Overview of Joint Industry Project on Measurement Based Wellhead Fatigue

Overview of Joint Industry Project on Measurement Based Wellhead Fatigue
May 2020
Bulent Mercan and JIP Participants

The objective of the wellhead fatigue joint industry project (JIP) is to provide a measurement-based
foundation for drilling riser and wellhead modeling practice in the oil and gas industry and hence to
ensure that the fatigue response assessment is performed with adequate but not overly conservative analysis
parameters. To this end, the JIP utilizes field measurements from ten (10) drilling campaigns in GoM and
North Sea. In order to maintain drilling campaign diversity, the field measurements are selected for a range
of environments, water depths (110 to 1,900 m), soil characteristics, riser and wellhead configurations, and
vessel types.

The study commences with field data QA and filtration. Measurements are classified into wave-
dominated events, VIV events and combined wave and VIV events. The finite element models of the as-
built riser and wellhead systems are generated using industry standard analysis parameters, and simulations
are conducted using measured motions near the top of the riser. The resulting numerical responses for the
wellhead are compared with the measured motions to determine the level of conservatism (or otherwise) in
the wave fatigue analysis. Additionally, SHEAR7 models driven by measured current profiles are used to
compare predicted VIV fatigue response to that based on field measurements.

Analysis results indicate that industry standard approach for wave and VIV fatigue assessment is indeed
conservative. However, it should be noted that wellhead fatigue predictions through numerical simulations
are affected by various analysis parameters, and it is impossible to determine the correct values for each of
these parameters by using field measurements alone.

In literature, several previous studies compared measured and predicted wellhead response. However,
they often focus on a single drilling campaign, which makes it difficult to apply their findings to another
drilling campaign. This JIP is the first in the industry to provide a combined assessment of full-scale field
data from multiple drilling campaigns. Using consistent analysis techniques for all datasets offers valuable
insight into riser and wellhead response characterization and safe drilling operations.

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