Most floating production platforms for the deep water fields installed to date have required large and heavy components for their mooring systems. In many cases the large heavy-lift construction vessels needed to complete the installation of the topsides, with the addition of special equipment, have been more than capable of performing the mooring installation work and mooring designers have tended to minimize the number of mooring legs without necessarily considering the size and weight of components. However, only a few existing vessels are capable of performing the mooring installation work, and their day rate costs are high. The limits of what these vessels are capable of installing with their existing equipment, without the development of further costly specialized equipment, are now also being reached. For future ultra-deep applications, where new components (e.g., synthetic ropes and new anchor types) will be used, the emphasis is now on minimizing offshore construction (and hook-up) time, and other types of vessels may be considered for the mooring installation work. Because of these factors, mooring designers will need to have a better understanding of the equipment and methods used by the installation contractors and the limits to the various types of vessels. This paper discusses these issues with the objective of assisting designers of future systems to understand the factors that influence installation methods and costs so they are better prepared to optimize systems for the benefit of operators.

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