For oil and gas projects offshore Newfoundland, Canada, subsea structures are generally placed in excavated drill centres which lower the equipment below the natural mudline, protecting the equipment from damage due to iceberg impact. This paper introduces a concept of protecting this equipment by utilizing a concrete structure affixed to the seabed using hammer driven piles.
Iceberg loads have been assessed utilizing a Monte Carlo iceberg contact model and a modified version of the Iceberg Load Software (ILS) developed for regions offshore eastern Canada. The Subsea Iceberg Protection Structure (SIPS) was designed using post-tensioned concrete construction. Preliminary concrete design in addition to pile capacity design is performed utilizing FE analysis. Using a hammer driven piled system, the maximum lateral resistance capacity can be determined in addition to the maximum impact energy absorption.
The internal Subsea Production System (SPS) system has been designed to specifically fit inside the SIPS while maintaining full ROV access for operation, maintenance and future well intervention.
The SIPS was designed as an L1 structure in accordance with ISO 19906. This includes impact from free floating and gouging icebergs. The design load for this impact event was calculated based on energy absorbed through ice crushing. The deformation and global movement of the SIPS was not considered as part of the energy absorption mechanism. The maximum ice crushing design load on the SIPS was determined for four locations on the Grand Banks offshore Eastern Canada.
In addition to the structural design of the SIPS, the piling system was analysed to determine the maximum capacity. The total lateral resistance was determined using a combination of a continuum model and a structural beam model (P-y method). The global movement was less than the maximum allowable deformation of the structure. The structure is therefore considered fit for purpose.
The projected construction and installation cost of this structure shows the potential for reduced costs compared to an excavated drill centre, thereby increasing the feasibility of potential tie-backs.
Using updated knowledge regarding iceberg size and geometry, areal density and ice strength, the analysis and design presented in this paper suggests that it may be more economical to install protection structures rather than dredge excavated drill centres, for marginal fields. In addition, the advancement of the internal SPS system is such that the equipment footprint is compact, requiring limited space within the SIPS.
This paper provides the necessary information to show that installing a structure to protect subsea equipment is technically achievable.