Integrated Riser Joints (IRJ) have become a key component of deepwater Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) operations. They enable the surface MPD system to be integrated with the riser, allowing for safe and fast installation and retrieval despite complexities.

Deepwater MPD integrated riser joints are made up of (a) a below-tension-ring rotating control device (BTR-RCD) to create a seal around the drill string during the drilling and tripping process. (b) an MPD annular packer that serves as an alternative sealing device when the rotating control device (RCD) or active control device (ACD) is not deployed or needs maintenance (c) a flow spool featuring valves and tie-in points for hoses facilitating the circulation of drilling fluids from downhole to surface equipment. (d) Choke, kill and boost line conduit to interface with the rigs riser joints. The instrumentation system installed on the IRJ enables real-time wellbore pressure monitoring and remote control of MPD flow line valves. The choke, kill boost conduits as well as mux line clamp locations facilitate a normal riser set up for surface to subsea blowout preventer (BOP) communications.

IRJs that are deployed for deepwater MPD installations represent a significant advancement over the systems used in early floating rig MPD operations. They are designed for efficient and safe deployment and are compatible with a variety of deepwater drilling systems. MPD integrated riser joints operate in a complex wellbore condition allowing efficient and effective wellbore pressure control, improving the safety of deepwater drilling operations. It enables real-time monitoring of the wellbore parameters allowing drilling supervisors and engineers to make timely adjustments to drilling parameters. This technical paper reviews key design considerations of different IRJ systems developed by the industry and used in deepwater MPD operations. The paper examines how the IRJ system has evolved over time due to the requirement for a more efficient method of deploying RCD and annular isolation devices in deepwater wells.

The authors provide an unbiased view on the recent developments of Integrated Riser Joint technology based on their experience and actual application of the system worldwide.

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