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Technical Description

Dual Wireline Riser Tensioners


PDC 5

RIG/PLANT

REFERENCE

REFERENCE DESCRIPTION

PDC No 5

F3376

Dual Wireline Riser Tensioners

ADDITIONAL CODE

SDRL CODE

TOTAL PGS

10
REMARKS
MAIN TAG NUMBER
CLIENT PO NUMBER

CLIENT DOCUMENT NUMBER

DISCIPLINE

This document contains proprietary and confidential


information which belongs to National Oilwell Varco; it is
loaned for limited purposes only and remains the property
of National Oilwell Varco. Reproduction, in whole or in
part; or use of this design or distribution of this information
to others is not permitted without the express written
consent of National Oilwell Varco. This document is to be
returned to National Oilwell Varco upon request and in
any event upon completion of the use for which it was
loaned.
Copyright National Oilwell Varco - 2011

National Oilwell Varco Norway AS


Postboks 401, Lundsiden
N-4604 Kristiansand
Norway
Phone +47 38 19 20 00
Fax +47 38 19 26 04

DOCUMENT NUMBER

REV

F3376-Z-SA-001B

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1

INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 4
1.1

Purpose................................................................................................................... 4

BRIEF OVERALL DESCRIPTION .................................................................................... 4

DETAILED DESCRIPTION ............................................................................................... 5


3.1

Design Features...................................................................................................... 5

3.2

Technical description .............................................................................................. 5

3.3

Riser Tensioner Cylinder ........................................................................................ 6


3.3.1 Principles of operation ................................................................................. 6

3.4

Air Control Skid ....................................................................................................... 7


3.4.1 Principles of Operation ................................................................................ 7

3.5

Control System / PLC Software description ............................................................ 9


3.5.1 Principle of operation ................................................................................. 10

3.6

System safety devices .......................................................................................... 10

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INTRODUCTION

Purpose
The purpose of this procedure is to describe the design and function of the Riser
Tensioner System, to give a better understanding of the different component
interactions and to act as an introduction to the operating instructions.

BRIEF OVERALL DESCRIPTION

The Riser Tensioner System contains:


Tensioners:
Control Equipment:

Idler Sheaves:

(8 dual units)
(1 unit, Riser Tensioner Air Control Skid)
(1 PLC control panel)
(1 Remote control panel)
(8 dual units)

The Riser Tensioner provides positive tension to the marine riser, and compensates for
the relative motion between the riser and the drilling rig. The tensioners are combined in
pairs, with the units installed diametrically opposite to each other. Each diametrically
opposite installed cylinder assembly is piped together and acts as one tensioner unit.
This is to avoid any lateral forces in the riser tensioner ring when reducing tension in
one unit (bleeding off air for wire cut/slip etc.).
The tensioners maintain tension in each support wire, which is connected to the support
ring on the marine riser pipe. The wires from the support ring runs over the pivot hinged
idler sheaves, via the fixed lead-in sheaves and then around the two double sheave
assemblies on each end of the tensioner cylinders. The wires are then attached to the
wire rope anchors.
When the wire is reeved around the fixed and the movable sheave assemblies on the
cylinder, a four - to - one mechanical advantage is obtained. This means that a cylinder
stroke of 12.5 feet is transferred to 50 feet of wire rope travel.
Tension in the support wires are maintained by hydraulic pressure in the tensioner
cylinder. The accumulator pressurises this fluid. A fluid connection block is installed
between the accumulator and the cylinder. This block incorporates a hydraulic flow shutoff valve, the National Oilwell Varco riser anti-recoil valve. In the case of wire rope
breakage, this valve will close immediately and the cylinder will extend to its full stroke
at a very low speed. This is to prevent damage on the cylinder and other equipment.
In order to obtain a more or less constant tension in the marine riser pipe, the
accumulator air side is connected to an air reservoir. This means that the riser tension
unit acts like a hydro-pneumatic spring.

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To obtain a centralised control of the tensioners there are an air control unit located in a
suitable position. The Drillers Control Panel is interfacing with this unit for the operator
to start, operate, monitor or shut down the total system. This unit is hooked up to a
pipeline between the air reservoir and the tensioner.
3

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

3.1

Design Features
The Riser Tensioner design utilises high pressure acting on the blind side of the cylinder
resulting in a compression loaded cylinder, rather than a tension loaded cylinder.
The cylinder type is a plunger cylinder. This cylinder operates without low pressure side.
It is thereby the same pressure on the rod side and the piston side of the cylinder piston.
Cylinder push is maintained by different area on the two sides of the cylinder piston.
This configuration removes the potential risk for leakage across the cylinder piston.
The Riser Tensioners are mounted with the rod end up (REU). The benefits with this
design is that when all air pressures are relieved on the REU tensioner, the weight of
the rod and rod end sheave assembly ensures that the rod retracts back into the
cylinder where it is submerged in fluid and protected from corrosion and mechanical
damage.

3.2

Technical description
The sheave house for the fixed end includes four sheaves, grooved for 2,5" wire rope,
snubber drum and wire rope anchor for each wire rope. The sheave house is equipped
with a flange for attachment to rig substructure.
The sheave house for piston rod end consists of two sheaves grooved for 2,5" wire
rope. Lubrication to sheave bearings through flexible l hose terminated at suitable
position.
The idler sheaves consist of two hinged sheaves grooved for 2,5 wire rope.

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Riser Tensioner Cylinder


The tensioner cylinder is a plunger cylinder, and is fitted one high-pressure
accumulator. The piston rods are made from carbon steel material with Ni/Cr layer.
The anti recoil valve is mounted between the high-pressure accumulator and the
cylinder.
The high-pressure accumulator provides an air-fluid interface between the air
pressure vessels and the cylinder.

3.3.1 Principles of operation


The riser tensioners maintain tension in the wire ropes by taking up or paying out rope
in response to rig motion. The rope being controlled is reeved over multiple sheaves at
the fixed and movable ends of the tensioner, over idler sheaves and connected to the
tension ring on the riser. Extension force of the cylinder maintains tension in the wire
rope. Pressure in the cylinder maintains the extension force. The extension force (rope
tension) is directly proportional to the air pressure magnitude.
As upward heave of the rig tends to cause an increase in rope tension, the cylinder rod
retracts (thus increasing the length of rope) to maintain the selected rope tension. When
the cylinder rod retracts, fluid in the cylinder is shifting through the riser anti-recoil valve
and in to the fluid accumulator and air in the accumulator will be compressed into the air
pressure vessels. As downward heave of the rig tends to cause a decrease in rope
tension, the pressure force in the cylinder causes the cylinder to extend, thus
maintaining the selected rope tension. When the cylinder extends, air expands from the
air pressure vessels to maintain pressure in the cylinder.
The Riser Tensioner is fitted with one high-pressure accumulator. The high-pressure
accumulator provides an air-fluid interface between the air pressure vessels and the
cylinder. Air pressurises the fluid in the accumulator, and the fluid (at the same
pressure) pressurises the cylinder to cause the cylinder extension force. This technique
ensures full lubrication and prevents cylinder barrel corrosion from the constant highpressure air.
The piston rods are made from carbon steel material. The cylinders are provided with a
position measuring system. By use of this system the operator can monitor the piston
rod movement of each individual tensioner cylinder. This system is an important part of
the riser anti-recoil system. The riser anti-recoil system also consists of a PLC and a
valve assembly mounted between the cylinder and the high-pressure accumulator.
The rod end of the cylinder is filled with fluid. As the cylinder rod extends, the fluid flows
through the rod piston into the piston side of the cylinder. Retraction of the cylinder rod
permits causes the fluid to flow the opposite way, into the rod side of the cylinder. The
rod side is thereby constantly filled with fluid.
The hydraulic fluid used in the tensioners is a water/glycol-based, fire resistant fluid.
The pressure (tension) variation due to compression and expansion of the air is related
to the volume of the APVs. The APV's volumes are selected to provide a variation of

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approximately +-4% with heave of 4 meters and the cylinder stroking about its midpoint.
It is important to note that the area of concern should only be within the expected heave
conditions and not over the complete stroke capacity of the tensioner.
During normal operation, no air is vented from the system. An air compressor is used to
increase the air pressure (tension level) and to replace lost air. The application of an air
dryer with each air compressor reduces the problems caused by water condensation.
Complete control of a tensioner system is accomplished at the centralised and common
tensioner control panel, located in Drillers Control Room. This panel enables one single
operator to start up, set operation, monitor and shut down the complete systems. Only
infrequent attention by the operator is required.

3.4

Air Control Skid


To obtain a centralised control of the tensioners there is an air control skid, located in a
suitable position. By using all the remotely controlled valves on this skid the operator
can start, operate, monitor or shut down the total system. This skid is installed in the
pipeline between the air reservoir and the tensioner.
The air control skid includes all valves, tubing, filter regulator, pressure instruments,
cabling and junction boxes required to operate all the Riser Tensioner Units.
The air control skid is designed for installation outdoors in harsh offshore environmental
conditions. All instrumentation is certified for operation in hazardous area zone II.

3.4.1 Principles of Operation


The air control skid is mounted between the tensioner cylinder and the APV skid. As the
platform moves up or down the tensioner cylinders rod retract or extend. The cylinder
rod movement causes compressed air to flow through the air control skid. If the cylinder
rod extends, compressed air will go from the APV's through the air control skid and into
the cylinder, and the opposite way if the tensioner cylinder rod retracts. By opening or
closing valves in this control skid, pressure and tension can be adjusted to suit the
desired tension. The air control skid can also be used to separate one or all of the
tensioner cylinders from the APVs. All the valves which need to be operated during
operation are remotely controlled from the panel located in the drillers control room.

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By pressing various buttons on the drillers control panel, signals are sent to the solenoid
valve in the air control skid which will open, and allow instrument air to be supplied to
the valve actuator, which again will open or close the associated valve. The actuators
for the 1" valves that are used are of the spring return type. All the 1" valves are fail to
close. These valves shall normally be closed. All the 4" valves will remain unchanged,
either in open or closed position, if control air pressure or electrical power fails. If this
valve is being closed during operation the actual tensioner cylinder will be separated
from the APVs and no compensating can be performed.
The air control skid is also provided with one pressure transmitter and one pressure
gauge on each side of the 4" main air valve. These pressure transmitters send a
4- 20mA signal to the PLC cabinet and then to the drillers control room where the
pressures can be monitored. The pressure gauge mounted next to the pressure
transmitter is only for reference.
The function of the equipment described above is for controlling the high-pressure air
system. The air control skid also has an instrument air system. The instrument air
system is furnished with an air pressure regulator and two filters. The instrument air
system is for opening or closing the valve actuators, controlled by solenoid valves.
Pressure in the APVs or tension in the cylinders can be adjusted by pressing down one
of the below listed push-buttons. The buttons are located on the screen in Drillers
Control Room.
APV Fill:
By operating this push-button pressure will increase in the APV's as long as
pressure in stand-by bottles is higher than pressure in the APVs. The pushbutton has a built-in lamp which will light up when the valve is in open position.
To close the valve, the same push button must be pressed again and the light will
go off. Valve is now closed. The valve is equipped with a spring return actuator
and will close if a air or electrical failure should occur.
APV Vent:
By operating this push-button pressure in the APV's will be vented to
atmosphere. The push-button has a built-in lamp which will light up when the
valve is in open position. To close the valve the same push button must be
pressed again and light will go off. The valve is now closed. The valve is
equipped with a spring return actuator and will close if an air or electrical failure
should occur.
Activate Tension:
Provided that the pressure difference on each side of the main shut-off valve is
less than 10 bar the following will happen if this button is operated:
Belonging Bypass valve and main shut-off valve will open and the built in
lamps in each push button will light up.
When main shut-off valve is fully open, the bypass valve will close and the light
for the bypass will go off.

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If the pressure difference on each side of the main shut-off valve is more than 10
bars, only the bypass valve will open. The lamp for the bypass will light up while
the lamp for the activate tension will be flashing. When pressure difference on
each side of the main shut-off valve is less than 10 bar the activate tension valve
will open, and the flashing light will become a continuous light. The main shut-off
valve will now stay open independent of any pressure differences in system
To close the valve, the same push button must be pressed again and light will go
off. The valve is now closed. Actual valve is equipped with a double acting
actuator which will ensure that the position of the main shut-off valve remains
unchanged even with an electrical or air failure.
Tension Vent:
By operating this push button, pressure in the tensioner cylinders will be vented
to atmosphere. Depending on the position of the main shut-off valve, pressure in
the actual APVs can also be vented at the same time. The push button has a
built-in lamp which will light up when the valve is in the open position. To close
the valve the same push button must be pressed again and the light will go off.
The valve is now closed. The valve is equipped with a spring return actuator and
will close if a air or electrical failure should occur.
Manual Tension increase:
This is a manual function only to increase the pressure in the tensioner cylinders
directly from the standby APVs and is intended for service and start-up
operations only.
3.5

Control System / PLC Software description


The Tensioning System PLC/Termination Cabinet includes the PLC control logic for the
tensioning system.
The cabinet is installed in the local instrument room (LIR). This Room is classified as
safe by ventilation and will have operating temperature; min. 5 oC and max. 35 oC.
The cabinet will be powered with a 230 VAC 60 Hz supply from the Platform UPSsystem.
Signals on profibus include signals for load calculation purpose to the Rig Management
System and MCC Start/Stop/Running/Available signals, air supply pressure alarm(s)
and system failure alarm as relevant for the equipment to be controlled.

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3.5.1 Principle of operation


The PLC can be compared with a communication central where all the below listed
signals will be processed through.
Pressure high alarm
Broken wire alarms from all pressure transmitters
Position of Cylinder rods
Monitoring of piston rod speed. Too high speed indicates that a wire has broken. PLC
will send a closing signal to the valves between the cylinder and the accumulator to
ensure that fluid flow to cylinder is stopped.
Riser anti-recoil system

3.6

System safety devices


1. Riser Anti-recoil system valve (Flow shut-off valve)
This valve is installed between the accumulator and the cylinder port. In the event of
a wire rope breakage, a riser disconnect or riser failure, the valve will restrict the flow
to the cylinder and slow it down. Detailed description of it is operation and function is
found in Technical description, Anti recoil system, F3376-Z-SA-001A.
2. Bypass valve
This valve is located on top of the accumulator, and is a needle valve integrated with
the 3 main air valve. The purpose is to equalise pressure on both sides of main shutoff valve before this valve is moved to open position.
3. Vent valve
This valve is located on top of the accumulator. The purpose of this valve is to vent
air pressure in accumulator to atmosphere when main shut-off valve is in closed
position.
4. Relief Valve on Accumulator.
This relief valve is located on top of the accumulator and prevents the air pressure, in
the accumulator from exceeding a preset safe value @ 230 bar.
5. Air Isolation valve.
This valve is located on top of the accumulator. The valve makes it possible to isolate
the tensioner from the high-pressure air lines. Normal position during operation is
fully open.