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Offshore Structures

• Types of offshore and their functions

• A offshore structure is defined as a structure without sustainable access to land


and that is required to stay in place regardless of weather conditions. Most
platforms explore and exploit oil and gas deposits in the continental shelf, while
other structures are designed for use other sea energy sources.
• A Geographical location. Environmental conditions characteristic of various
regions of operation have the greatest importance in determining the type and
characteristics of the platforms. Wind, ice storms and high lateral loads not only
results, but also complicates the supply of consumables and supplies resulting in
increased storage requirements and hence the overall price. Earthquakes also
produce severe dynamic loads and the time of occurrence can not be predicted
accurately. High seas affect and extended construction activities, underwater
operations, inspections, repairs and drilling operations and production course.
• B Features. Offshore platforms must provide a dry work area and to maintain the
equipment above the waves.
• C Water depth. Is the parameter that design teams constantly try to overcome it.
Regardless of the loads who controls the design, their effects increases with water
depth. Also the size, shape and type of immersed structure is in connection with
this, affecting shipyard size and also transport barges and floating cranes.
• D Foundation features. The impact of foundation conditions
expected on the platform design is very high. Weather conditions
and availability of specific equipment can significantly delay the
acquisition of data from the site. Preliminary design is done taking
into account regional geotechnical general information only.
Seabed characteristics can be influenced by proximity to other
extraction areas where bottom punctures due to leg erecting
platforms, dredging anchors or areas where pipes are already
installed. A detailed investigation is require to identifying and
quantifying stratigraphic anomalies design parameters. Differences
with the expected situation may in results change of the location,
pilots size eventually change the type of platform.
• E Drill guides. Drill guides number placed on a platform affects the
structural requirements. Wave forces acting on them may be
around 40% of total lateral loads and, depending on the location in
structure may introduce a significant increase in torque.
• F Drilling and extraction equipment requires choosing an optimum
type for the specific case, also evaluation of introduced loads. Also
the possibility of change drilling equipment, with the more
complex extraction equipment.
• Classification
• Offshore should have a minimal movement to allow a stable work area
for operations such as drilling and extraction of oil.
• Marine structures are typically constructed of steel, concrete or a
combination of steel and concrete, generally known as hybrid
construction. A rigid structure it can be consider whether limb
deformations resulting from wave forces and reactions caused by wave
action are small enough. Rigid structures are preferred and provide
operational support for tubing drilling and lifting system.
• The design of such structures is differentiated into two general classes:
fixed and mobile. A structure is considered fixed if stand against the
external forces without displacements or deformation. A mobile structure
can be of two types: rigid or floating connected to the seabed by a
mechanical system, the second category comprising flexible structures
that allow large deformations of the elements at wind, waves and current.
Fixed structures are subjected to greater forces than those floating
(viable for water depths up to 300 - 500m). Wave forces acting on the
floating structures are small so it can be used to great depths. Typically,
floating structures are fixed in location by anchor cables extended radial
outwardly from the top of the structure. Some floating structures are
moored vertically (reduced platform motion).
• Exploration structures
• Addicted on anticipated operations, different types of marine structures
may be applicable. Exploration drilling in a particular field, needs a
structure that moves as little as possible, has a good probability of
maintaining the position to the marine loads and can move from site to
site with relative easiness. Three of the most encountered types of
structures belonging to this category are: drilling vessels, self lifting
barges and semisubmersible platforms.
• Drilling vessels are specially shaped vessels, with all equipment required
for drilling on board. They have the advantage of rapid transit between
locations and can quickly leave the station in case of outstanding dynamic
loads.
• Vessel movements and the impact strength is limiting the operation
conditions. Being so influenced by sea state, requires special damping
facilities for roll and pitch movements, which is dynamic positioning
system consists of a series of complex systems controlled by computers.
• In principle it is transverse bow and stern propeller, wings roll, anti-roll
tanks, in order to maintain the ship in a fixed position during drilling.
• Exploration barges are generally towed from site to site,
supported by their own floating ship body. They are called
self lifting because once reached the exploration site, legs,
usually three, are released to the ocean floor and the deck
is raised above the water level on these feet to the height
required by the waves high.
• Self lifting barges behave similar to stationary platforms
but are limited in service for water depths up to 90m. Also
barges transport is slow and launching operation can be
performed only in good weather.
• The lift can be electrically or hydraulically. There are three
types most common:
• - Le Toureaw - made of a rack system on platform leg.
• - The Long - lifting is done by means of hydraulic cylinders
and fastening bolts inserted into holes in the platform legs.
• - Gusto - that mix, raising the hydraulic cylinders and bolts
supportive, which rests on a rack with square teeth.
• Submersible platforms have 4-7 elements connected
to a broad deck. These legs are connected by
horizontal floating elements parallel to deck, called
pontoons which flooded with water while in site and
lay on the sea bottom. Sometimes pontoons are
hydrodynamic shaped to minimize drag resistance
during transport from site to site.
• In working position, the platform deck must be high
enough to surface to be protected from the waves.
• Platform move to another site is achieved by
removing the ballast water and towing. The water
depth for these types do not exceed 50 m.
• Submersible platforms have proven to be very stable
due to the geometry, however, are slow moving and
expensive in construction and operation.
• Operating structures
• The second category includes production platforms structures.
Unlike exploration type structures, exploitation platforms are
permanent posed structures, with design site life of 10-20 years.
• This type of structure is used for the extraction of oil from a
reserve known.
• Caisson type platform is the easiest operating system. A single
shaft drilling equipment is properly inserted into the coffer - leg. Its
use is limited to depths of up to 60m. It is characteristic for small
deposits or ship loading facilities from primary storage structure.
The modular diameter may vary (decrease wave forces and
increase the foundation strength).
• Installation can be done before or after the well drilling and
embedding in the ground is about 20 to 30 diameters. It is
recommended flexible connection between the system and
caisson so as drilling operation to be less affected by movements.
• The most used types of production platforms are
fixed platforms, with a permanent link with the
seabed. They are made from a network of
vertical tubes which lead to the foundation piles.
After reaching the proper depth, cells are cut,
the bridge structure is placed on them. A key
feature that separates in two types is buoyancy.
• Jacket type platforms have small flotation
capacity, even having sealed feet due to the
small size of the elements. They must be
transported in site by barges or using additional
floating elements.

Lately pre-installation jackets are use where piles are posed


on site using a calibration template who is removed later, by
setting up jacket on them. The structure becomes more
supple and deck is placed directly on it.

Other alternative done to simplify


installation and transport are modular jackets.
The possibility of using small floating cranes and
barges, reduce the cost up to 10-15%
• Tower platforms have inherent buoyancy due to large
diameter legs. However, elements of additional
buoyancy are sometimes used . Having an acceptable
draft, these structures can be launched directly into
the water and towed from shipyard to site, where is
placed by ballasting. It eliminates the assistance of
floating barge and crane.
• Groups of pile in legs is used for foundation.
• On some platforms all feet are large diameter, others
have only two enlarged diameter feet needed to
ensure buoyancy. Thin legs can have a single pile
passing through them or group of outer piles.
• Using these platforms in the Alaska contributed to
protect extraction installation, positioned inside the
legs of forces due to ice.
Gravitational platforms are another class of fixed
structures in use, their stability depending on
foundation weight. Therefore are recommended to
very resistant soil and were first used in the North
Sea. They are generally made of concrete (but
also hybrid or steel) on a broad base that has
both stabilizing and storage role.
• Arctic structures
• Platforms with fewer support columns occurred as a result of operating
conditions in Alaska, where ice in their flow carries heavy loads.
Therefore the support columns have a diameter of 4-9 m with double
walls. Operation tubing passes through interior. At the water level, the
double walls are filled with cement which hardens construction.
Operations in the east coast of Canada are in
constant danger of icebergs collide with.
Drilling operations on floating structures along
the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland
require towing icebergs away from area.
Designed structures grates a system of high
safety grills to absorb the impact of icebergs.
Extraction systems enable the production
tubing disconnection and reconnection with a
small delay in production.
Other structures are designed as islands of
concrete or steel caisson type and filled with
sand dredged to withstand ice loads.
• Deep water structures

• For extreme depths or fields with


limited reserves it is preferably a
compliant platform.
• Floating semi-submersible drilling
platforms are similar in construction to
submersible platforms and, where
depth allows, they can be placed on the
seabed. Floating bodies (floats) are 20 to
30 m below the water level and,
therefore, are less influenced by waves.
Platform oscillations are reduced and
influenced only by intermediate bodies
between the platform and floats.
Keeping the platform in place with
anchors is ordered with automatic
winches.
• Articulated tower.
• First articulated tower - Lena - used as a drilling and production facility was
installed by Exxon in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 300m. Vertical and
lateral stability is assured through the use of either flotation devices and
anchoring cables fixed on sides. Another design and engineering focus relates
to the foundation pile design. As the structure deflects, significant tension-
compression coupling forces are introduced in the piles. Locating the piles
near the center of the tower, limiting the maximum tower deflections, and
selecting piles of sufficient length to absorb the imposed loads can limit the
resulting stresses in the piles. .
• Also a difficult design a issues related to this solution is the articulated base
link.
• Tension leg platforms (TLP)
The topsides equipment and facilities are similar to those usually
deployed for fixed steel structures. The platform comprises a deck
structure and a buoyant hull that is composed of a series of
vertical cylindrical columns, horizontal submerged pontoons, and,
in some instances, tubular member bracing. The platform is
tethered to the seabed by a number of tendons that are kept in
tension at all times by the excess buoyancy in the hull. These
tendons suppress the heave motions, and the tension ensures that
the platform remains virtually horizontal. Lateral excursions are
controlled because the tendons develop a restoring force as lateral
movements take place.
• The tendons are secured in a foundation template piled into the
seabed. The foundation system is subjected to cyclic loads
superimposed on a high-tension load. Nevertheless, while the
foundation system may appear elaborate, the advantages are
considerable. The restriction on vertical movement permits the
use of fixed-steel-platform-type wellhead equipment and rigid
steel riser conductor assemblies.
• Deep draft floaters
• A deep-draft floater is a floating system that is provided with a deep-draft
hull designed to minimize heave motions. This particular concept is more
commonly known as a truss spar.
• The upper section of the hull is a conventional cylindrical shell and provides
the required buoyancy for the platform. A center well within the cylinder
protects the production risers and their tensioning system. The lower section
is a braced truss system with heave plates to achieve the desired heave
motion characteristics. In common with all spars, the vertical risers support
the dry trees at the topsides, thereby providing continuous access to the
wells for re-entry. A keel section at the base of the truss is specified for
buoyancy during towing and contains fixed ballast.
• Mooring
• Mooring is achieved using a taut system of mooring lines composed of chain
and wire or polyester. The lines are moored to the seabed using a vertically
loaded anchor. The mooring system is designed to accommodate a platform
offset of several hundred feet for drilling or workover purposes
• Deep-draft floaters, either of the cylindrical arrangement (such as spars) or of
the semisubmersible configuration, are likely to find increasing favor in
deepwater applications in the future. The systems can be designed for
storage capability as well. The choice between these two and other floating
production systems depends on the fundamental decision on the need for
dry-trees or wet-trees.
• Oil storage structure
• The amount of oil extracted offshore, it is often
convenient to be temporarily stored offshore prior to
transport in a port.
• Sometimes for this purpose, in the gravity structure of
production platforms, storage volumes are included,
or anchored floating tanks are used to. These storage
tanks are designed with open or closed bottom. In
both cases the oil is drained from the tank by
replacement with seawater so that the net weight of
the structure remains essentially unaltered. Such
structures with a capacity of up to 500,000 barrels are
located in the Arabian Gulf in Dubai. Many of
extraction and storage platforms have crude oil
processing equipment, before loading the cargo to the
ship.
• Oil loading structure
• In the production stage, the extracted oil, it must be transported
to the processing and subsequently delivered to the consumer. If
the production structure is conveniently located close to the shore,
then it may be economical to transport oil to shore via underwater
pipelines. These pipes are laid on the ocean floor, connecting the
extraction source to shore or another platform.
• When extracting facility it is located in an area where ducting is not
convenient or economical, other transportation methods for of
temporary storage tanks are needed. This transport is usually met
by tank trains.
• These tanks can be anchored directly on storage or extraction
structure. Frequently special structures are required for anchoring
the tanks. These structures are typically in the form of floating
buoy and articulated towers designed to move in waves. Tanks are
moored these structures through a single mooring line that is
received by tanker on arrival.
• As one mooring line is used to train tank, these structures are
called " single point mooring" or “floating mooring system".