Abstract

The paper outlines the latest stages into the research and development of an innovative new material for offshore floating system mooring ropes. This new material combines the benefits of robust steel solutions with the lighter weight of polyester fibre ropes. In this paper the experimental sample assessments and full scale production prototype developments are presented. Floating production systems are being located in ever challenging environments. Deeper waters and increasing environmental loads require station keeping systems to offer optimum performance. Traditional materials are reaching their natural limitations, requiring innovative solutions to ensure performance in critical locations - control of weight and extension to achieve cost effective station keeping.

With support from industry and academic partners, a methodology for manufacture of high strength polymer wire at economically viable production speeds has been established. The material has been selected for its high strength, light weight, low creep characteristics, to achieve suitable base properties for a stable strength member.

The resultant wire exhibits dimensional and performance characteristic suitable for use within traditional wire rope constructions. This allows efficiencies in manufacturing, including health and safety advantages, and assessment of design performance, benchmarking achievements with well known performance data. This material allows for additional R&D opportunities in other more novel constructions and combinations.

Investigation and development of a termination medium and methodology specific to the synthetic wire rope has been a challenge which has been ably met. Understanding the impact of traditional methods and materials on rope properties has been investigated, new materials and methods developed to ensure a robust, 100% efficient and repeatable socketed solution.

Through such reliable terminations, laboratory testing has generated a range of performance data allowing detailed assessment within taut, catenary and combination mooring systems.

A review of the current relevant international mooring component specification has been necessary to establish product specific testing parameters for potential pre-qualification prior to use. Development of a new product has required selection of the appropriate criteria to ensure the rope performance in operation; this has not necessarily mirrored the requirement for traditional components.

Ensuring efficient and economical station keeping in given locations is essential to realising the potential from these fields. Without development of leading edge mooring and station keeping some resources remain out of reach. Manufacturers of station keeping equipment supplying to the offshore industry are constantly investigating and developing solutions to support the move of exploration and production to ever more extreme locations.

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