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Case history: Soil investigation for offshore suction anchors

Over last 5 - 6 years anchoring of floating and fixed structures have to an increasing extent been done with suction anchors much quicker installation cost effective reliable design procedures require reliable soil parameters for optimal design of suction anchor dimensions

Suction anchor foundations


for tension and taut leg floaters in deep waters

Alternative anchors for floating structures

Suction pile
Tension Leg Platform Taut Leg Platform
upper chain

Driven pile
risers tendons risers fibre rope subsea manifold

Fluke anchor

lower chain suction anchor suction anchor


Illustration: Saga Petroleum ASA

Driven Plate anchors

Seabed installation of suction anchors

Basic principle

pump skid

slacking lifting wire and ground chain

recover pump skid by umbilical monitoring verticality, diff. pressure & penetration

Suction anchors in deep waters


Main foundation problems
penetration of skirts ( must get to required depth) bearing capacity for pull out forces ( including cyclic loading in some cases)

1
ground chain

Positioning of anchor monitoring heading, verticality & clearance

pumping out entrapped water

Pre-tension ground chain

recover lifting wire

Soil parameters required


shear strength for penetration analyses shear strength for bearing capacity Depth for which soil information is required : suction pile length + 1 diameter

Suction pile

Step by step Seabed installation normal duration 2-3 hrs

Floating structure with suction anchors


Project information:
Water depth : 340 m Four clusters, each with 4 anchors Overall anchor pattern diameter : 2,300 m Expected suction anchor dimensions
diameter : 5 m ; length : 11 - 13 m

Anchor pattern for North Sea Floating Production Unit


1000 m

Floating structure with suction anchors


Soil investigation program:
Nine boreholes to 15 m Intermittent CPTUs and sampling Laboratory tests including CAUC, CAUE and DSS
Soil design parameters based on correlations between CPTU and laboratory tests

Main geotechnical problems


penetration of skirts to required depth below seabed bearing capacity in terms of pull out resistance

Example borehole locations for one anchor cluster


500 m

Down-hole insitu testing


Operation with umbilical, hydraulic cylinder pushes tool below bottom of borehole. Data aquisition through cable and real time display of test results. Depth limitation about 700 m.

Investigation for floating structure - example down-hole CPTU results

Anchor location Borehole location

From Fugro brochure

Selection of Nkt factors for CPTU interpretation

Investigation for suction anchorsresults form combined borehole with CPTU and sampling
Index shear strength From CPT U using NKT=13.5

Recommended design shear strengths for suction anchors

CAUC triaxial test

Deep-water sites around the world


Mid Norway

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile anchors

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile anchors


12 anchors, each with 1 500 ton holding capacity - Highest ! 220 ton weight, 30.5 m penetration and 6.4 m diameter - Largest ! 1500 m water depth - Deepest ! First permanent suction pile mooring in the Gulf of Mexico
30 m 28 26 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 30 m 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2

Suction piles
Gulf of Mexico Deep Mediterranean NW Africa Columbus Amazon West Africa

Suction piles

Suction piles
Barong Tarajam East India NW Shelf

24

Houston

22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6

Suction piles
Campos Basin

Suction piles

1500 m water depth Diana field Gulf of Mexico

Suction piles
New Zealand

4 2

NGI's main office, Sognsveien 72, Oslo

Exxon Diana - Geotechnical design


Depth

Exxon Diana Platform


Diana Spar

Exxon Diana Mooring system

1500 ton

0m

10

20

floating storage and production platform

30

40 80 60 40 0m 20

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston
Suction piles Suction piles

READY FOR INSTALLATION

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation


Gulf of Mexico, 18 October to 12 November 1999 Marine Contractor: Saipem, Vessel: S-7000

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation


30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

Suction pile installation contractor: NGI-FRAMO

Suction Pile

Pump skid

Seabed at 1500 m depth

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation


Weight penetration with free water evacuation

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation


Positioning and landing of Suction Pile
10

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation


Slack lifting wire and close valves

Deviation from target heading (deg)

8 6 4 2 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
30 28 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

Touch Down Target heading

26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

Elapsed time after Touch Down (min)

seabed

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation

Exxon Diana - Suction Pile installation


Pump out entrapped water and penetrate by suction

Maximum suction penetration depth


30 30 28 28 26 26

Weight penetration with free water evacuation

30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

30 28

19 20

30 28 26

30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

24 24 22 22 20 20 18 18

Petrobras P-18 Riser supports L/D = 8.5 Suction driveability


10 12

26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

Penetration depth (m)

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 -120 -140

24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2m

Weight penetration

Penetration depth (m)

16 16 14 14 12 12 10 10 8 8 6 6 4 4 2 2

14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28

Allowable suction

L/D = 2.5

L/D = 5

L/D = 10

Differential pressure (kPa)

Required suction

Suction penetration response


Cone penetratio n resistance, Qt (MPa)
18
3.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0

Pre-installed conductors

19 20 21 22

Pr ed ict e
Pr te ic ed d we lo nd ou rb
0 -20 -40 -60

4.0

Penetration (m)

23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

bo un d

Penetration (m )

du pp er

5.0

6.0

CPT B
7.0

8.0

CPT A
9.0 Predicted under pressure for penetration

10.0

CPT C
0 -50 -100 -150 -200 -250

-300

-350

-400

-450
ROV

Differential pressure inside anchor (kPa)


-80 -10 0 -120 -140

Differential pressure inside anchor (kPa)

Soft homogeneous clay typical for deep-water sites

Layered glacial clay Haltenbanken Norway

Suction caisson Conductor