The BSR concept consists of a large sub-surface buoy which is anchored to the seabed by eight tethers, two on each corner of the buoy. The buoy supports multiple SCRs which are connected to the FPSO by non-bonded flexible jumpers. This BSR systems absorbs the dynamics from the FPSO, resulting in almost no dynamic stresses on the SCRs, making them behave like a long free-spanning pipe line with the major fatigue response coming from the Vortex Induced Vibration due to the local currents. Since there is very little dynamic response for the SCRs, mechanical-lined pipe is used for the SCR section, thereby optimising the riser design. Subsea 7 continues to develop further un-coupled riser concepts designed for harsh environments. A recent example is the Catenary Offset Buoyant Riser Assembly (COBRA), which consists of a catenary riser section with a long, slender buoyancy module on top which is tethered down to the sea bed. Similar to the multiriser BSR, the top of the catenary riser section is connected to the host by a flexible jumper. COBRA is a highly compatible riser arrangement for host platforms with large motions, like FPSOs or semi-submersibles. This riser concept has the advantages of excellent dynamic performance with little or no fatigue response, and can therefore be designed for pipeline-class welds.

Single Hybrid Riser

Buoyancy Supported Riser




Mooring lines

For further information contact For further information contact: Stuart N Smith, VP Technology & Asset Development Stuart.Smith@subsea7.com
Catenary Offset Buoyant Riser Assembly (COBRA)

Subsea 7, 2013. Information correct at time of going to press.

April 2013