A review of the performance of jack-up rig spudcan penetration predictions in Malaysian Waters over the past ten years is performed with the aim of improving the predictions for future deployments. This work is part of an ongoing initiative to further improve the safety and efficiency of jack-up rig deployments in Malaysian Waters.

During the first phase of the study, field measured spudcan penetrations at maximum preload from 100 jack-up rig emplacements in different subsoil conditions are compared against the corresponding spudcan penetration predictions. These spudcan penetration predictions, which originated from third parties and are presented anonymously, consist entirely of Class-A predictions made prior to the jack-up emplacement. A significant scatter is noted between predicted and actual spudcan penetrations. Possible causes of discrepancy between predicted and actual spudcan penetration depths in Malaysian Waters are postulated.

In a significant proportion of the cases reviewed, the final spudcan penetration is found to be governed by bearing capacity in clay. Consequently, bearing capacity solutions for clays detailed in SNAME (2008) and ISO (2012) were reviewed. The bearing capacity equations in SNAME (2008) and ISO (2012) are based on the work of Hansen (1970) and Skempton (1951) respectively. Both SNAME (2008) and ISO (2012) noted that the value of undrained cohesive shear strength can be taken as the average value over a distance of B/2 from beneath the level where the maximum spudcan diameter is in contact with soil. The undrained shear strength profiles in Malaysian Waters are found to be more irregular as compared to those encountered in Gulf of Mexico. It is therefore the objective of the current study to assess the influence of undrained shear strength averaging distance for soil condition encountered in oil and gas producing regions offshore Malaysian Waters and to recommend the most applicable value for use in Malaysian Waters.

The next phase of the study also aims to evaluate the need for revised calibration factors to SNAME (2008) / ISO (2012) based equations and to define the tolerance for acceptance of the leg penetration analysis (LPA) predictions in Malaysia Waters.

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