Mooring systems are responsible to limit the offsets of oil and gas floating production systems due to environmental actions. Therefore, they are extremely important for the overall safety of the floating unit and of the risers system connected to it. Mooring lines are subjected to pre-tension and environmental loads effects and must be designed to comply with the ultimate, accidental and fatigue limit state criteria. In general, floating units mooring lines are composed by a top chain segment, a rope segment, and a bottom chain segment. Most of the accounted failures in mooring lines are related to fatigue damage in the chain links of the top or bottom segments. Material degradation due to corrosion effects plays an important role in this failure mechanism.
Engineering practice usually recommends that a constant corrosion rate model is to be adopted in the design. Periodic inspections are to be carried out in the mooring lines in order to assess the corrosion effects and other issues during the operational life of the floating system. However, corrosion is a complex phenomenon, which behavior is difficult to predict. Adopting a deterministic corrosion rate can lead to non-realistic results, compromising the system safety and the inspection planning.
Therefore, to consider the problem uncertainties and comply with standards guidance, this work proposes a time-dependent fatigue reliability-based method to update the inspection planning using the results of previous inspections. The method is applied in a case study of a corroded chain segment of a mooring line, assuming a continuously-updated corrosion rate model and the S-N curve fatigue approach.
Results show that the proposed method, based on solid safety assumptions, is a feasible and more reasonable way to define inspection dates, avoiding the mooring system to operate in unacceptable levels of risk.