Improving Subsea Riser System Design

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Improving Subsea Riser System Design

With Altair's AcuSolve™ CFD solver running on Cray® XC40™ supercomputer systems, operators and engineers responsible for riser system design and analysis can increase component life, reduce uncertainty and improve the overall safety of their ultra-deep-water systems while still meeting their demanding development schedule.

Predicting Riser Behavior to Improve Performance and Lifespan

Subsea riser systems are conduits that safely transport hydrocarbon products from subsea wells and equipment up to fixed and floating structures operating on the ocean surface, such as semisubmersibles, spars and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels.

As the oil and gas industry has made advances in topside performance, drilling techniques and subsea equipment, riser systems have continued to increase in complexity. In the harsh environment of the ultra-deep-water play, the safety, reliability and performance of the riser system are critical. And the longevity of the riser system directly impacts overall field performance, since cost and downtime associated with replacement and repair are very high. The riser system's reliability and fatigue life depend largely on subsea currents and the risers' response to them; this response is primarily driven by vortex-induced vibration (VIV) and vortex-induced motion (VIM).

Though top-tier global oil & gas companies have used CFD simulations to conduct small-scale analyses of risers and their VIV countermeasures, large-scale numerical simulations of VIV and VIM have proven to be a challenge for most general-purpose CFD codes. In particular, due to the riser system's very large length to diameter (L/D) ratio, the number of nodes required for a full-scale simulation has historically challenged the capacity of many computational facilities and were thus not feasible for real product-development cycles.

To address these challenges, simulation software vendors like Altair and supercomputing providers like Cray have continued to advance their technology for scalable and realistic simulations. As a result, engineers can now conduct these simulations successfully and still stay well within their system development schedule.

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Improving the Design of Subsea Riser Systems

With Cray and Altair, engineers have the computational systems they need to perform advanced subsea computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis with better speed, scalability and accuracy.

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