Abstract

The requirement for fossil fuels expedites for an advancement in the existing subsea technology. The developments evolved as the search for hydrocarbons moved from onshore to offshore, followed by a transition from shallow to deep and ultra-deep waters. Another huge milestone was achieved, when production systems made a transition from topsides to subsea units for efficiency. Currently, there is an enormous drive to minimize the operational costs involved in the processing of hydro-carbons. Researches are underway towards what would be yet another significant feat in the oil and gas industry, which is by moving the processing systems to subsea. One such impressive concept, which is being developed, is the Submerged Production Unit (SPU). This study is an initial attempt to investigate the challenges associated with the SPU focusing on the factors influencing design, launching and towing. A design concept that goes back and forth from performance and design spaces was used in modelling the SPU, solving the complexity that revolved around assembling the hollow Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) beams with subsea buoyancy materials. Submerged Tow Method (STM), an adaptation of Controlled Depth Tow Method (CDTM) was used instead of the conventional way of lifting the equipment using cranes of heavy lift vessels or construction vessels on site during deployment considering cost and safety. OrcaFlex software was used for towing analysis. End force in global X direction on towline, obtained from static analysis was used to identify the Bollard Pull (BP) required for towing the SPU. Dynamic analysis was performed for different environmental conditions to identify the maximum effective tension on the towline. BP requirement of 100t was estimated from the towing analysis. This study was carried out by author as a master’s thesis [1].

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