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Proceedings of the ASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering

June 8-13, 2014, San Francisco, California, USA



Michael Long Ge Jomon Kannala

BP America BP America
Houston, TX, USA Houston, TX, USA

Songcheng Li Himanshu Maheshwari Mike Campbell

2H Offshore 2H Offshore 2H Offshore
Houston, TX, USA Houston, TX, USA Houston, TX, USA

In support of its commitment to safe and reliable Over the past ten years, BP has run a monitoring program
operations, BP has been continuously developing a program to to assess and maintain structural integrity for offshore risers and
assess and maintain structural integrity for offshore drilling conductors, to support safe and reliable operations. The
risers and conductors. This paper presents recent efforts by BP, structural response, including the fatigue damage, of multiple
in conjunction with 2H Offshore, to develop a new fatigue BP drilling risers and conductors are monitored using
monitoring methodology for drilling riser systems due to both acceleration data loggers and/or strain gauges.
wave and vortex-induced-vibration (VIV) damage.
To date, the focus for riser systems has predominantly been
BP has been monitoring structural response, including the on determining the fatigue damage due to VIV ([1], [2], [3],
fatigue damage, of riser systems in the Gulf of Mexico over the [4]), since VIV and its effects on structural response are
past ten years. To date, the focus has predominantly been on considered a not well-understood phenomenon. The so called,
determining the fatigue damage due to VIV, since VIV and its measured fatigue damage due to VIV is typically calculated
effects on structural response are considered a not well- by mode shape reconstruction in the frequency domain, using
understood phenomenon. In addition to VIV fatigue, direct the logged accelerations at various riser locations ([1], [5], [6]).
wave loading and vessel motions also contribute to the total In addition to VIV fatigue, direct wave loading and vessel
fatigue damage, and sometimes wave fatigue may have a larger motions also contribute to the total fatigue damage. Sometimes
contribution than VIV fatigue damage. Therefore, it is wave fatigue may have more contributions than VIV fatigue
necessary to determine fatigue due to both wave and VIV damage, especially in shallow water depths and/or wave
effects to confirm the long-term fatigue integrity of the drilling dominant conditions, such as hurricanes or winter storms.
risers. Another area of interest is the fatigue monitoring on the
wellhead, as wellhead fatigue is acknowledged as a technical
To take full advantage of the accumulated monitoring data, challenge in the industry. BP is developing a wellhead
a new fatigue monitoring methodology was developed using an monitoring system for instrumentation and data interpretation
analytical solution to account for the damage due to both wave on a real time basis. A simpler, more robust prototype system is
and VIV effects. With this method, the measured acceleration currently in development. More information can be found in
data are converted into curvature, and then fatigue damage [7], and this paper focuses on a new fatigue monitoring
along the length of riser and conductor are calculated. This new methodology for riser systems.
methodology has been validated with both finite element
analysis (FEA) and field data, and sensitivities to various Figure 1 shows the relation between median RMS
parameters have been considered. accelerations from the loggers along the riser and significant
wave heights for a period while the riser is connected. Figure 2
shows the median RMS accelerations and current for the same
period. As shown in the figures, the correlation between
acceleration and wave height indicates that most of the time the
1 Copyright 2014 by ASME
acceleration is correlated to wave, instead of current. In this
example, the maximum acceleration occurs on October 2nd, 1/
when the highest wave is also observed. The contribution of
wave induced fatigue to the total fatigue damage is material and
should be considered. To confirm the long-term fatigue
integrity, it is necessary to determine fatigue due to both wave
and VIV effects.
Figure 3 Illustration of Riser Acceleration and Curvature
This paper presents recent efforts by BP, in conjunction
with 2H Offshore, to develop a new fatigue monitoring 2 y ( x, t )
methodology for drilling riser systems accounting for both wave
a( x, t ) =
t 2
and vortex-induced-vibration (VIV) damage. With this method,
the measured acceleration data are converted into curvature The curvature in the vicinity of the logger can be expressed as
with analytical transfer function, and then fatigue damage along
the length of riser and conductor can be calculated. This new 2 y ( x, t )
( x, t )
methodology has been validated with both finite element s 2
analysis (FEA) and field data, and the sensitivity to various
parameters, such as added mass and tension, has been where s is the arc length of the riser. Application of Fourier
considered. Transform to the two equations above with cancellation of the
variable y(x,t) yields

FFT{ ( x, t )} = FFT{a( x, t )}* c( )

where c( ) is the analytical transfer function in frequency

domain. By reverse Fourier Transform, the curvature of the riser
at the logger location is therefore:

( x, t ) = IFFT{FFT[a( x, t )] * c( )}

The transfer function is shown in Figure 4 along with the

spectrum of the acceleration. The transfer function decreases
with increased frequency, but remains relatively stable within
the wave frequency range.
Figure 1 Illustration of Riser Acceleration vs. Wave Height
x 10 Wave Fatigue Study
Transfer Function Amplitude (sec^2/m^2)

4 400
Transfer Function

Acceleration Amplitude
2 200

0 0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Frequency (Hz)
Figure 4 Transfer Function
Figure 2 Illustration of Riser Acceleration vs. Current
Once the curvature time traces are known, stress time traces at
FATIGUE MONITORING METHODOLOGY the outer fiber of the riser pipe can be evaluated from the
An analytical transfer function is derived to correlate the expression below:
accelerations with the curvature of riser at the data logger D
locations. Assuming an acceleration data logger is installed at ( x, t ) = ( x, t ) E
point B on a riser segment OA, as illustrated in Figure 3, the 2
lateral acceleration a(x,t) is the second derivative of the lateral where D is the outer diameter of the riser pipe at the logger
displacement y(x,t) in time domain, or location.
2 Copyright 2014 by ASME
No. of
Joint Elevation
In order to validate the new methodology, the finite element Jts Length from ML
analysis is performed with specified input parameters, including - - inch feet feet
environment data, riser configuration, mud weight, and tension. LP Housing - - - 10
The commercial FEA package of FLEXCOM 7.9 is used for HP Wellhead - - 13 13
this study. The outputs from FEA, especially the curvature BOP 1 18 32 45
along the riser string, are compared with results by the new LMRP 1 18 25.9 70.9
methodology. The advantage of using FEA results to validate LFJ 6.0 KSI 1 0 0.1 71
the methodology is that there is no noise and g-contamination in Slick 0.875in WT 14 19.25 75 1121
the accelerations and curvature time traces. There are also no 7Kft buoy X0.875 13 19.25 75 2096
uncertainties in the added mass and tension values. In addition, 5Kft buoy X0.875 15 19.25 75 3221
the validation can be carried out along the entire riser length 4Kft buoy X0.875 15 19.25 75 4346
instead of the logger locations.
3Kft buoy X0.875 5 19.25 75 4721
40ft Pup x 0.875 1 19.25 40 4761
The riser configuration for the FEA validation is shown in
20ft Pup x 0.875 1 19.25 20 4781
Figure 5, and the details of the joints are given in Table 1. A sea
5ft Pup x 0.875 1 19.25 5 4786
state with a significant wave height (Hs) of 6.56 feet and a peak
period (Tp) of 7.6 seconds is selected, since this sea state Telescopic OB 1 22 72.1 4858.1
causes the largest fatigue damage on riser compared with other Telescopic IB 1 19.25 43.9 4902
sea states from the metocean data. An added mass coefficient of Spool 1 19.25 10 4912
1.0 is considered for both the FEA and analytical transfer UFJ Extension 1 19.25 11 4923
methodology (ATM). A drag diameter of 34.5 inches for slick UFJ + Diverter 1 0 14.1 4937.1
joint and 54 inches for buoyant joint is considered for both Table 1 Riser Configuration Details for FEA Validation
A time trace of the curvature obtained from the analytical
transfer method is compared with that obtained from FEA
output, as shown in Figure 6. The curvature from the analytical
transfer method matches well with FEA results for both the
phase response and the curvature amplitudes.

The standard deviations are also compared along the riser

length in Figure 7. The standard deviations of the curvature
from FLEXCOM and the analytical transfer method agree along
the riser length except the top 60 feet zone that is close to the
tension ring where the joint dimension is modeled slightly
different in both methods. The top slick joints below the outer
barrel consist of three pup joints: 40 feet, 20 feet and 5 feet.
The top element in Figure 7 is right below the outer barrel. The
outer barrel OD is 25 inches, while the top pup joint has a drag
OD of 23.4 inches. The drag OD the pup joints are chosen
according to given dry and wet weight. The ATM method
considers the properties at the interface of two different joints,
which cause the results to be slightly different from the FEA

Figure 5 Riser Configuration for FEA Validation

Figure 6 Curvature Comparison between FLEXCOM and

Analytical Transfer Method
3 Copyright 2014 by ASME
Figure 7 Variation of Curvature Standard Deviation along Riser


The validation of the methodology is also conducted using
field measurement data. Both the acceleration and strain are
measured by 12 InTEGRIpod motion loggers and 2
INTEGRIstick strain gauges, at specific locations along the
riser string. The measured accelerations are used as input to
calculate curvature data by the analytical transfer methodology,
which are then compared with the ones obtained from the strain Figure 8 Riser Configuration for Staggered Joints
gauge sensor at the same location.

The field-deployed riser configuration with staggered slick

and buoyant joints, is shown in Table 2 and Figure 8. During the
operation period, the drilling water depth is 6823 feet with a top
tension of 1685 kips and a mud weight of 10.8 ppg. The
accelerometer and the strain gauge sensor are located on the
bottom end of the 6th joint above lower flex-joint, about 5 feet
above the joint interface, as shown in Figure 9. The structural
OD at the sensor location is 21 inches, while the inertia OD of
41 inches considers the presence of riser fins and auxiliary

No. of Joint Elevation

Joint Name
Joints Length from ML
- - ft ft
BOP 75
Slick Joint 2 75 225
Staggered Joint (1
11 150 1875
buoyancy + a Slick)
Buoyancy Joint 47 75 5400
Staggered Joint (1
8 150 6600
buoyancy + a Slick)
Slick Joint 2 75 6750 Figure 9 IntegriSTICK curvature sensor mounted on slick
Pup 1 30 6780 riser joint with fins
Pup 1 5 6785
A period between Jan 15th and 17th is selected for field data
Water Depth 6823 validation, since the riser response for this period is mostly due
Table 2 Riser Configuration for Staggered Joints to wave motion. Figure 10 shows the median riser acceleration
response during this period. Figure 11 and Figure 12 shows the
curvature and acceleration in frequency domain, respectively.
4 Copyright 2014 by ASME
Figure 10 Field Measured Acceleration vs. Time Including Figure 13 Curvature Comparison between Analytical Transfer
Identified VIV Events Method and Field Data In Time Serial

The strain gauge sensor is located approximately 5 feet

above the joint interface, and the joint below this slick joint is a
buoyancy joint. Field added mass and equivalent OD are not
clearly known, especially at the location of the strain gauge
sensor which is located 5 ft above the transition between the
buoyancy joint and the slick joint with fins. At this location the
hydrodynamic effects of buoyancy and slick joints coexist.
Therefore, it is challenging to define the correct hydrodynamic
properties for this formulation at this elevation. The standard
deviation of the curvature around the pipe circumference is
compared between the analytical transfer methodology and that
from the field strain gauge. As shown in Figure 14, the
analytical transfer methodology matches the field data well,
considering a drag diameter of 54 inches and an added mass
coefficient of 1.73 for the slick joint. Note the solution is not
Figure 11 Curvature Obtained from Measured Strain Data
unique, as the curvature results also match well with a drag
diameter of 41 inches and an added mass coefficient of 3.0 for
the slick joint. The comparison for various drag diameters and
added mass coefficients are summarized in Table 3.

Figure 12 Measured Acceleration

Figure 13 shows the comparison of the curvature between

the analytical transfer method and the strain gauge
measurement. The stress derived from the strain gauge sensor is Figure 14 Curvature Comparison between Analytical Transfer
used to obtain the field curvature. The curvature time traces Method and Field Data On Cross Section
from the two sources match well, as zoomed between 200 and
600 seconds. The low frequency contents below 0.05Hz in the
curvatures are filtered.

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Added Mass Coefficient
Inertia OD Curvature Standard Deviation Joint Type
0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
Mass Slick A 0.82 1.0 1.18 1.35
Wave Fatigue Strain Data
Coeff. Ratio Slick B 0.82 1.0 1.18 1.35
(in) Method (x1E-5 (x1E-5
(100%) Slick C 0.82 1.0 1.18 1.36
1/m) 1/m)
Slick D 0.82 1.0 1.18 1.36
41 1.0 0.70 53
Buoyant E 0.76 1.0 1.24 1.48
41 2.0 1.00 76
Buoyant F 0.76 1.0 1.24 1.48
41 3.0 1.28 97
1.32 Table 4 Variation of Normalized Curvature Standard Deviation
54 1.0 0.92 70 with Added Mass Coefficient
54 1.8 1.32 100
54 2.0 1.41 107 Measured riser tension and mud weight in the field may not
Table 3 Results for various Drag Diameter and Added Mass always be 100% accurate. Hence, the curvature standard
Coefficient deviations are also compared for different top tensions. The top
tension of about 1800 kips is increased and decreased 50 kips
and the corresponding curvature change is shown in Figure 16.
SENSITIVITY STUDY AND DISCUSSION For a constant tension change along the riser length, the
The curvature using field data is affected by signal noise, curvature standard deviation shifts by a constant. Considering
sensor orientation, local tension at the strain gauge sensor, the averaged tension and curvature standard deviation along the
added mass, and the alternation of the buoyancy and bare joints. riser, the normalized tension and curvature standard deviation
The added mass and associated hydrodynamic diameter are not as a factor of the base case is given in Table 5. Every 1% of
known, therefore the sensitivity of the curvature from the ATM tension change in the riser leads to about 1% of change in
to these parameters is studied in this section. curvature standard deviation.

The sensitivity of the curvature standard deviation to

added mass coefficient in the analytical transfer method is
shown in Figure 15. The added mass coefficient is given as 1.0
for all riser joints in Flexcom, while it is varied between 0.5 and
2.0 in the analytical transfer method. The variation of standard
deviations at six typical locations of the riser (A through F) is
plotted against the added mass coefficient, as shown in Figure
15, and normalized as a factor of the base case in Table 4.
Compared with the base case with Ca=1.0, the curvature
standard deviation of the slick joints (A, B, C, D) increases
about 3.6% for every increment of 0.1 (or 10%) in added mass
coefficient, while increases about 4.8% for buoyant joints (E
and F).

Figure 16 Variation of Curvature Standard Deviation with


Average Along Riser Top Tension Top Tension

Top Tension
Length - 50kips +50kips
Normalized Average
0.96 1 1.04
Normalized Average
1.04 1 0.96
Curvature Deviation
Table 3 Sensitivity of Top Tension

Field measured accelerations contain the portion due to

gravity (g-contamination), and it may affect the curvature
Figure 15 Sensitivity of Curvature Standard Deviation to accuracy if not well understood. By retrieving the riser tilt angle
Added Mass Coefficient at any given location from the FEA model, the acceleration of
gravity, g, can be projected into the accelerations as controlled
g-contamination, which is compared with the accelerations from
FEA output to analyze the percentage and sensitivity. In time
domain, accelerations with and without g-contamination are
6 Copyright 2014 by ASME
compared and shown in Figure 17. A maximum g-contamination thanks to 2H Offshore engineers who did the data analyses
of 14% of the acceleration standard deviation is found along the documented in this paper.
riser length. The g-contamination is found negligible. Note
however that for applications where higher dynamic riser angles REFERENCES
are expected, the g-contamination can be removed through the
use of angular rate measurements. 1. Shilling, R., Campbell, M., and Howells, H. (2005).
Drilling riser vortex induced vibration analysis
calibration using full scale field data. Proc. 2005
Deepwater Offshore Tech Conf. Vitoria, Espirito
Santo, Brazil.
2. Beynet, P.A., Shilling, R, and Campbell, M. (2008).
Full Scale VIV Response Measurements of a Drill
Pipe in Gulf of Mexico Loop Currents. Proc. 27th
OMAE Conf. Estoril. OMAE 2008-57610.
3. Tognarelli, M.A., Taggart S., and Campbell, M.
(2008). Actual VIV Fatigue Response Of Full Scale
Drilling Risers: With and Without Suppression
Devices. Proc. 27th OMAE Conf. Estoril. OMAE
4. Taggart, S. and Tognarelli, M.A. (2008). Offshore
drilling riser VIV suppression devices Whats
available to operators? Proc. 27th OMAE Conf.
Figure 16 G-Contamination Effect on Acceleration Standard
Estoril. OMAE 2008-57047.
5. Thethi, R., Howells, H., Natarajan, S., Bridge, C.
(2005). A Fatigue Monitoring Strategy &
Implementation on a Deepwater Top Tensioned
To take full advantage of the accumulated monitoring data,
Riser. Proc. 2005 Offshore Tech. Conf. Houston, Tx.
a new fatigue monitoring methodology was developed using
OTC 17248.
analytical acceleration to curvature transfer function to account
6. Kaasen, K., Lie, H., Solaas, F., Vandiver, K. (2000).
for the fatigue damage due to both wave and VIV effects.
NDP: Analysis of VIV of Marine Risers Based on
Full-Scale Measurements Proc. 2005 Offshore Tech.
This new methodology has been validated very well with
Conf. Houston, Tx. OTC 11997.
finite element analysis (FEA) method, by comparing curvature
7. Forman, P., Walker, D., Henderson, J., Maher, J.,
distribution. The advantage of using FEA results to validate the
(2013). Overview of Wellhead Fatigue Monitoring.
methodology is that there is no noise, g-contamination, and
Offshore Engineer, October, 2013.
added mass and tension uncertainty in the accelerations and
curvature time traces.

Comparing with field measured data, the results show that

the calculated fatigue is sensitive to added mass and drag
diameter, but not g-contamination. With a drag diameter of 54
in and an added mass of 1.8, the proposed method matches well
with the measured field data. A standardized approach for
selecting the added mass coefficient and hydrodynamic
diameter is the subject of ongoing work.

For future work, both acceleration and strain measurements

from a riser system with continuous buoyancy or slick joints are
preferred to better understand the effect of the total added mass,
which is dependent on the added mass coefficient, Ca and the
drag diameter. In addition, a more detailed and complicated
CFD simulation may be conducted to investigate the actual drag
affect and added mass effect. Extra strain sensors on different
locations and a non-staggered riser configuration would also
assist in further validation of this methodology.

The authors thank the management of BP for permission to
publish this paper. In addition, the authors wish to express
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