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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.

Offshore Structures: General Introduction Condition CAPEX $/B/D OPEX $/B


To identify the basic vocabulary, to introduce the major concepts for offshore platform Average 4000 - 8000 5
structures, and to explain where the basic structural requirements for design are generated.
Middle East 500 - 3000 1
Non-Opec 3000 - 12000 8


North Sea 10000 - 25000 5 - 10

The lecture starts with a presentation of the importance of offshore hydro-carbon exploitation,
the basic steps in the development process (from seismic exploration to platform removal)
Deepwater 15000 - 35000 10 - 15
and the introduction of the major structural concepts (jacket-based, GBS-based, TLP,
floating). The major codes are identified.
World oil production in 1988 was 63 million barrel/day. These figures clearly indicate the

For the fixed platform concepts (jacket and GBS), the different execution phases are briefly challenge for the offshore designer: a growing contribution is required from offshore

explained: design, fabrication and installation. Special attention is given to some principles of exploitation, a very capital intensive activity.

topside design.
Figure 1 shows the distribution of the oil and gas fields in the North Sea, a major contribution

A basic introduction to cost aspects is presented. to the world offshore hydrocarbons. It also indicates the onshore fields in England, the
Netherlands and Germany.
Finally terms are introduced through a glossary.


Offshore platforms are constructed to produce the hydrocarbons oil and gas. The contribution
of offshore oil production in the year 1988 to the world energy consumption was 9% and is
estimated to be 24% in 2000.

The investment (CAPEX) required at present to produce one barrel of oil per day ($/B/D) and
the production costs (OPEX) per barrel are depicted in the table below.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1


2.1 Introduction of Basic Types

The overwhelming majority of platforms are piled-jacket with deck structures, all built in steel
(see Slides 1 and 2).

Slide 1: Jacket based platform - Southern sector North Sea

Slide 2: Jacket based platform - Northern sector North Sea

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

A second major type is the gravity concrete structure (see Figure 2), which is employed in the 2.3 Construction
North Sea in the Norwegian and British sectors.
The environment as well as financial aspects require that a high degree of prefabrication must
be performed onshore. It is necessary to design to limit offshore work to a minimum. The
overall cost of a man-hour offshore is approximately five times that of an onshore man-hour.
The cost of construction equipment required to handle loads, and the cost for logistics are
also a magnitude higher offshore.

These factors combined with the size and weight of the items, require that a designer must
carefully consider all construction activities between shop fabrication and offshore installation.

2.4 Codes

Structural design has to comply with specific offshore structural codes. The worldwide leading
structural code is the API-RP2A [1]. The recently issued Lloyds rules [2] and the DnV rules [3]
are also important.

Specific government requirements have to be complied with, e.g. in the rules of Department
of Energy (DoE), Norwegian Petroleum Direktorate (NPD). For the detail design of the topside
structure the AISC-code [4] is frequently used, and the AWS-code [5] is used for welding.

In the UK the Piper alpha diaster has led to a completely new approach to regulation offshore.
The responsibility for regulatory control has been moved to the Health and Safety Executive

A third type is the floating production unit. (HSE) and the operator has to produce a formal safety assessment (TSA) himself instead of
complying with detailed regulations.
2.2 Environment
2.5 Certification and Warranty Survey
The offshore environment can be characterized by:
Government authorities require that recognized bodies appraise the aspects of structural
• water depth at location integrity and issue a certificate to that purpose.
• soil, at seabottom and in-depth
• wind speed, air temperature The major certification bodies are:

• waves, tide and storm surge, current

• Det norske Veritas (DnV)
• ice (fixed, floes, icebergs)
• Lloyds Register of Shipping (LRS)
• earthquakes (if necessary)
• American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)

The topside structure also must be kept clear of the wave crest. The clearance (airgap) • Bureau Veritas (BV)

usually is taken at approximately 1,50 m, but should be increased if reservoir depletion will • Germanischer Lloyd (GL)

create significant subsidence.

Their requirements are available to the designer [2, 3, 6, 7, 8].

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

Insurance companies covering transport and installation require the structures to be reviewed
by warranty surveyors before acceptance. The warranty surveyors apply standards, if
available, on a confidential basis.


3.1 Introduction

The different requirements of an offshore platform and the typical phases of an offshore
development are summarized in [9]. After several initial phases which include seismic field
surveying, one or more exploration wells are drilled. Jack-up drilling rigs are used for this
Slide 3 : Cantilevered drilling rig: Self-elevating (jack-up) exploration drilling platform.
purpose for water depths up to 100 - 120 m; for deeper water floating rigs are used. The
results are studied and the economics and risks of different development plans are evaluated. Design and construction of the topside are progressed parallel to the drilling, allowing
Factors involved in the evaluation may include number of wells required, fixed or floated production to start soon after deck installation. For further wells, the jack-up drilling unit will be
production facilities, number of such facilities, and pipeline or tanker off-loading. called once again and will reach over the well area of the production deck.

As soon as exploitation is decided and approved, there are four main technical activities, prior As an alternative to this concept the wells are often accommodated in a separate wellhead
to production: platform, linked by a bridge to the production platform (see Slide 1).

• engineering and design 3.3 Jacket and Gravity Based Platform for Deep Water
• fabrication and installation of the production facility
• drilling of production wells, taking 2 - 3 months/well The wells are drilled from a drilling rig on the permanent platform (see Slide 2). Drilling starts
• providing the off loading system (pipelines, tankers, etc.). after the platform is built and completely installed. Consequently production starts between
one and two years after platform installation.
The drilling and construction interaction is described below for two typical fixed platform
concepts. In recent years pre-drilled wells have been used to allow an earlier start of the production. In
this case the platform has to be installed exactly above the pre-drilled wells.
3.2 Jacket Based Platform for Shallow Water
First the jacket is installed. The wells are then drilled by a jack-up drilling unit standing close
by with a cantilever rig extending over the jacket. Slide 3 shows a jack-up drilling unit with a 4.1 Introduction
cantilever rig. (In this instance it is engaged in exploratory drilling and is therefore working in
isolation.) Jackets, the tower-like braced tubular structures, generally perform two functions:

• They provide the substructure for the production facility (topside), keeping it stable
above the waves.
• They support laterally and protect the 26-30 inch well conductors and the pipeline

The installation methods for the jacket and the piles have a profound impact on the design.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

4.2 Pile Foundation 4.4 Corrosion Protection

The jacket foundation is provided by open-ended tubular steel piles, with diameters up to 2m. The most usual form of corrosion protection of the bare underwater part of the jacket as well
The piles are driven approximately 40 - 80 m, and in some cases 120 m deep into the as the upper part of the piles in soil is by cathodic protection using sacrificial anodes. A
seabed. sacrificial anode (approximate 3 kN each) consists of a zinc/aluminium bar cast about a steel
tube and welded on to the structures. Typically approximately 5% of the jacket weight is
There are basically three types of pile/jacket arrangement (see Figure 3): applied as anodes.

The steelwork in the splash zone is usually protected by a sacrificial wall thickness of 12 mm
to the members.


5.1 Introduction

The major functions on the deck of an offshore platform are:

• well control
• support for well work-over equipment
• separation of gas, oil and non-transportable components in the raw product, e.g.
water, parafines/waxes and sand
Pile-through-leg concept, where the pile is installed in the corner legs of the jacket. • support for pumps/compressors required to transport the product ashore
• power generation
Skirt piles through pile sleeves at the jacket-base, where the pile is installed in guides
• accommodation for operating and maintenance staff.
attached to the jacket leg. Skirt piles can be grouped in clusters around each of the jacket
legs. There are basically two structural types of topside, the integrated and modularized topside
which are positioned either on a jacket or on a concrete gravity substructure.
Vertical skirt piles are directly installed in the pile sleeve at the jacket base; all other guides
are deleted. This arrangement results in reduced structural weight and easier pile driving. In 5.2 Jacket-based Topsides
contrast inclined piles enlarge the foundation at the bottom, thus providing a stiffer structure.
5.2.1 Concepts
4.3 Pile Bearing Resistance
There are four structural concepts in practice. They result from the lifting capacity of crane
Axial load resistance is required for bearing as well as for tension. The pile accumulates both vessels and the load-out capacity at the yards:
skin friction as well as end bearing resistance.
• the single integrated deck (up to approx 100 MN)
Lateral load resistance of the pile is required for restraint of the horizontal forces. These • the split deck in two four-leg units
forces lead to significant bending of the pile near to the seabed. • the integrated deck with living quarter module
• the modularized topside consisting of module support frame (MSF) carrying a series
Number, arrangement, diameter and penetration of the piles depend on the environmental
of modules.
loads and the soil conditions at the location.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

Slide 4 shows an integrated deck (though excluding the living quarters and helideck) being
moved from its assembly building.

Slide 4 : Integrated topside during load out

5.2.2 Structural Design for Integrated Topsides

For the smaller decks, up to approximately 100 MN weight, the support structure consists of
trusses or portal frames with deletion of diagonals.

The moderate vertical load and shear per column allows the topside to be supported by
vertical columns (deck legs) only, down to the top of the piles (situated at approximately +4 m
to +6 m L.A.T. (Low Astronomic Tide).

5.2.3 Structural Design for Modularized Jacket-based Topsides

A major modularized topside weighs 200 to 400 MN. In this case the MSF is a heavy tubular
structure (Figure 4), with lateral bracing down to the top of jacket.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

5.3 Structural Design for Modularized Gravity-based Topsides In living quarter modules (5-25 MN) all sleeping rooms require windows and several doors
must be provided in the outer walls. This requirement can interfere seriously with truss
The topsides to be supported by a gravity-based substructure (see Figure 2) are in a weight arrangements. Floors are flat or stiffened plate.
range of 200 MN up to 500 MN.
Three types of structural concepts, all avoiding interior columns, can be distinguished:
The backbone of the structure is a system of heavy box-girders with a height of approximately
10 m and a width of approximately 12 - 15 m (see Figure 5). • conventional trusses in the walls.
• stiffened plate walls (so called stressed skin or deck house type).
• heavy base frame (with wind bracings in the walls).


7.1 Introduction

The design of offshore structures has to consider various requirements of construction

relating to:

1. fabrication.
2. weight.
3. load-out.
4. sea transport.
5. offshore installation.
6. module installation.
7. hook-up.
8. commissioning.

A documented construction strategy should be available during all phases of the design and
the actual design development should be monitored against the construction strategy.

The substructure of the deck is rigidly connected to the concrete column and acts as a beam Construction is illustrated below by four examples.
supporting the deck modules. This connection introduces wave-induced fatigue in the deck
structure. A recent development, foreseen for the Norwegian Troll platform, is to provide a 7.2 Construction of Jackets and Topsides

flexible connection between the deck and concrete column, thus eliminating fatigue in the
7.2.1 Lift Installed Jackets
deck [10].

The jacket is built in the vertical (smaller jackets) or horizontal position (bigger jackets) on a
quay of a fabrication site.

Equipment modules (20-75 MN) have the form of rectangular boxes with one or two
The jacket is loaded-out and seafastened aboard a barge. At the offshore location the barge
intermediate floors.
is moored alongside an offshore crane vessel.

The floors are steel plate (6, 8 or 10 mm thick) for roof and lower floor, and grating for
intermediate floors.

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The jacket is lifted off the barge, upended from the horizontal, and carefully set down onto the

After setting down the jacket, the piles are installed into the sleeves and, driven into the
seabed. Fixing the piles to the jacket completes the installation.

7.2.2 Launch Installed Jackets

The jacket is built in horizontal position.

For load-out to the transport barge, the jacket is put on skids sliding on a straight track of steel
beams, and pulled onto the barge (Slide 5).

Slide 5 : Jacket being loaded onto barge by skidding

At the offshore location the jacket is slid off the barge. It immerses deeply into the water and
assumes a floating position afterwards (see Figure 6).

Two parallel heavy vertical trusses in the jacket structure are required, capable of taking the
support reactions during launching. To reduce forces and moments in the jacket, rocker arms
are attached to the stern of the barge.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

The next phase is to upright the jacket by means of controlled flooding of the buoyancy tanks 7.3 Offshore Lifting
and then set down onto the seabed. Self-upending jackets obtain a vertical position after the
launch on their own. Piling and pile/jacket fixing completes the installation. Lifting of heavy loads from barges (Slide 6) is one of the very important and spectacular
construction activities requiring a focus on the problem when concepts are developed.
7.2.3 Topsides for a Gravity-Based Structure (GBS) Weather windows, i.e. periods of suitable weather conditions, are required for these
The topside is assembled above the sea on a temporary support near a yard. It is then taken
by a barge of such dimensions as to fit between the columns of the temporary support and 7.3.1 Crane Vessel
between the columns of the GBS. The GBS is brought in a deep floating condition in a
sheltered site, e.g. a Norwegian fjord. The barge is positioned between the columns and the Lifting of heavy loads offshore requires use of specialized crane vessels. Figure 7 provides

GBS is then deballasted to mate with and to take over the deck from the barge. The floating information on a typical big, dual crane vessel. Table 1 (page 16) lists some of the major

GBS with deck is then towed to the offshore site and set down onto the seabed. offshore crane vessels.

7.2.4 Jacket Topsides

For topsides up to approximately 120 MN, the topside may be installed in one lift. Slide 6
shows a 60 MN topside being installed by floating cranes.

Slide 6 : Installation of 60MN K12-BP topside by floating crane

For the modularized topside, first the MSF will be installed, immediately followed by the

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

7.3.2 Sling-arrangement, Slings and Shackles Table 1 Major Offshore Crane Vessels

For lifting, steel wire ropes in a four-sling arrangement are used which directly rest in the four-
Operator Name Mode Type Lifting capacity (Tonnes)
point hook of the crane vessel, (see Figure 8). The heaviest sling available now has a
diameter of approximately 350 mm, a breaking load of approximately 48 MN, and a safe Fix 2720
Thor Monohull
working load (SWL) of 16 MN. Shackles are available up to 10 MN SWL to connect the Rev 1820
padeyes installed at the module's columns. Due to the space required, connecting more than
Fix 2720
one shackle to the same column is not very attractive. So when the sling load exceeds 10 Odin Monohull
MN, padears become an option. Rev 2450
Fix 4536 + 3628 = 8164
Hermod Semisub
Rev 3630 + 2720 = 6350

Fix 3630 + 2720 = 6350

Balder Semisub
Rev 3000 + 2000 = 5000

Fix 4000
DB50 Monohull
Rev 3800

Fix 1820
DB100 Semisub
McDermott Rev 1450

Fix 3360
DB101 Semisub
Rev 2450

DB102 Semisub Rev 6000 + 6000 = 12000

Micoperi M7000 Semisub Rev 7000 + 7000 = 14000

ETPM DLB1601 Monohull Rev. 1600


1. Rated lifting capacity in metric tonnes.

2. When the crane vessels are provided with two cranes, these cranes are situated at
the vessels stern or bow at approximately 60 m distance c.t.c.

1. 3. Rev = Load capability with fully revolving crane.

Fix = Load capability with crane fixed.

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7.4 Sea Transport and Sea Fastening 7.5 Load-out

Transportation is performed aboard a flat-top barge or, if possible, on the deck of the crane 7.5.1 Introduction
For load-out three basic methods are applied:
The module requires fixing to the barge (see Figure 9) to withstand barge motions in rough
seas. The sea fastening concept is determined by the positions of the framing in the module • skidding

as well as of the "hard points" in the barge. • platform trailers

• shearlegs.

7.5.2 Skidding

Skidding is a method feasible for items of any weight. The system consists of a series of steel
beams, acting as track, on which a group of skids with each approximately 6 MN load
capacity is arranged. Each skid is provided with a hydraulic jack to control the reaction.

7.5.3 Platform Trailers

Specialized trailer units (see Figure 10) can be combined to act as one unit for loads up to 60
- 75 MN. The wheels are individually suspended and integrated jacks allow adjustment up to
300 mm.

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7.5.4 Shearlegs

Load-out by shearlegs is attractive for small jackets built on the quay. Smaller decks (up to 10
- 12 MN) can be loaded out on the decklegs pre-positioned on the barge, thus allowing deck
and deckleg to be installed in one lift offshore.

7.6 Platform Removal

In recent years platform removal has become common. The mode of removal depends
strongly on the regulations of the local authorities. Provision for removal should be considered
in the design phase.


8.1 Introduction

The majority of structural analyses are based on the linear theory of elasticity for total system
behaviour. Dynamic analysis is performed for the system behaviour under wave-attack if the
natural period exceeds 3 seconds. Many elements can exhibit local dynamic behaviour, e.g.
compressor foundations, flare-stacks, crane-pedestals, slender jacket members, conductors.

8.2 In-place Phase

Three types of analysis are performed:

• Survival state, under wave/current/wind attack with 50 or 100 years recurrence

• Operational state, under wave/current/wind attack with 1 or 5 years recurrence
period, under full operation.
• Fatigue assessment.
• Accidental.

All these analyses are performed on the complete and intact structure. Assessments at
damaged structures, e.g. with one member deleted, and assessments of collision situations
are occasionally performed.

8.3 Construction Phase

The load capacity over the projected ground area varies from approximately 55 to 85
The major phases of construction when structural integrity may be endangered are:

The units can drive in all directions and negotiate curves.

• Load-out
• Sea transport

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

• Upending of jackets 10. DEEP WATER DEVELOPMENTS

• Lifting.
Deep water introduces a wide range of extra difficulties for the operator, the designer and
9. COST ASPECTS constructor of offshore platforms.

9.1 Introduction Fixed platforms have recently been installed in water of 410 m. depth, i.e. "Bullwinkle"
developed by Shell Oil for a Gulf of Mexico location. The jacket weighed nearly 500 MN.
The economic feasibility of an offshore project depends on many aspects: capital expenditure
(CAPEX), tax, royalties, operational expenditure (OPEX). The maximum depth of water at platform sites in the North Sea is approximately 220 m at
present. The development of the Troll field situated in approximately 305 m deep water is
In a typical offshore field development, one third of the CAPEX is spent on the platform, one planned for 1993.
third on the drilling of wells and one third on the pipelines.
In the Gulf of Mexico and offshore California several fixed platforms in water depths of 250 -
Cost estimates are usually prepared in a deterministic approach. Recently cost-estimating 350 m are in operation (Cerveza, Cognac). Exxon has a guyed tower platform (Lena) in
using a probabilistic approach has been developed and adopted in major offshore projects. operation in 300 m deep water.

The CAPEX of an installed offshore platform topside amounts to approximately 20 ECU/kg. An option for deeper locations is to use subsea wells with flowlines to a nearby
(approximately maximum 10 km) fixed platform at a smaller water depth. Alternatively subsea
9.2 Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)
wells may be used with flexible risers to a floating production unit. Subsea wells are now
feasible for 300 - 900 m deep water. The deepest wells have been developed off Brasil in
The major elements in the CAPEX for an offshore platform are:
moderate weather conditions.

• project management and design

The tension leg platform (TLP) seems to be the most promising deepwater production unit
• material and equipment procurement
(Figure 11). It consists of a semi-submersible pontoon, tied to the seabed by vertical
• fabrication
prestressed tethers. The first TLP was Hutton in the North Sea and recently TLP-Jolliet was
• transport and installation
installed at a 530 m deep location in the Gulf of Mexico. Norwegian Snorre and Heidrun fields
• hook-up and commissioning.
have been developed with TLPs as well.

9.3 Operational Expenditure (OPEX)

In the North Sea approximately 20 percent of OPEX are required for offshore inspection,
maintenance and repair (IMR).

The amount to be spent on IMR over the project life can add up to approximately half the
original investment.

IMR is the area in which the structural engineer makes a contribution by effort in design,
selection of material, improved corrosion protection, accessibility, basic provisions for
scaffolding, avoiding jacket attachments dangerous to divers, etc.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1


AIR GAP Clearance between the top of maximum wave and underside of the topside.


CONDUCTORS The tubular protecting and guiding the drill string from the topside down to 40
to 100m under the sea bottom. After drilling it protects the well casing.

G.B.S. Gravity based structure, sitting flatly on the sea bottom, stable through its weight.

HOOK-UP Connecting components or systems, after installation offshore.

JACKET Tubular sub-structure under a topside, standing in the water and pile founded.

LOAD-OUT The operation of bringing the object (module, jacket, deck) from the quay onto the
transportation barge.

PADEARS (TRUNNIONS) Thick-walled tubular stubs, directly receiving slings and

transversely welded to the main structure.

PADEYES Thick-walled plate with hole, receiving the pin of the shackle, welded to the main

PIPELINE RISER The piping section which rises from the sea bed to topside level.
SEA-FASTENING The structure to keep the object rigidly connected to the barge during
• The lecture starts with the presentation of the importance of offshore hydro-carbon transport.
exploitation, the basic steps in the development process (from seismic exploration to
platform removal) and the introduction of the major structural concepts (jacket-based, SHACKLES Connecting element (bow + pin) between slings and padeyes.

GBS-based, TLP, floating).

SLINGS Cables with spliced eyed at both ends, for offshore lifting, the upper end resting in
• The major codes are identified.
the crane hook.
• For the fixed platform concepts (jacket and GBS), the different execution phases are
briefly explained: design, fabrication and installation. Special attention is given to the
SPREADER Tubular frame, used in lifting operation.
principles of topside design.
• A basic introduction to cost aspects is presented. SUBSEA TEMPLATE Structure at seabottom, to guide conductors prior to jacket installation.
• Finally terms are introduced within a glossary.
SUMPS Vertical pipes from topside down to 5-10 m below water level for intake or discharge.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

TOPSIDE Topside, the compact offshore process plant, with all auxiliaries, positioned above American Welding Society 1990.
the waves.
The structural offshore welding code.
UP ENDING Bringing the jacket in vertical position, prior to set down on the sea bottom.
[6] DnV/Marine Operations: Standard for insurance warranty surveys in marine operations.
Det norske Veritas June 1985.
A period of calm weather, defined on basis of operational limits for the offshore marine
operation. Regulations of a major certifying authority.

WELLHEAD AREA Area in topside where the wellheads are positioned including the valves [7] ABS: Rules for building and classing offshore installations, Part 1 Structures.

mounted on its top.

American Bureau of Shipping 1983.

Regulations of a major certifying authority.

[1] API-RP2A: Recommended practice for planning, designing and constructing fixed offshore
[8] BV: Rules and regulations for the construction and classification of offshore platforms.

Bureau Veritas, Paris 1975.

American Petroleum Institute 18th ed. 1989.

Regulations of a major certifying authority.

The structural offshore code, governs the majority of platforms.

[9] ANON: A primer of offshore operations.

[2] LRS Code for offshore platforms.

Petex Publ. Austin U.S.A 2nd ed. 1985.

Lloyds Register of Shipping.

Fundamental information about offshore oil and gas operations.

London (UK) 1988.

[10] AGJ Berkelder et al: Flexible deck joints.

Regulations of a major certifying authority.

ASME/OMAE-conference The Hague 1989 Vol.II pp. 753-760.

[3] DnV: Rules for the classification of fixed offshore installations.

Presents interesting new concept in GBS design.

Det Norske Veritas 1989.


Important set of rules.

1. BS 6235: Code of practice for fixed offshore structures.

[4] AISC: Specification for the design, fabrication and erection of structural steel for buildings.

British Standards Institution 1982.

American Institute of Steel Construction 1989.

Important code, mainly for the British offshore sector.

Widely used structural code for topsides.

2. DoE Offshore installations: Guidance on design and construction, U.K. Department of

[5] AWS D1.1-90: Structural Welding Code - Steel.
Energy 1990.

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Lecture 15A.1 Lecture 15A.1

Governmental regulations for British offshore sector only. 10. T.A. Doody et al: Important considerations for successful fabrication of offshore
3. UEG: Design of tubular joints (3 volumes).
OTC paper 5348, Houston 1986, pp 531-539.
UEG Offshore Research Publ. U.R.33 1985.
Valuable paper on fabrication aspects.
Important theoretical and practical book.
11. D.I. Karsan et al: An economic study on parameters influencing the cost of fixed
4. J. Wardenier: Hollow section joints. platforms.

Delft University Press 1981. OTC paper 5301, Houston 1986, pp 79-93.

Theoretical publication on tubular design including practical design formulae. Good presentation on offshore CAPEX assessment.

5. ARSEM: Design guides for offshore structures welded tubular joints.

Edition Technip, Paris (France), 1987.

Important theoretical and practical book.

6. D. Johnston: Field development options.

Oil & Gas Journal, May 5 1986, pp 132 - 142.

Good presentation on development options.

7. G. I. Claum et al: Offshore Structures: Vol 1: Conceptual Design and Hydri-

mechanics; Vol 2 - Strength and Safety for Structural design.

Springer Verlag, London 1992.

Fundamental publication on structural behaviour.

8. W.J. Graff: Introduction to offshore structures.

Gulf Publishing Company, Houston 1981.

Good general introduction to offshore structures.

9. B.C. Gerwick: Construction of offshore structures.

John Wiley & Sons, New York 1986.

Up to date presentation of offshore design and construction.

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Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

In civil engineering, earthquakes are normally regarded as accidental loads (see Eurocode 8
Loads (I): Introduction and Environmental Loads
[1]), but in offshore engineering they are treated as environmental loads. This practice is

OBJECTIVE/SCOPE followed in the two lectures dealing with loads, Lecture 15A.2 and 15A.3.

To introduce the types of loads for which a fixed steel offshore structure must be designed. To 2. ENVIRONMENTAL LOADS

present briefly the loads generated by environmental factors.

Environmental loads are those caused by environmental phenomena such as wind, waves,

PREREQUISITES current, tides, earthquakes, temperature, ice, sea bed movement, and marine growth. Their
characteristic parameters, defining design load values, are determined in special studies on
A basic knowledge of structural analysis for static and dynamic loadings. the basis of available data. According to US and Norwegian regulations (or codes of practice),
the mean recurrence interval for the corresponding design event must be 100 years, while
SUMMARY according to the British rules it should be 50 years or greater. Details of design criteria,
simplifying assumptions, required data, etc., can be found in the regulations and codes of
The categories of load for which a pile supported steel offshore platform must be designed
practice listed in [1] - [8].
are introduced and then the different types of environmental loads are presented. The loads
include: wind, wave, current, earthquake, ice and snow, temperature, sea bed movement, 2.1 Wind Loads
marine growth and tide generated loads. Loads due to wind, waves and earthquake are
discussed in more detail together with their idealizations for the various types of analyses. Wind loads act on the portion of a platform above the water level, as well as on any
Frequent references are made to the codes of practice recommended by the American equipment, housing, derrick, etc. located on the deck. An important parameter pertaining to
Petroleum Institute, Det Norske Veritas, the British Standards Institution and the British wind data is the time interval over which wind speeds are averaged. For averaging intervals
Department of Energy, as well as to the relevant regulations of the Norwegian Petroleum less than one minute, wind speeds are classified as gusts. For averaging intervals of one
Directorate. minute or longer they are classified as sustained wind speeds.

1. INTRODUCTION The wind velocity profile may be taken from API-RP2A [2]:

The loads for which an offshore structure must be designed can be classified into the Vh/VH = (h/H)1/n …………………..(1)
following categories:
1. Permanent (dead) loads.
2. Operating (live) loads. Vh is the wind velocity at height h,

3. Environmental loads including earthquakes.

VH is the wind velocity at reference height H, typically 10m above mean water level,
4. Construction - installation loads.
5. Accidental loads.
1/n is 1/13 to 1/7, depending on the sea state, the distance from land and the averaging time
interval. It is approximately equal to 1/13 for gusts and 1/8 for sustained winds in the open
Whilst the design of buildings onshore is usually influenced mainly by the permanent and
operating loads, the design of offshore structures is dominated by environmental loads,
especially waves, and the loads arising in the various stages of construction and installation.
From the design wind velocity V(m/s), the static wind force Fw(N) acting perpendicular to an
This lecture deals with environmental loads, whilst the other loadings are treated in Lecture
exposed area A(m2) can be computed as follows:

Fw = (1/2) ρ V2 Cs A ……………………(2)

Page 1 of 16 Page 2 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

where: Two different analysis concepts are used:

ρ is the wind density (ρ ≈ 1.225 Kg/m3) • The design wave concept, where a regular wave of given height and period is defined
and the forces due to this wave are calculated using a high-order wave theory.
Cs is the shape coefficient (Cs = 1,5 for beams and sides of buildings, Cs = 0,5 for cylindrical Usually the 100-year wave, i.e. the maximum wave with a return period of 100 years,
sections and Cs = 1,0 for total projected area of platform). is chosen. No dynamic behavior of the structure is considered. This static analysis is
appropriate when the dominant wave periods are well above the period of the
Shielding and solidity effects can be accounted for, in the judgment of the designer, using
structure. This is the case of extreme storm waves acting on shallow water structures.
appropriate coefficients.
• Statistical analysis on the basis of a wave scatter diagram for the location of the
structure. Appropriate wave spectra are defined to perform the analysis in the
For combination with wave loads, the DNV [4] and DOE-OG [7] rules recommend the most
frequency domain and to generate random waves, if dynamic analyses for extreme
unfavorable of the following two loadings:
wave loadings are required for deepwater structures. With statistical methods, the

a. 1-minute sustained wind speeds combined with extreme waves. most probable maximum force during the lifetime of the structure is calculated using
linear wave theory. The statistical approach has to be chosen to analyze the fatigue
b. 3-second gusts. strength and the dynamic behavior of the structure.

API-RP2A [2] distinguishes between global and local wind load effects. For the first case it 2.2.1 Wave theories
gives guideline values of mean 1-hour average wind speeds to be combined with extreme
waves and current. For the second case it gives values of extreme wind speeds to be used Wave theories describe the kinematics of waves of water on the basis of potential theory. In

without regard to waves. particular, they serve to calculate the particle velocities and accelerations and the dynamic
pressure as functions of the surface elevation of the waves. The waves are assumed to be
Wind loads are generally taken as static. When, however, the ratio of height to the least long-crested, i.e. they can be described by a two-dimensional flow field, and are characterized
horizontal dimension of the wind exposed object (or structure) is greater than 5, then this by the parameters: wave height (H), period (T) and water depth (d) as shown in Figure 1.
object (or structure) could be wind sensitive. API-RP2A requires the dynamic effects of the
wind to be taken into account in this case and the flow induced cyclic wind loads due to vortex
shedding must be investigated.

2.2 Wave Loads

The wave loading of an offshore structure is usually the most important of all environmental
loadings for which the structure must be designed. The forces on the structure are caused by
the motion of the water due to the waves which are generated by the action of the wind on the
surface of the sea. Determination of these forces requires the solution of two separate,
though interrelated problems. The first is the sea state computed using an idealization of the
wave surface profile and the wave kinematics given by an appropriate wave theory. The
Different wave theories of varying complexity, developed on the basis of simplifying
second is the computation of the wave forces on individual members and on the total
assumptions, are appropriate for different ranges of the wave parameters. Among the most
structure, from the fluid motion.
common theories are: the linear Airy theory, the Stokes fifth-order theory, the solitary wave
theory, the cnoidal theory, Dean's stream function theory and the numerical theory by
Chappelear. For the selection of the most appropriate theory, the graph shown in Figure 2
may be consulted. As an example, Table 1 presents results of the linear wave theory for finite

Page 3 of 16 Page 4 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

depth and deep water conditions. Corresponding particle paths are illustrated in Figures 3 and
4. Note the strong influence of the water depth on the wave kinematics. Results from high-
order wave theories can be found in the literature, e.g. see [9].

2.2.2 Wave Statistics

In reality waves do not occur as regular waves, but as irregular sea states. The irregular
appearance results from the linear superposition of an infinite number of regular waves with
varying frequency (Figure 5). The best means to describe a random sea state is using the
wave energy density spectrum S(f), usually called the wave spectrum for simplicity. It is
formulated as a function of the wave frequency f using the parameters: significant wave
height Hs (i.e. the mean of the highest third of all waves present in a wave train) and mean
wave period (zero-upcrossing period) To. As an additional parameter the spectral width can
be taken into account.

Page 5 of 16 Page 6 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

Wave directionality can be introduced by means of a directional spreading function D(f, ), maximum forces and motions have to be calculated by statistical methods or a time-domain
where σ is the angle of the wave approach direction (Figure 6). A directional wave spectrum S analysis.
(f,σ) can then be defined as:
2.2.3 Wave forces on structural members
S (f,σ ) = S(f).D (f,σ ) ………………...….(3)
Structures exposed to waves experience substantial forces much higher than wind loadings.
The forces result from the dynamic pressure and the water particle motions. Two different
cases can be distinguished:

• Large volume bodies, termed hydrodynamic compact structures, influence the wave
field by diffraction and reflection. The forces on these bodies have to be determined
by costly numerical calculations based on diffraction theory.
• Slender, hydrodynamically transparent structures have no significant influence on the
wave field. The forces can be calculated in a straight-forward manner with Morison's
equation. As a rule, Morison's equation may be applied when D/L 0.2, where D is
the member diameter and L is the wave length.

The steel jackets of offshore structures can usually be regarded as hydrodynamically

transparent. The wave forces on the submerged members can therefore be calculated by
Morison's equation, which expresses the wave force as the sum of an inertia force
proportional to the particle acceleration and a non-linear drag force proportional to the square
of the particle velocity:

..................................... (4)

The response of the structure, i.e. forces, motions, is calculated by multiplication of the wave
energy spectrum with the square of a linear transfer function. From the resulting response F is the wave force per unit length on a circular cylinder (N)

spectrum the significant and the maximum expected response in a given time interval can be
v, |v| are water particle velocity normal to the cylinder, calculated with the selected wave
easily deduced.
theory at the cylinder axis (m/s)

For long-term statistics, a wave scatter diagram for the location of the structure is needed. It
are water particle acceleration normal to the cylinder, calculated with the selected wave
can be obtained from measurements over a long period or be deduced from weather
theory at the cylinder axis (m/s2)
observations in the region (the so-called hindcast method). The scatter diagram contains the
joint probability of occurrence of pairs of significant wave height and mean wave period. For
ρ is the water density (kg/m3)
every pair of parameters the wave spectrum is calculated by a standard formula, e.g. Pierson-
Moskowitz (Figure 6), yielding finally the desired response spectrum. For fatigue analysis the D is the member diameter, including marine growth (m)
total number and amplitude of load cycles during the life-time of the structure can be derived
in this way. For structures with substantial dynamic response to the wave excitation, the CD, CM are drag and inertia coefficients, respectively.

Page 7 of 16 Page 8 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

In this form the equation is valid for fixed tubular cylinders. For the analysis of the motion square of the velocity, this addition can greatly increase the forces on a platform. For slender
response of a structure it has to be modified to account for the motion of the cylinder [10]. The members, cyclic loads induced by vortex shedding may also be important and should be
values of CD and CM depend on the wave theory used, surface roughness and the flow examined.
parameters. According to API-RP2A, CD ≈ 0,6 to 1,2 and CM ≈ 1,3 to 2,0. Additional
information can be found in the DNV rules [4].

The total wave force on each member is obtained by numerical integration over the length of
the member. The fluid velocities and accelerations at the integration points are found by direct
application of the selected wave theory.

According to Morison's equation the drag force is non-linear. This non-linear formulation is
used in the design wave concept. However, for the determination of a transfer function
needed for frequency domain calculations, the drag force has to be linearized in a suitable
way [9]. Thus, frequency domain solutions are appropriate for fatigue life calculations, for
which the forces due to the operational level waves are dominated by the linear inertia term.
The nonlinear formulation and hence time domain solutions are required for dynamic
analyses of deepwater structures under extreme, storm waves, for which the drag portion of
the force is the dominant part [10].

2.4 Earthquake Loads

In addition to the forces given by Morison's equation, the lift forces FD and the slamming
forces FS, typically neglected in global response computations, can be important for local
Offshore structures in seismic regions are typically designed for two levels of earthquake
member design. For a member section of unit length, these forces can be estimated as
intensity: the strength level and the ductility level earthquake. For the strength level
earthquake, defined as having a "reasonable likelihood of not being exceeded during the
platform's life" (mean recurrence interval ~ 200 - 500 years), the structure is designed to
FL = (1/2) ρ CL Dv2 ................................. (5)
respond elastically. For the ductility level earthquake, defined as close to the "maximum
FS = (1/2) ρ Cs Dv2 ................................. (6) credible earthquake" at the site, the structure is designed for inelastic response and to have
adequate reserve strength to avoid collapse.
where CL, CS are the lift and slamming coefficients respectively, and the rest of the symbols
are as defined in Morison's equation. Lift forces are perpendicular to the member axis and the For strength level design, the seismic loading may be specified either by sets of
fluid velocity v and are related to the vortex shedding frequency. Slamming forces acting on accelerograms (Figure 8) or by means of design response spectra (Figure 9). Use of design
the underside of horizontal members near the mean water level are impulsive and nearly spectra has a number of advantages over time history solutions (base acceleration input). For
vertical. Lift forces can be estimated by taking CL ≈ 1,3 CD. For tubular members Cs ≈ π. this reason design response spectra are the preferable approach for strength level designs. If
the design spectral intensity, characteristic of the seismic hazard at the site, is denoted by
2.3 Current Loads amax, then API-RP2A recommends using amax for the two principal horizontal directions and
0,5amax for the vertical direction. The DNV rules, on the other hand, recommend amax and 0,7
There are tidal, circulation and storm generated currents. Figure 7 shows a wind and tidal
amax for the two horizontal directions (two different combinations) and 0,5 amax for the vertical.
current profile typical of the Gulf of Mexico. When insufficient field measurements are
The value of amax and often the spectral shapes are determined by site specific seismological
available, current velocities may be obtained from various sources, e.g. Appendix A of DNV
[4]. In platform design, the effects of current superimposed on waves are taken into account
by adding the corresponding fluid velocities vectorially. Since the drag force varies with the

Page 9 of 16 Page 10 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

which are usually the result of a site specific seismotectonic study. More detail of the analysis
of earthquakes is given in the Lectures 17: Seismic Design.

2.5 Ice and Snow Loads

Ice is a primary problem for marine structures in the arctic and sub-arctic zones. Ice formation
and expansion can generate large pressures that give rise to horizontal as well as vertical
forces. In addition, large blocks of ice driven by current, winds and waves with speeds that
can approach 0,5 to 1,0 m/s, may hit the structure and produce impact loads.

As a first approximation, statically applied, horizontal ice forces may be estimated as follows:

Fi = CifcA ......................................... (7)


A is the exposed area of structure,

fc is the compressive strength of ice,

Ci is the coefficient accounting for shape, rate of load application and other factors, with usual
values between 0,3 and 0,7.

Generally, detailed studies based on field measurements, laboratory tests and analytical work
are required to develop reliable design ice forces for a given geographical location.

In addition to these forces, ice formation and snow accumulations increase gravity and wind
loads, the latter by increasing areas exposed to the action of wind. More detailed information
on snow loads may be found in Eurocode 1 [8].

2.6 Loads due to Temperature Variations

Offshore structures can be subjected to temperature gradients which produce thermal

stresses. To take account of such stresses, extreme values of sea and air temperatures
which are likely to occur during the life of the structure must be estimated. Relevant data for
the North Sea are given in BS6235 [6]. In addition to the environmental sources, human
factors can also generate thermal loads, e.g. through accidental release of cryogenic material,
Designs for ductility level earthquakes will normally require inelastic analyses for which the
which must be taken into account in design as accidental loads. The temperature of the oil
seismic input must be specified by sets of 3-component accelerograms, real or artificial,
and gas produced must also be considered.
representative of the extreme ground motions that could shake the platform site. The
characteristics of such motions, however, may still be prescribed by means of design spectra,

Page 11 of 16 Page 12 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

2.7 Marine Growth 2.9 Sea Floor Movements

Marine growth is accumulated on submerged members. Its main effect is to increase the Movement of the sea floor can occur as a result of active geologic processes, storm wave
wave forces on the members by increasing not only exposed areas and volumes, but also the pressures, earthquakes, pressure reduction in the producing reservoir, etc. The loads
drag coefficient due to higher surface roughness. In addition, it increases the unit mass of the generated by such movements affect, not only the design of the piles, but the jacket as well.
member, resulting in higher gravity loads and in lower member frequencies. Depending upon Such forces are determined by special geotechnical studies and investigations.
geographic location, the thickness of marine growth can reach 0,3m or more. It is accounted
for in design through appropriate increases in the diameters and masses of the submerged 3. CONCLUDING SUMMARY

• Environmental loads form a major category of loads which control many aspects of

2.8 Tides platform design.

• The main environmental loads are due to wind, waves, current, earthquakes, ice and
Tides affect the wave and current loads indirectly, i.e. through the variation of the level of the snow, temperature variations, marine growth, tides and seafloor movements.
sea surface. The tides are classified as: (a) astronomical tides - caused essentially from the • Widely accepted rules of practice, listed as [1] - [13], provide guideline values for
gravitational pull of the moon and the sun and (b) storm surges - caused by the combined most environmental loads.
action of wind and barometric pressure differentials during a storm. The combined effect of • For major structures, specification of environmental design loads requires specific
the two types of tide is called the storm tide. Tide dependent water levels and the associated studies.
definitions, as used in platform design, are shown in Figure 10. The astronomical tide range • Some environmental loads can be highly uncertain.
depends on the geographic location and the phase of the moon. Its maximum, the spring tide, • The definition of certain environmental loads depends upon the type of analysis used
occurs at new moon. The range varies from centimeters to several meters and may be in the design.
obtained from special maps. Storm surges depend upon the return period considered and
their range is on the order of 1,0 to 3,0m. When designing a platform, extreme storm waves 4. REFERENCES

are superimposed on the still water level (see Figure 10), while for design considerations such
[1] Eurocode 8: "Structures in Seismic Regions - Design", CEN (in preparation).
as levels for boat landing places, barge fenders, upper limits of marine growth, etc., the daily
variations of the astronomical tide are used.
[2] API-RP2A, "Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed
Offshore Platforms", American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., 18th ed., 1989.

[3] OCS, "Requirements for Verifying the Structural Integrity of OCS Platforms"., United
States Geologic Survey, National Centre, Reston, Virginia, 1980.

[4] DNV, "Rules for the Design, Construction and Inspection of Offshore Structures", Det
Norske Veritas, Oslo, 1977 (with corrections 1982).

[5] NPD, "Regulation for Structural Design of Load-bearing Structures Intended for
Exploitation of Petroleum Resources", Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, 1985.

[6] BS6235, "Code of Practice for Fixed Offshore Structures", British Standards Institution,
London, 1982.

[7] DOE-OG, "Offshore Installation: Guidance on Design and Construction", U.K., Dept. of
Energy, London 1985.

Page 13 of 16 Page 14 of 16
Lecture 15A.2 Lecture 15A.2

[8] Eurocode 1: "Basis of Design and Actions on Structures", CEN (in preparation).

Wave celerity c = c=
[9] Clauss, G. T. et al: "Offshore Structures, Vol 1 - Conceptual Design and Hydromechanics", co =
Springer, London 1992.

Group velocity cgr =

[10] Anagnostopoulos, S.A., "Dynamic Response of Offshore Structures to Extreme Waves cgr = cgr =
including Fluid - Structure Interaction", Engr. Structures, Vol. 4, pp.179-185, 1982.
ω= ω=
Circular frequency ω =
[11] Hsu, H.T., "Applied Offshore Structural Engineering", Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, 1981.

[12] Graff, W.J., "Introduction to Offshore Structures", Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, 1981.
Lo = L=
Wave length L =

[13] Gerwick, B.C. Jr., "Construction of Offshore Structures", John Wiley, New York, 1986.

Table 1 Results of Linear Airy Theory [11] Wave number k = ko = kd tanh kd =

Water particle displacements

Phase θ = kx - ω t Deep water Finite water depth
horizontal ξ -ζa ekz sin θ
Relative water depth d/L d/L ≥ 0,5 d/L < 0,5
vertical ζ ζa ekz cos θ
Velocity potential θ

Surface elevation z
ζa cos θ
ζa cos θ
Particle trajectories Circular orbits Elliptical orbits
ρ gζa ekz cos θ
Dynamic pressure pdyn =

Water particle velocities

Where ζ a =
ζa ω ekz cos θ
horizontal u =

vertical w = ζa ω ekz sin θ

Water particle accelerations

ζa ω2 ekz sin θ
horizontal u' =

vertical w' = -ζa ω2 ekz cos θ

Page 15 of 16 Page 16 of 16
Lecture 15A.3 Lecture 15A.3

Sealed tubular members must be designed for the worst condition when flooded or non-
Loads (II): Other Loads


To present and briefly describe all loads, except environmental loads, and the load
Operating loads arise from the operations on the platform and include the weight of all non-
combinations for which a fixed offshore structure must be designed.
permanent equipment or material, as well as forces generated during operation of equipment.

PREREQUISITES More specifically, operating loads include the following:

A basic knowledge of structural analysis for static and dynamic loadings. a. The weight of all non-permanent equipment (e.g. drilling, production), facilities (e.g. living
quarters, furniture, life support systems, heliport, etc), consumable supplies, liquids, etc.
b. Forces generated during operations, e.g. drilling, vessel mooring, helicopter landing, crane
The various categories of loads, except environmental, for which a pile-supported steel operations, etc.
offshore platform must be designed are presented. These categories include permanent
(dead) loads, operating (live) loads, loads generated during fabrication and installation (due to The necessary data for computation of all operating loads are provided by the operator and

lifts, loadout, transportation, launching and upending) and accidental loads. In addition, the the equipment manufacturers. The data need to be critically evaluated by the designer. An

different load combinations for all types of loads, including environmental, as required (or example of detailed live load specification is given in Table 1 where the values in the first and

suggested) by applicable regulations (or codes of practice) are given. second columns are for design of the portions of the structure directly affected by the loads
and the reduced values in the last column are for the structure as a whole. In the absence of
The categories of loads described herein are the following: such data, the following values are recommended in BS6235 [1]:

1. Permanent (dead) loads a. crew quarters and passageways: 3,2 KN/m2

2. Operating (live) loads
3. Fabrication and installation loads b. working areas: 8,5 KN/m2

4. Accidental loads
c. storage areas: γH KN/m2

The major categories of environmental loads are not included. They are dealt with in Lecture

γ is the specific weight of stored materials, not to be taken less than 6,87KN/m3,

H is the storage height (m).

Permanent loads include the following:

Forces generated during operations are often dynamic or impulsive in nature and must be
a. Weight of the structure in air, including the weight of grout and ballast, if necessary.
treated as such. For example, according to the BS6235 rules, two types of helicopter landing

b. Weights of equipment, attachments or associated structures which are permanently should be considered, heavy and emergency landing. The impact load in the first case is to

mounted on the platform. be taken as 1,5 times the maximum take-off weight, while in the second case this factor
becomes 2,5. In addition, a horizontal load applied at the points of impact and taken equal to
c. Hydrostatic forces on the various members below the waterline. These forces include half the maximum take-off weight must be considered. Loads from rotating machinery, drilling
buoyancy and hydrostatic pressures. equipment, etc. may normally be treated as harmonic forces. For vessel mooring, design

Page 1 of 13 Page 2 of 13
Lecture 15A.3 Lecture 15A.3

forces are computed for the largest ship likely to approach at operational speeds. According
to BS6235, the minimum impact to be considered is of a vessel of 2500 tonnes at 0,5 m/s.


These loads are temporary and arise during fabrication and installation of the platform or its
components. During fabrication, erection lifts of various structural components generate lifting
forces, while in the installation phase forces are generated during platform loadout,
transportation to the site, launching and upending, as well as during lifts related to installation.

According to the DNV rules [2], the return period for computing design environmental
conditions for installation as well as fabrication should normally be three times the duration of
the corresponding phase. API-RP2A, on the other hand [3], leaves this design return period
up to the owner, while the BS6235 rules [1] recommend a minimum recurrence interval of 10
years for the design environmental loads associated with transportation of the structure to the
offshore site.

3.1 Lifting Forces

Lifting forces are functions of the weight of the structural component being lifted, the number
and location of lifting eyes used for the lift, the angle between each sling and the vertical axis
and the conditions under which the lift is performed (Figure 1). All members and connections
of a lifted component must be designed for the forces resulting from static equilibrium of the
lifted weight and the sling tensions. Moreover, API-RP2A recommends that in order to
compensate for any side movements, lifting eyes and the connections to the supporting
structural members should be designed for the combined action of the static sling load and a
horizontal force equal to 5% this load, applied perpendicular to the padeye at the centre of the
pin hole. All these design forces are applied as static loads if the lifts are performed in the
fabrication yard. If, however, the lifting derrick or the structure to be lifted is on a floating
vessel, then dynamic load factors should be applied to the static lifting forces. In particular, for
3.2 Loadout Forces
lifts made offshore API-RP2A recommends two minimum values of dynamic load factors: 2,0
and 1,35. The first is for designing the padeyes as well as all members and their end These are forces generated when the jacket is loaded from the fabrication yard onto the
connections framing the joint where the padeye is attached, while the second is for all other barge. If the loadout is carried out by direct lift, then, unless the lifting arrangement is different
members transmitting lifting forces. For loadout at sheltered locations, the corresponding from that to be used for installation, lifting forces need not be computed, because lifting in the
minimum load factors for the two groups of structural components become, according to API- open sea creates a more severe loading condition which requires higher dynamic load
RP2A, 1,5 and 1,15, respectively. factors. If loadout is done by skidding the structure onto the barge, a number of static loading
conditions must be considered, with the jacket supported on its side. Such loading conditions
arise from the different positions of the jacket during the loadout phases, (as shown in Figure
2), from movement of the barge due to tidal fluctuations, marine traffic or change of draft, and
from possible support settlements. Since movement of the jacket is slow, all loading

Page 3 of 13 Page 4 of 13
Lecture 15A.3 Lecture 15A.3

conditions can be taken as static. Typical values of friction coefficients for calculation of conditions of the structure (by barge or by buoyancy) and also on the environmental
skidding forces are the following: conditions (waves, winds and currents) that are encountered during transportation. The types
of motion that a floating structure may experience are shown schematically in Figure 3.
• steel on steel without lubrication..................................... 0,25
• steel on steel with lubrication...........................................0,15
• steel on teflon.................................................................. 0,10
• teflon on teflon................................................................. 0,08

In order to minimize the associated risks and secure safe transport from the fabrication yard
to the platform site, it is important to plan the operation carefully by considering, according to
API-RP2A [3], the following:

1. Previous experience along the tow route

2. Exposure time and reliability of predicted "weather windows"
3. Accessibility of safe havens
4. Seasonal weather system
5. Appropriate return period for determining design wind, wave and current conditions,
3.3 Transportation Forces
taking into account characteristics of the tow such as size, structure, sensitivity and
These forces are generated when platform components (jacket, deck) are transported
offshore on barges or self-floating. They depend upon the weight, geometry and support

Page 5 of 13 Page 6 of 13
Lecture 15A.3 Lecture 15A.3

Transportation forces are generated by the motion of the tow, i.e. the structure and supporting 3.4 Launching and Upending Forces
barge. They are determined from the design winds, waves and currents. If the structure is
self-floating, the loads can be calculated directly. According to API-RP2A [3], towing analyses These forces are generated during the launch of a jacket from the barge into the sea and

must be based on the results of model basin tests or appropriate analytical methods and must during the subsequent upending into its proper vertical position to rest on the seabed. A

consider wind and wave directions parallel, perpendicular and at 45 to the tow axis. Inertial schematic view of these operations can be seen in Figure 5.

loads may be computed from a rigid body analysis of the tow by combining roll and pitch with
heave motions, when the size of the tow, magnitude of the sea state and experience make
such assumptions reasonable. For open sea conditions, the following may be considered as
typical design values:

1. Single - amplitude roll: 20°

2. Single - amplitude pitch: 10°
3. Period of roll or pitch: 10 second
4. Heave acceleration: 0,2 g

When transporting a large jacket by barge, stability against capsizing is a primary design
consideration because of the high centre of gravity of the jacket. Moreover, the relative
stiffness of jacket and barge may need to be taken into account together with the wave
slamming forces that could result during a heavy roll motion of the tow (Figure 4) when
structural analyses are carried out for designing the tie-down braces and the jacket members
affected by the induced loads. Special computer programs are available to compute the
transportation loads in the structure-barge system and the resulting stresses for any specified There are five stages in a launch-upending operation:

environmental condition.
1. Jacket slides along the skid beams
2. Jacket rotates on the rocker arms
3. Jacket rotates and slides simultaneously
4. Jacket detaches completely and comes to its floating equilibrium position
5. Jacket is upended by a combination of controlled flooding and simultaneous lifting by
a derrick barge.

The loads, static as well as dynamic, induced during each of these stages and the force
required to set the jacket into motion can be evaluated by appropriate analyses, which also
consider the action of wind, waves and currents expected during the operation.

To start the launch, the barge must be ballasted to an appropriate draft and trim angle and
subsequently the jacket must be pulled towards the stern by a winch. Sliding of the jacket
starts as soon as the downward force (gravity component and winch pull) exceeds the friction
force. As the jacket slides, its weight is supported on the two legs that are part of the launch
trusses. The support length keeps decreasing and reaches a minimum, equal to the length of
the rocker beams, when rotation starts. It is generally at this instant that the most severe
launching forces develop as reactions to the weight of the jacket. During stages (d) and (e),

Page 7 of 13 Page 8 of 13
Lecture 15A.3 Lecture 15A.3

variable hydrostatic forces arise which have to be considered at all members affected. The DNV rules [2] permit allowable stress design but recommend the semi-probabilistic limit
Buoyancy calculations are required for every stage of the operation to ensure fully controlled, state design method, which the NPD rules also require [4]. BS6235 permits both methods but
stable motion. Computer programs are available to perform the stress analyses required for the design equations it gives are for the allowable stress method [1]. API-RP2A is very
launching and upending and also to portray the whole operation graphically. specific in recommending not to apply limit state methods. According to the DNV and the NPD
rules for limit state design, four limit states must be checked:
1. Ultimate limit state
According to the DNV rules [2], accidental loads are loads, ill-defined with respect to intensity
and frequency, which may occur as a result of accident or exceptional circumstances. For this limit state the following two loading combinations must be used:
Accidental loads are also specified as a separate category in the NPD regulations [4], but not
in API-RP2A [3], BS6235 [1] or the DOE-OG rules [5]. Examples of accidental loads are loads Ordinary: 1,3 P + 1,3 L + 1,0 D + 0,7 E, and

due to collision with vessels, fire or explosion, dropped objects, and unintended flooding of
Extreme : 1,0 P + 1,0 L + 1,0 D + 1,3 E
buoyancy tanks. Special measures are normally taken to reduce the risk from accidental
loads. For example, protection of wellheads or other critical equipment from a dropped object
where P, L, D and E stand for Permanent (dead), Operating (live), Deformation (e.g.,
can be provided by specially designed, impact resistant covers. According to the NPD
temperature, differential settlement) and Environmental loads respectively. For well
regulations [4], an accidental load can be disregarded if its annual probability of occurrence is
controlled dead and live loads during fabrication and installation, the load factor 1,3
less than 10-4. This number is meant as an order of magnitude estimate and is extremely
may be reduced to 1,2. Furthermore, for structures that are unmanned during storm
difficult to compute. Earthquakes are treated as an environmental load in offshore structure
conditions and which are not used for storage of oil and gas, the 1,3 load factor for
environmental loads - except earthquakes - may be reduced to 1,15.

2. Fatigue limit state

The load combinations used for designing fixed offshore structures depend upon the design
All load factors are to be taken as 1,0.
method used, i.e. whether limit state or allowable stress design is employed. The load
combinations recommended for use with allowable stress procedures are: 3. Progressive Collapse limit state

a. Dead loads plus operating environmental loads plus maximum live loads, appropriate All load factors are to be taken as 1,0.
to normal operations of the platform.
b. Dead loads plus operating environmental loads plus minimum live loads, appropriate 4. Serviceability limit state
to normal operations of the platform.
c. Dead loads plus extreme (design) environmental loads plus maximum live loads, All load factors are to be taken as 1,0.

appropriate for combining with extreme conditions.

The so-called characteristic values of the loads used in the above combinations and limit
d. Dead loads plus extreme (design) environmental loads plus minimum live loads,
states are summarized in Table 2, taken from the NPD rules.
appropriate for combining with extreme conditions.

Moreover, environmental loads, with the exception of earthquake loads, should be combined
in a manner consistent with their joint probability of occurrence during the loading condition
• In addition to environmental loads, an offshore structure must be designed for dead
considered. Earthquake loads, if applicable, are to be imposed as a separate environmental
and live loads, fabrication and installation loads as well as accidental loads.
load, i.e., not to be combined with waves, wind, etc. Operating environmental conditions are
• Widely accepted rules of practice, listed in the references, are usually followed for
defined as representative of severe but not necessarily limiting conditions that, if exceeded,
specifying such loads.
would require cessation of platform operations.

Page 9 of 13 Page 10 of 13
Lecture 15A.3 Lecture 15A.3

• The type and magnitude of fabrication, transportation and installation loads depend Table 1 Minimum design live load specification
upon the methods and sequences used for the corresponding phases.
• Dynamic and impact effects are normally taken into account by means of appropriate For the structure
Loads to be taken into account (kN/m2) For portions of the structure
dynamic load factors. as a whole
• Accidental loads are not well defined with respect to intensity and probability of
occurrence. They will typically require special protective measures. Flooring
Zone considered Other components (3)
• Load combinations and load factors depend upon the design method to be used. API- and joists

RP2A is based on allowable stress design and recommends against limit state
Process zone (around wells and large-
design, BSI favours allowable stress design, while DNV and NPD recommend limit 5 (1) 5 (1) 2.5
scale machines)
state design.

Drilling zone 5 (1) 5 (1) 2.5


Catwalks and walking platforms (except

[1] BS6235, "Code of Practice for Fixed Offshore Structures", British Standards Institution, 3 2.5 1
emergency exits)
London, 1982.
Stairways (except emergency exits) 4 3 0
[2] "Rules for the Design, Construction and Inspection of Offshore Structures", Det Norske
Veritas (DNV), Oslo, 1977 (with corrections 1982). Module roofing 2 1.5 1

[3] API-RP2A, "Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed Emergency exits 5 5 0

Offshore Platforms", American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., 18th ed., 1989.

[4] "Regulation for Structural Design of Load-bearing Structures Intended for Exploitation of
Storage floors - heavy 18 12 8 (2)
Petroleum Resources", Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), 1985.

Storage floors - light 9 6 4 (2)

[5] DOE-OG, "Offshore Installation: Guidance on Design and Construction", U.K. Department
of Energy, London 1985.
Delivery zone 10 10 5

Non-attributed area 6 4 3

1. OCS, "Requirements for Verifying the Structural Integrity of OCS Platforms"., United
States Geologic Survey, National Centre, Reston, Virginia, 1980. (1) Accumulated with a point load equal to the weight of the heaviest part likely to be

2. Hsu, H.T., "Applied Offshore Structural Engineering", Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, removed, with a minimum value of 5 kN. Point loads are assumed as being applied to a 0,3m

1981. × 0,3m surface.

3. Graff, W.G., "Introduction to Offshore Structures", Gulf Publishing Co., Houston,

(2) Applied on the entirety of the flooring surface (including traffic).
4. Gerwick, B.C. Jr., "Construction of Offshore Structures", John Wiley, New York, 1986.
(3) This column gives the loads to be taken into account for the structure's overall calculation.
These values are the input for the computer runs.

Page 11 of 13 Page 12 of 13
Lecture 15A.3

Table 2 Characteristic Loads according to NPD [4]



Progressive Collapse Progressive Collapse
Service Fatigue Ultimate Serviceability Fatigue Ultimate
Abnormal Damage Abnormal
Damage condition
effects condition effects




dent on
Expect Value Expect Annual exceedanc
ENVIRON operati
ed load dependent on Dependent on operational requirements ed load exceedance e Annual exceedance probability 10-2
history measures taken history probability 10 -2 probability

Dependent on exceedanc
requirements probability

Page 13 of 13
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

Analysis I
The analytical models used in offshore engineering are in some respects similar to those
adopted for other types of steel structures. Only the salient features of offshore models are

To present the main analysis procedures for offshore structures. presented here.

PREREQUISITES The same model is used throughout the analysis process with only minor adjustments being
made to suit the specific conditions, e.g. at supports in particular, relating to each analysis.
Lecture 15A.1: Offshore Structures: General Introduction
2.1 Stick Models
Lecture 15A.2: Loads I: Introduction and Environmental Loads
Stick models (beam elements assembled in frames) are used extensively for tubular
Lecture 15A.3: Loads II: Other Loads structures (jackets, bridges, flare booms) and lattice trusses (modules, decks).


Lecture 15A.5: Analysis II Each member is normally rigidly fixed at its ends to other elements in the model.

SUMMARY If more accuracy is required, particularly for the assessment of natural vibration modes, local
flexibility of the connections may be represented by a joint stiffness matrix.
Analytical models used in offshore engineering are briefly described. Acceptance criteria for
the verification of offshore structures are presented. 2.1.2 Members

Simple rules for preliminary member sizing are given and procedures for static in-place and In addition to its geometrical and material properties, each member is characterized by
dynamic analysis are described. hydrodynamic coefficients, e.g. relating to drag, inertia, and marine growth, to allow wave
forces to be automatically generated.
2.2 Plate Models
The analysis of an offshore structure is an extensive task, embracing consideration of the
different stages, i.e. execution, installation, and in-service stages, during its life. Many Integrated decks and hulls of floating platforms involving large bulkheads are described by
disciplines, e.g. structural, geotechnical, naval architecture, metallurgy are involved. plate elements. The characteristics assumed for the plate elements depend on the principal
state of stress which they are subjected to. Membrane stresses are taken when the element
This lecture and Lecture 15A.5 are purposely limited to presenting an overview of available is subjected merely to axial load and shear. Plate stresses are adopted when bending and
analysis procedures and providing benchmarks for the reader to appreciate the validity of his lateral pressure are to be taken into account.
assumptions and results. They primarily address jackets, which are more unusual structures
compared to decks and modules, and which more closely resemble onshore petro-chemical 3. ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA
3.1 Code Checks

The verification of an element consists of comparing its characteristic resistance(s) to a

design force or stress. It includes:

Page 1 of 14 Page 2 of 14
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

• a strength check, where the characteristic resistance is related to the yield strength of Partial factors are applied to the loads and to the characteristic resistance of the element,
the element, reflecting the amount of confidence placed in the design value of each parameter and the
• a stability check for elements in compression where the characteristic resistance degree of risk accepted under a limit state, i.e:
relates to the buckling limit of the element.
• Ultimate Limit State (ULS):
An element (member or plate) is checked at typical sections (at least both ends and midspan)
against resistance and buckling. This verification also includes the effect of water pressure for corresponds to an ultimate event considering the structural resistance with appropriate

deepwater structures. reserve.

Tubular joints are checked against punching under various load patterns. These checks may • Fatigue Limit State (FLS):

indicate the need for local reinforcement of the chord using overthickness or internal ring-
relates to the possibility of failure under cyclic loading.

• Progressive Collapse Limit State (PLS):

Elements should also be verified against fatigue, corrosion, temperature or durability
wherever relevant.
reflects the ability of the structure to resist collapse under accidental or abnormal conditions.

3.2 Allowable Stress Method

• Service Limit State (SLS):

This method is presently specified by American codes (API, AISC).

corresponds to criteria for normal use or durability (often specified by the plant operator).

The loads remain unfactored and a unique coefficient is applied to the characteristic
3.3.1 Load factors
resistance to obtain an allowable stress as follows:

Norwegian Authorities (2, 4) specify the following sets of load factors:

Condition Axial Strong axis Weak axis
bending bending Limit State Load Categories

Normal 0,60 0,66 0,75 P L D E A

Extreme 0,80 0,88 1,00 ULS (normal) 1,3 1,3 1,0 0,7 0,0

ULS (extreme) 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,3 0,0

"Normal" and "Extreme" respectively represent the most severe conditions:

FLS 0,0 0,0 0,0 1,0 0,0

• under which the plant is to operate without shut-down.
• the platform is to endure over its lifetime.
PLS (accidental) 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0

3.3 Limit State Method

PLS (post-damage) 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 0,0

This method is enforced by European and Norwegian Authorities and has now been adopted
SLS 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 0,0
by API as it offers a more uniform reliability.

where the respective load categories are:

Page 3 of 14 Page 4 of 14
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

P are permanent loads (structural weight, dry equipments, ballast, hydrostatic pressure).
In-Place P+L wind & 100 actual ULS
(extreme) year wave
L are live loads (storage, personnel, liquids).

D are deformations (out-of-level supports, subsidence).

In-Place P+L wind & 10000 actual PLS

E are environmental loads (wave, current, wind, earthquake). (exceptional) year wave

A are accidental loads (dropped object, ship impact, blast, fire). Earthquake P+L 10-2 quake ULS

3.3.2 Material factors Rare P+L 10-4 quake PLS

The material partial factors for steel is normally taken equal to 1,15 for ULS and 1,00 for PLS
and SLS design. Explosion P+L blast PLS

3.3.3 Classification of Design Conditions Fire P+L fire PLS

Guidance for classifying typical conditions into typical limit states is given in the following Dropped P+L drill collar PLS
table: Object

Boat P+L boat impact PLS

Condition Loadings Design

P/L E D A Criterion
Damaged P + reduced L reduced wave PLS
Structure & wind
Construction P ULS,SLS

Load-Out P reduced wind support ULS

Transport P transport wind ULS
and wave The analysis of a structure is an iterative process which requires progressive adjustment of
the member sizes with respect to the forces they transmit, until a safe and economical design
Tow-out P flooded compart PLS is achieved.
It is therefore of the utmost importance to start the main analysis from a model which is close
Launch P ULS to the final optimized one.

Lifting P ULS The simple rules given below provide an easy way of selecting realistic sizes for the main
elements of offshore structures in moderate water depth (up to 80m) where dynamic effects
In-Place P+L wind, wave & actual ULS,SLS are negligible.
(normal) snow

Page 5 of 14 Page 6 of 14
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

4.1 Jacket Pile Sizes 5. STATIC IN-PLACE ANALYSIS

• calculate the vertical resultant (dead weight, live loads, buoyancy), the overall shear The static in-place analysis is the basic and generally the simplest of all analyses. The
and the overturning moment (environmental forces) at the mudline. structure is modelled as it stands during its operational life, and subjected to pseudo-static
• assuming that the jacket behaves as a rigid body, derive the maximum axial and loads.
shear force at the top of the pile.
• select a pile diameter in accordance with the expected leg diameter and the capacity This analysis is always carried at the very early stage of the project, often from a simplified

of pile driving equipment. model, to size the main elements of the structure.

• derive the penetration from the shaft friction and tip bearing diagrams.
5.1 Structural Model
• assuming an equivalent soil subgrade modulus and full fixity at the base of the jacket,
calculate the maximum moment in the pile and derive its wall thickness.
5.1.1 Main Model

4.2 Deck Leg Sizes

The main model should account for eccentricities and local reinforcements at the joints.

• adapt the diameter of the leg to that of the pile.

Typical models for North Sea jackets may feature over 800 nodes and 4000 members.
• determine the effective length from the degree of fixity of the leg into the deck
(depending upon the height of the cellar deck). 5.1.2 Appurtenances
• calculate the moment caused by wind loads on topsides and derive the appropriate
thickness. The contribution of appurtenances (risers, J-tubes, caissons, conductors, boat-fenders, etc.)
to the overall stiffness of the structure is normally neglected.
4.3 Jacket Bracings
They are therefore analysed separately and their reactions applied as loads at the interfaces
• select the diameter in order to obtain a span/diameter ratio between 30 and 40. with the main structure.
• calculate the axial force in the brace from the overall shear and the local bending
caused by the wave assuming partial or total end restraint. 5.1.3 Foundation Model
• derive the thickness such that the diameter/thickness ratio lies between 20 and 70
and eliminate any hydrostatic buckle tendency by imposing D/t<170/3 H (H is the Since their behaviour is non-linear, foundations are often analysed separately from the

depth of member below the free surface). structural model.

4.4 Deck Framing They are represented by an equivalent load-dependent secant stiffness matrix; coefficients
are determined by an iterative process where the forces and displacements at the common
• select a spacing between stiffeners (typically 500 to 800mm). boundaries of structural and foundation models are equated.
• derive the plate thickness from formulae accounting for local plastification under the
wheel footprint of the design forklift truck. This matrix may need to be adjusted to the mean reaction corresponding to each loading

• determine by straight beam formulae the sizes of the main girders under "blanket" live condition.

loads and/or the respective weight of the heaviest equipments.

5.2 Loadings

This Section is a reminder of the main types of loads, which are described in more detail in
Lectures 15A.2 and 15A.3.

Page 7 of 14 Page 8 of 14
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

5.2.1 Gravity Loads 6.2 Equations of Motion

Gravity loads consist of: The governing dynamic equations of multi-degrees-of-freedom systems can be expressed in
the matrix form:
• dead weight of structure and equipments.
• live loads (equipments, fluids, personnel). MX'' + CX' + KX = P(t)

Depending on the area of structure under scrutiny, live loads must be positioned to produce Where,
the most severe configuration (compression or tension); this may occur for instance when
positioning the drilling rig. M is the mass matrix

5.2.2 Environmental Loads C is the damping matrix

Environmental loads consist of wave, current and wind loads assumed to act simultaneously K is the stiffness matrix

in the same direction.

X, X', X'' are the displacement, velocity and acceleration vectors (function

In general eight wave incidences are selected; for each the position of the crest relative to the
of time).
platform must be established such that the maximum overturning moment and/or shear are
produced at the mudline.
P(t) is the time dependent force vector; in the most general case it may depend on
the displacements of the structure also (i.e. relative motion of the structure with
5.3 Loading Combinations
respect to the wave velocity in Morison equation).

The static in-place analysis is performed under different conditions where the loads are
6.2.1 Mass
approximated by their pseudo-static equivalent.

The mass matrix represents the distribution of masses over the structure.
The basic loads relevant to a given condition are multiplied by the appropriate load factors
and combined to produce the most severe effect in each individual element of the structure.
Masses include that of the structure itself, the appurtenances, liquids trapped in legs or tanks,
the added mass of water (mass of water displaced by the member and determined from
potential flow theory) and the mass of marine growth.

A dynamic analysis is normally mandatory for every offshore structure, but can be restricted
Masses are generally lumped at discrete points of the model. The mass matrix consequently
to the main modes in the case of stiff structures.
becomes diagonal but local modes of vibration of single members are ignored (these modes

6.1 Dynamic Model may be important for certain members subjected to an earthquake). The selection of lumping
points may significantly affect the ensuing solution.
The dynamic model of the structure is derived from the main static model.
As a further simplification to larger models involving considerable degrees-of-freedom, the
Some simplifications may however take place: system can be condensed to a few freedoms while still retaining its basic energy distribution.

• local joint reinforcements and eccentricities may be disregarded. 6.2.2 Damping

• masses are lumped at the member ends.
• the foundation model may be derived from cyclic soil behaviour. Damping is the most difficult to estimate among all parameters governing the dynamic
response of a structure.

Page 9 of 14 Page 10 of 14
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

It may consist of structural and hydrodynamic damping. For rigid structures having a fundamental vibration period well below the range of wave
periods (typically less than 3 s), the dynamic behavior is simply accounted for by multiplying
Structural Damping the time-dependent loads by a dynamic amplification factor (DAF):

Structural damping is associated with the loss of energy by internal friction in the material.

It increases with the order of the mode, being roughly proportional to the strain energy DAF =

involved in each.
where β = TN/T is the ratio of the period of the structure to the wave period.

Hydrodynamic Damping
6.4 Modal Superposition Method

Damping provided by the water surrounding the structure is commonly added to the former,
A convenient technique consists of uncoupling the equations through the normal modes of the
but may alternatively be accounted as part of the forcing function when vibrations are close to
resonance (vortex-shedding in particular).

This method is only applicable if:

Representation of Damping

• each mass, stiffness and damping matrix is time-independent.

Viscous damping represents the most common and simple form of damping. It may have one
• non-linear forces are linearized beforehand (drag).
of the following representations:

The total response is obtained by summing the responses of the individual single-degree-of-
• modal damping: a specific damping ratio ζ expressing the percentage to critical
freedom oscillators associated to each normal mode of the structure.
associated with each mode (typically ζ = 0,5% structural; ζ = 1,5% hydrodynamic)
• proportional damping: defined as a linear combination of stiffness and mass matrices.
This method offers the advantage that the eigen modes provide substantial insight into the
problem, and can be re-used for as many subsequent response calculations as needed at
All other types of non-viscous damping should preferably be expressed as an equivalent
later stages.
viscous damping matrix.

It may however prove time-consuming when a large number of modes are required to
6.2.3 Stiffness
represent the response accurately. Therefore:

The stiffness matrix is in all aspects similar to the one used in static analyses.
• the simple superposition method (mode-displacement) is applied to a truncated

6.3 Free Vibration Mode Shapes and Frequencies number of lowest modes for predicting earthquake response.
• it must be corrected by the static contribution of the higher modes (mode-acceleration
The first step in a dynamic analysis consists of determining the principal natural vibration method) for wave loadings.
mode shapes and frequencies of the undamped, multi-degree-of-freedom structure up to a
given order (30th to 50th). 6.4.1 Frequency Domain Analysis

This consists in solving the eigenvalue problem: Such analysis is most appropriate for evaluating the steady-state response of a system
subjected to cyclic loadings, as the transient part of the response vanishes rapidly under the
KX = λ MX effect of damping.

The loading function is developed in Fourier series up to an order η:

Page 11 of 14 Page 12 of 14
Lecture 15A.4 Lecture 15A.4

• responses involving many vibration modes to be determined over a short time

p(t) =

The dynamic equilibrium at an instant τ is governed by the same type of equations, where all
The plot of the amplitudes pj versus the circular frequencies ωj is called the amplitude power
matrices (mass, damping, stiffness, load) are simultaneously dependent on the time and
spectra of the loading. Usually, significant values of pj only occur within a narrow range of
structural response as well.
frequencies and the analysis can be restricted to it.

All available integration techniques are characterized by their stability (i.e. the tendency for
The relationship between response and force vectors is expressed by the transfer matrix H,
uncontrolled divergence of amplitude to occur with increasing time steps). Unconditionally
such as:
stable methods are always to be preferred (for instance Newmark-beta with β = 1/4 or Wilson-

H = [-M ω2 + i x C ω + K] theta with θ = 1,4).

the elements of which represent: 7. CONCLUDING SUMMARY

• The analysis of offshore structures is an extensive task.

• The analytical models used in offshore engineering are in some respects similar to
Hj,k =
those used for other types of steel structures. The same model is used throughout the

The spectral density of response in freedom j versus force is then: analysis process.
• The verification of an element consists of comparing its characteristic resistance(s) to
a design force or stress. Several methods are available.
• Simple rules are available for preliminary member sizing.
• Static in-plane analysis is always carried out at the early stage of a project to size the
The fast Fourier transform (FFT) is the most efficient algorithm associated with this kind of main elements of the structure. A dynamic analysis is normally mandatory for every
analysis. offshore structure.

6.4.2 Time Domain Analysis

The response of the i-th mode may alternatively be determined by resorting to Duhamel's

Xj(t) =

The overall response is then obtained by summing at each time step the individual responses
over all significant modes.

6.5 Direct Integration Methods

Direct step-by-step integration of the equations of motion is the most general method and is
applicable to:

• non-linear problems involving special forms of damping and response-dependent


Page 13 of 14 Page 14 of 14
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

1.1.1 Structural Model

Analysis II
The in-place model is used for the fatigue analysis.

Quasi-static analysis is often chosen; it permits all local stresses to be comprehensively

To present the analysis procedures for offshore structures relating to fatigue, abnormal and
represented. The dynamic effects are accounted for by factoring the loads by the relevant
accident conditions, load-out and transportation, installation and local design.

Modal analysis may be used instead; it offers computational efficiency, but may also overlook

Lecture 15A.1: Offshore Structures: General Introduction important local response modes, particularly near the waterline where direct wave action
causes high out-of-plane bending (see Section 5.2). The mode - acceleration method may
Lecture 15A.2: Loads I: Introduction and Environmental Loads overcome this problem.

Lecture 15A.3: Loads II: Other Loads 1.1.2 Hydrodynamic Loading Model

RELATED LECTURES A very large number of computer runs may be necessary to evaluate the stress range at the
joints. The wave is repeatedly generated for:
Lecture 15A.4: Analysis I
• different blocks of wave heights (typically from 2 to 28m in steps of 2m), each
SUMMARY associated with a characteristic wave and zero-upcrossing period.
• different incidences (typically eight).
Methods of fatigue analysis are described including the fatigue model (structural,
• different phases to determine the stress range for a given wave at each joint.
hydrodynamic loading, and joint stress models) and the methods of fatigue damage
assessment. 1.1.3 Joint Stress Model

Abnormal and accidental conditions are considered relating to earthquake, impact and Nominal joint stresses are calculated for eight points around the circumference of the brace.
progressive collapse. The maximum local (hot spot) stress is obtained by multiplying the former by a stress
concentration factor (SCF) given by parametric formulae which are functions of the joint
Analyses required for load-out and transportation and for installation are outlined. Local
geometry and the load pattern (balanced/unbalanced).
analysis for specific parts of the structure which are better treated by dedicated models
outside of the global analysis are identified. 1.1.4 Fatigue Damage Model

1. FATIGUE ANALYSIS The fatigue failure of joints in offshore structures primarily depends on the stress ranges and
their number of occurrences, formulated by S-N curves:
A fatigue analysis is performed for those structures sensitive to the action of cyclic loadings
such as: log Ni = log α + mlog ∆σi

• wave (jackets, floating structures). The number of cycles to failure Ni corresponds to a stress range. The effect of the constant
• wind (flare booms, stair towers). stresses, mainly welding residual stresses, is implicitly accounted for in this formulation.
• structures under rotating equipments.
The cumulative damage caused by ni cycles of stress ∆σi, over the operational life of the
1.1 Fatigue Model platform (30 to 50 years) is obtained by the Palmgren-Miner rule:

Page 1 of 16 Page 2 of 16
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

This problem is overcome by using a scatter diagram, in which the joint occurrence of wave
D= height and period is quantified. Wave directionality may also be accounted for. Eventually the
most thorough representation of a sea state consists of:
The limit of this ratio depends on the position of the joint with respect to the splash zone
(typically +/-4m on either side of the mean sea level). The ratio should normally not exceed: • the frequency spectrum constructed from the significant wave heights and mean zero-
crossing periods.
• 1,0 above, • the directionality function derived from the mean direction and associated spreading
• 0,1 within, function.
• 0,3 below the splash zone.
This approach requires that the physical process be approximately linear (or properly
1.1.5 Closed Form Expression linearized) and stationary. Transfer functions TF are determined from time-domain analyses
involving various wave heights, each with different period and incidence:
The damage may alternatively be expressed in closed form:

The response has normally a narrow-banded spectrum and can be described by a Rayleigh

where distribution.

α, m are coefficients of the selected S-N curve. The zero-upcrossing frequency of stress cycles is then approximated by:

∆σ is the stress range exceeded once in N cycles.

Tz =
k is a long-term distribution parameter, depending on the position of the joint in the
structure. where mn is the nth order moment of the response.

N is the total number of cycles. The significant stress range is readily obtained for each sea state as:

1.2 Deterministic Analysis

σsig =
This analysis consists of time-domain analysis of the structure. The main advantage of this
representation is that non-linear effects (drag, high order wave theories) are handled where S(ω,θ) is the directional wave energy spectrum.
1.4 Wind Fatigue
A minimum of four regular waves described in terms of height and associated period are
considered for each heading angle. 1.4.1 Wind Gusts

1.3 Spectral Analysis The fatigue damage caused by the fluctuating part of wind (gusts) on slender structures like
flare booms and bridges is usually predicted by spectral methods.
Waves of a given height are not characterized by a unique frequency, but rather by a range of
frequencies. If this range corresponds to a peak in the structural response, the fatigue life The main feature of such analysis is the introduction of coherence functions accounting for
predicted by the deterministic method can be seriously distorted. the spanwise correlation of forces.

Page 3 of 16 Page 4 of 16
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

1.4.2 Vortex Shedding

Vortex induced failure occurs for tubes subjected to a uniform or oscillating flow of fluid. 2.1.3 Analysis Method

Within a specific range of fluid velocities, eddies are shed at a frequency close to the resonant Earthquake analyses can be carried out according to the general methods presented in
frequency of the member. Lecture 15A.4.

This phenomenon involves forced displacements, which can be determined by models such However their distinctive feature is that they represent essentially a base motion problem and
as those suggested in [1]. that the seismic loads are therefore dependent on the dynamic characteristics of the
Modal spectral response analysis is normally used. It consists of a superposition of maximum
This type of analysis addresses conditions which may considerably affect the integrity of the mode response and forms a response spectrum curve characteristic of the input motion. This
structure, but only have a limited risk of occurrence. spectrum is the result of time-histories of a SDOF system for different natural periods of
vibration and damping.
Typically all events with a probability level less than the 10-4 threshold are disregarded.

Direct time integration can be used instead for specific accelerograms adapted to the site.
2.1 Earthquake Analysis

2.2 Impact
2.1.1 Model

The analysis of impact loads on structures is carried out locally using simple plastic models
Particular attention shall be paid to:

• foundations: the near field (i.e. the soil mass in the direct vicinity of the structure) shall
Should a more sophisticated analysis be required, it can be accomplished using time-domain
accurately represent load-deflection behaviour. As a general rule the lateral
techniques presented in Section 6 of Lecture 15A.4.
foundation behaviour is essentially controlled by horizontal ground motions of shallow
soil layers. The whole energy must be absorbed within acceptable deformations.
• modal damping (in general taken as 5% and 7% of critical for ULS and PLS analyses
respectively). 2.2.1 Dropped Object/Boat Impact

2.1.2 Ductility Requirements When a wellhead protection cover is hit by a drill collar, or a tube (jacket leg, fender) is
crushed by a supply boat, two load/deformation mechanisms occur simultaneously:
The seismic forces in a structure are highly dependent on its dynamic characteristics. Design
recommendations are given by API to determine an efficient geometry. The recommendations • local punch-through (cover) or denting (tube).
call for: • global deformation along plastic hinges with possible appearance of membrane
• providing sufficient redundancy and symmetry in the structure.
• favouring X-bracings instead of K-bracings. 2.2.2 Blast and Fire
• avoiding abrupt changes in stiffness.
• improving the post-buckling behaviour of bracings. Owing to the current lack of definitive guidance regarding explosions and fire, the behaviour
of structures in such events has so far been only predicted by simple models based on:

• equivalent static overpressure and plastic deformation of plates for blast analysis.

Page 5 of 16 Page 6 of 16
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

• the reduction of material strength and elastic modulus under temperature increase. As the reaction on each trailer can be kept constant, analysis of load-out by trailers only
requires a single step to determine the optimal distribution of trailers.
In the aftermath of recent mishaps however, more accurate analyses may become
mandatory, based on a better understanding of the pressure-time histories and the effective 3.2 Transportation
resistance and response of structures to explosions and fire.
3.2.1 Naval Architectural Model
2.3 Progressive Collapse
The model consists of the rigid-body assembly of the barge and the structure.
Some elements of the structure (legs, bracings, bulkheads) may partially or completely loose
their strength as a result of accidental damage. Barges are in general characterised by a low length/beam ratio and a high beam/draught
ratio, as well as sharp corners which introduce heavy viscous damping.
The purpose of such analysis is to ensure that the spare resistance of the remaining structure
is sufficient to allow the loads to redistribute. For jacket transport, particular care shall be taken in the representation of overhanging parts
(legs, buoyancy tanks) which contribute significantly to the righting moment.
Since such a configuration is only temporary (mobilization period prior to repairs) and that
operations will also be restricted around the damaged area, reduced live and environmental Dry-transported decks and modules may be simply represented by their mass and moments

loads are generally accepted. of inertia.

In this analysis, the damaged elements are removed from the model. Their residual strength This analysis shall provide the linear and angular accelerations and displacements of the

may be represented by forces applied at the boundary nodes with the intact structure. structure to be entered in the structural model as inertia forces, and also the partition and
intensity of buoyancy and slamming forces.
3.2.2 Structural Model
3.1 Load-Out
The jacket model is a simplified version of the in-place model, from which eccentricities and
The load-out procedure consists in moving the jacket or module from its construction site to local reinforcements may be omitted.
the transportation barge by skidding, or by using trailers underneath it.
The barge is modelled as a plane grid, with members having the equivalent properties of the
The barge may be floating and is continuously deballasted as the package progresses onto it, longitudinal and transversal bulkheads.
or grounded on the bottom of the harbour.
As the barge passes over a wave trough or a crest, a portion only of the barge is supported
3.1.1 Skidding by buoyancy (long barges may be spanning over a whole trough or be half-cantilevered).

The most severe configuration during skidding occurs when the part of the structure is The model therefore represents the jacket and the barge as two structures coupled together
cantilevering out: by the seafastening members.

• from the quayside before it touches the barge.

• from the barge just after it has left the quay.

The analysis should also investigate the possibility of high local reactions being the result of
settlement of the skidway or errors in the ballasting procedure.

3.1.2 Load-Out by Trailers

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Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

4. INSTALLATION 4.4 Unpiled Stability

4.1 Launching The condition where the jacket may for a while stand unpiled on the seafloor is analysed for
the design installation wave.
4.1.1 Naval Architectural Model
The stability of the jacket as a whole (overturning tendency) is investigated, together with the
A three dimensional analysis is carried out to evaluate the global forces acting on the jacket at resistance of the mudmats against soil pressure.
various time steps during the launch sequence.
4.5 Piling
At each time step, the jacket/barge rigid body system is repositioned to equilibrate the internal
and external forces produced by: The piles are checked during driving for the dynamic stresses caused by the impact wave of
the hammer blow. The maximum cantilevered (stick-up) length of pile must be established for
• jacket weight, inertia, buoyancy and drag forces. the self-weight of the pile and hammer combined, accounting for first and second order
• barge weight, buoyancy and ballast forces. moments arising from the pile batter. Hydrodynamic actions are added for underwater driving.
• vertical reactions and friction forces between jacket and barge.
Elements in the vicinity of the piles (guides, sleeves) shall also be checked, see Section 5.1.
The maximum reaction on the rocker arm is normally obtained when the jacket just starts
rotating about the rocker hinge. 4.6 Lifting

4.1.2 Structural Model 4.6.1 Model

The structural model is in all aspects identical to the one used for the transportation analysis, The model used for the lift analysis of a structure consists of the in-place model plus the
with possibly a finer representation of the launch legs. representation of the rigging arrangement (slings, spreader frames).

The rocker arm is also represented as a vertical beam hinged approximately at midspan. For single lifts the slings converge towards the hook joint, which is the sole vertical support in
Interface loads obtained by the rigid body analysis are input at boundary conditions on the the model and shall be located exactly on the vertical through the centre of gracity (CoG) of
launch legs. All interface members must remain in compression, otherwise they are the model.
inactivated and the analysis restarted for that step.
For heavier dual-crane lifts, the CoG shall be contained in the vertical plane defined by the
Once the tilting phase has begun, the jacket is analysed at least for each main leg node being two hook joints.
at the vertical of the rocker arm pivot.
The mathematical instability of the model with respect to horizontal forces is avoided by using
4.2 Upending soft horizontal springs at the padeyes. The force and elongation in these springs should
always remain small.
No dedicated structural analysis is required for this phase, which is essentially a naval
architecture problem. 4.6.2 Design Factors

A local analysis of the lugs is performed for crane-assisted upendings. Different factors are applied to the basic sling forces to account for specific effects during
lifting operations.
4.3 Docking

Docking of a jacket onto a pre-installed template requires guides to be analysed for local
impact. The same requirement applied for bumpers to aid the installation of modules.

Page 9 of 16 Page 10 of 16
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5 Skew Load Factor (SKL) • 1,00 for other elements.

This factor represents the effect of fabrication tolerances and lack-of-fit of the slings on the 5. LOCAL ANALYSES AND DESIGN
load repartition in a statically undetermined rigging arrangement (4 slings or more). Skew
factors may either be directly computed by applying to a pair of opposite slings a temperature Local analyses address specific parts of the structure which are better treated by dedicated

difference such that their elongation/shortening corresponds to the mismatch, or determined models outside the global analysis.

arbitrarily (typically 1/3 - 2/3 repartition).

The list of analyses below is not exhaustive and more information can be found in [1-24] Dynamic Amplification Factor (DAF) which provide a complete design procedure in each particular case.

This factor accounts for global dynamic effects normally experienced during lifting operations. 5.1 Pile/Sleeve Connections

DnV [24] recommends minimum values as follows:

Underwater pile/sleeve connection is usually achieved by grouting the annulus between the
outside of the pile and the inner sleeve.
Lifted Weight W up to 100 t 100 t to 1000t 1000 t to more than
(tonnes) 2500t 2500 t The main verifications address:

DAF offshore 1,30 1,20 1,15 1,10 • the shear stresses in the concrete.
• the fatigue damage in the shear plates and the attachment welds to the main jacket
DAF inshore 1,15 1,10 1,05 1,05 accumulated during pile driving and throughout the life of the platform.

5.2 Members within the Splash Zone Tilt Effect Factor (TEF)

Horizontal members (conductor guide frames in particular) located within the splash zone (+/-
This factor accounts for additional sling loading caused by the rotation of the lifted object
5m on either side of the mean-sea-level approximately) shall be analysed for fatigue caused
about a horizontal axis and by the longitudinal deviation of the hooks from their theoretical
by repeated wave slamming.
position in the case of a multi-hook lift. It shall normally be based on 5 and 3 tilt
respectively depending on whether cranes are on different vessels or not.
A slamming coefficient Cs=3,5 is often selected. Yaw Effect Factor (YEF)

5.3 Straightened Nodes

This factor accounts for the rotation of the lifted object about a vertical axis (equal to 1,05
Typical straightened nodes (ring-stiffened nodes, bottle legs nodes with diaphragms) are
analysed by finite-elements models, from which parametric envelope formulae are drawn and
applied to all nodes representative of the same class.
4.6.3 Consequence Factors

5.4 Appurtenances
Forces in elements checked under lift conditions are multiplied by a factor reflecting the
consequence a failure of that specific element would have on the integrity of the overall
5.4.1 Risers, Caissons & J-Tubes

Static In-Place and Fatigue

• 1,30 for spreader frames, lifting points (padeyes) and their attachment to the
structure. Risers, caissons and J-tubes are verified either by structural or piping programs for the action
• 1,15 for all members transferring the load to the lifting points. of environmental forces, internal pressure and temperature. Particular attention is paid to the

Page 11 of 16 Page 12 of 16
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

bends not always satisfactorily represented by structural programs and the location of the 6. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
touch-down point now known a-priori.
• With the trend to ever deeper and more slender offshore structures in yet harsher
A fatigue analysis is also performed to assess the fatigue damage to the clamps and the environments, more elaborate theories are necessary to analyse complex situations.
attachments to the jacket. There is a risk for the Engineer having increasingly to rely on the sole results of
computer analyses at the expense of sound design practice.
Pull-In • To retain enough control of the process of analysis, the following recommendations
are given:
J-tubes are empty ducts continuously guiding a post-installed riser pulled inside. They are
verified by empirical plastic models against the forces generated during pull-in by the friction ⋅ check the interfaces between the different analyses and ensure the consistency of the
of the cable and the deformation of the pull head, see [22]. input/output.

5.4.2 Conductors ⋅ verify the validity of the data resulting from a complex analysis against a simplified model,
which can also be used to assess the influence of a particular parameter.
Conductors are analysed in-place as beam columns on discrete simple supports, these being
provided by the horizontal framing of the jacket (typically 20 to 25 m span). ⋅ make full use of "good engineering judgement" to criticise the unexpected results of an
The installation sequence of the different casings must be considered to assess the
distribution of stresses in the different tubes forming the overall composite section. 7. REFERENCES

Also the portion of compression force in the conductor caused by the hanging casings is [1] Skop R.A. & Griffin O.M., An Heuristic Model for Determining Flow-Induced Vibrations of
regarded as an internal force (similar to prestressing) which therefore does not induce any
Offshore Structures/OTC paper 1843, May 1973.
buckling tendency, see [23].

[2] De Oliveira J.G., The Behaviour of Steel Offshore Structures under Accidental
5.5 Helidecks
Collisions/OTC paper 4136, May 1981.
The helideck is normally designed to resist an impact load equal to 2,5 times the take-off
[3] API-RP2A, Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed
weight of the heaviest helicopter factored by a DAF of 1,30.
Offshore Platforms/18th edition, September1989.
Plastic theories are applicable for designing the plate and stiffeners, while the main framing is
analysed elastically. [4] DnV, Rules for the Classification of Fixed Offshore Structures, September 1989.

[5] DnV, Standard for Insurance Warranty Surveys in Marine Operations, June 1985.
5.6 Flare Booms
[6] NPD, Regulation for Structural Design of Loadbearing Structures Intended for Exploitation
Analyses of flare booms particularly consider:
of Petroleum Resources, October1984 and Veiledning om Utforming, Beregning og
• variable positions during installation (horizontal pick-up from the barge, lift upright).
Dimensjonering av Stalkonstruksjoner i Petroleumsvirksomheten, December1989.
• reduced material characteristics due to high temperature in the vicinity of the tip
during operation. [7] DoE, Offshore Installations: Guidance on Design and Construction/London, April 1984.
• dynamic response under gusty winds.
[8] McClelland B. & Reifel M.D., Planning and Design of Fixed Offshore Platforms/Van
• local excitation of diagonals by wind vortex-shedding.
Nostrand Reinhold, 1986.

Page 13 of 16 Page 14 of 16
Lecture 15A.5 Lecture 15A.5

[9] UEG, Node Flexibility and its Effect on Jacket Structures/CIRIA Report UR22, 1984. [23] Stahl B. & Baur M.P., Design Methodology for Offshore Platform Conductors/J. of

[10] Hallam M.G., Heaf N.J. & Wootton L.R., Dynamics of Marine Structures/ CIRIA Report Petroleum Technology, November 1983.

UR8 (2nd edition), October 1978. [24] DnV - Rules for the Classification of Steel Ships, January 1989.

[11] Wilson J.F., Dynamics of Offshore Structures/Wiley Interscience, 1984.

[12] Clough R.W. & Penzien J., Dynamics of Structures/McGraw-Hill, New York, 1975.

[13] Newland D.E., Random Vibrations and Spectral Analysis/Longman Scientific (2nd

edition), 1984.

[14] Zienkiewicz O.C., Lewis R.W. & Stagg K.G., Numerical Methods in Offshore

Engineering/Wiley Interscience, 1978.

[15] Davenport A.G., The Response of Slender Line-Like Structures to a Gusty Wind/ICE

Vol.23, 1962.

[16] Williams A.K. & Rhinne J.E., Fatigue Analysis of Steel Offshore Structures/ICE Vol.60,

November 1976.

[17] Anagnostopoulos S.A., Wave and Earthquake Response of Offshore Structures:

Evaluation of Modal Solutions/ASCE J. of the Structural Div., vol. 108, No ST10, October


[18] Chianis J.W. & Mangiavacchi A., A Critical Review of Transportation Analysis

Procedures/OTC paper 4617, May1983.

[19] Kaplan P. Jiang C.W. & Bentson J, Hydrodynamic Analysis of Barge-Platform Systems in

Waves/Royal Inst. of Naval Architects, London, April 1982.

[20] Hambro L., Jacket Launching Simulation by Differentiation of Constraints/ Applied Ocean

Research, Vol.4 No.3, 1982.

[21] Bunce J.W. & Wyatt T.A., Development of Unified Design Criteria for Heavy Lift

Operations Offshore/OTC paper 4192, May 1982.

[22] Walker A.C. & Davies P., A Design Basis for the J-Tube Method of Riser Installation/J. of

Energy Resources Technology, pp. 263-270, September 1983.

Page 15 of 16 Page 16 of 16
Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

• water content.
• over consolidation ratio.

For design purposes the influence of these factors on soil behaviour is expressed in terms of

• to classify different types of piles two fundamental parameters:

• to understand main design methods

• friction angle.
• to cover various methods of installation
• undrained shear strength Cu.

Since the least significant of either of these parameters is often neglected, soils can be

Lecture 1B.2.2: Limit State Design Philosophy and Partial Safety Factors classified within "ideal" categories:

Lectures 10.6: Shear Connection • granular soils.

• cohesive soils.
Lectures 12.4: Fatigue Behaviour of Hollow Section Joints
1.2 Granular Soils
Lecture 15A.12: Connections in Offshore Deck Structures
Granular soils are non-plastic soils with negligible cohesion between particles. They include:
Lecture 17.5: Requirements and Verifications of Seismic Resistant Structures
• sands : characterized by large to medium particle sizes (1mm to 0,05mm) offering a
A general knowledge of design in offshore structures and an understanding of offshore high permeability,
installation are also required. • silts : characterized by particle sizes between 0,05 and 0,02mm; they are generally
over-consolidated; they may exhibit some cohesion.
1.3 Cohesive Soils
In this lecture piled foundations for offshore structures are presented. The lecture starts with
the classification of soil. The main steps in the design of piles are then explained. The Clays are plastic soils with particle sizes less than 0,002mm which tend to stick together; their
different kinds of piles and hammers are described. The three main execution phases are permeability is low.
briefly discussed: fabrication, transport and installation.
1.4 Multi-Layered Strata
The nature and characteristics of the soil surrounding a pile generally vary with the depth. For
1.1 Classification of Soils analysis purposes, the soil is divided into several layers, each having constant properties
throughout. The number of layers depends on the precision required of the analysis.
The stratigraphy of the sea bed results from a complex geological process during which
various materials were deposited, remoulded and pressed together. 2. DESIGN

Soil texture consists of small mineral or organic particles basically characterized by their grain Steel offshore platforms are usually founded on piles, driven deep into the soil (Figure 1). The
size and mutual interaction (friction, cohesion). piles have to transfer the loads acting on the jacket into the sea bed. In this section theoretical
aspects of the design of piles are presented. Checking of the pile itself is described in detail in
The properties of a specific soil depend mainly on the following factors: the Worked Example.

• density.

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

2.1.2 Environmental loads

Environmental loads due to waves, current, wind, earthquake, etc. are basically horizontal.
Their resultant at mudline consists of:

• shear distributed as horizontal forces on the piles.

• overturning moment on the jacket, equilibrated by axial tension/ compression in
symmetrically disposed piles (upstream/downstream).

2.1.3 Load combinations

The basic gravity and environmental loads multiplied by relevant load factors are combined in
order to produce the most severe effect(s) at mudline, resulting in:

• vertical compression or pullout force, and

• lateral shear force plus bending.

2.2 Static Axial Pile Resistance

The overall resistance of the pile against axial force is the sum of shaft friction and end

2.2.1 Lateral friction along the shaft (shaft friction)

Skin friction is mobilized along the shaft of the tubular pile (and possibly also along the inner
wall when the soil plug is not removed).

The unit shaft friction:

• for sands: is proportional to the overburden pressure,

• for clays: is calculated by the "alpha" or "lambda" method and is a constant equal to
the shear strength Cu at great depth.

2.1 Design Loads Lateral friction is integrated along the whole penetration of the pile.

These loads are those transferred from the jacket to the foundation. They are calculated at 2.2.2 End bearing
the mudline.
End bearing is the resultant of bearing pressure over the gross end area of the pile, i.e. with
2.1.1 Gravity loads or without the area of plug if relevant.

Gravity loads (platform dead load and live loads) are distributed as axial compression forces The bearing pressure:
on the piles depending upon their respective eccentricity.
• for clays: is equal to 9 Cu.

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

• for sands: is proportional to the overburden pressure as explained in Section 6.4.2 of 2.4.1 Empirical formulae
API-RP2A [1].
A considerable number of empirical formulae exist to predict pile driveability. Each formula is
2.2.3 Pile penetration generally limited to a particular type of soil and hammer.

The pile penetration shall be sufficient to generate enough friction and bearing resistance 2.4.2 Wave equation
against the maximum design compression multiplied by the appropriate factor of safety. No
bearing resistance can be mobilized against pull-out: the friction available must be equated to This method of analysing the driving process consists of representing the ensemble of

the pull out force multiplied by the appropriate factor of safety. pile/soil/hammer as a one-dimensional assembly of masses, springs and dashpots:

2.3 Lateral Pile Resistance • the pile is modelled as a discrete assembly of masses and elastic springs.
• the soil is idealized as a massless medium characterized by elastic-perfectly-plastic
The shear at the mudline caused by environmental loads is resisted by lateral bearing of the springs and linear dashpots.
pile on the soil. This action may generate large deformations and high bending moments in • the hammer is modelled as a mass falling with an initial velocity.
the part of the pile directly below the mudline, particularly in soft soils. • the cushion is represented by a weightless spring (see Figure 3).
• the pile cap is represented by a mass of infinite rigidity.
2.3.1 P-y curves

P-y curves represent the lateral soil resistance versus deflection. The shape of these curves
varies with the depth and the type of soil at the considered elevation. The general shape of
the curves for increasing displacement features:

• elastic (linear) behaviour for small deflections,

• elastic/plastic behaviour for medium deflections,
• constant resistance for large deflections or loss of resistance when the soil skeleton
deteriorates (clay under cyclic load in particular).

2.3.2 Lateral pile analysis

For analysis purposes, the soil is modelled as lumped non-linear springs distributed along the
pile. The fourth order differential equation which expresses the pile deformation is integrated
by successive iterations, the secant stiffness of the soil springs being updated at each step.

For large deformations, the second order contribution of the axial compression to the bending
moment (P-Delta effect) shall be taken into account.

2.4 Pile Driving

Piles installed by driving are forced into the soil by a ram hitting the top. The impact is
transmitted along the pile in the form of a wave, which reflects on the pile tip. The energy is
progressively lost by plastic friction on the sides and bearing at the tip of the pile.

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

The energy of the ram hitting the top of the pile generates a stress wave in the pile, which
dissipates progressively by friction between the pile and the soil and by reflection at the
extremities of the pile.

The plastic displacement of the tip relative to the soil is the set achieved by the blow. Curves
can be drawn to represent the number of blows per unit length required to drive the pile at
different penetrations.

The wave equation, though representing the most rigorous assessment to date of the driving
process, still suffers a lack of accuracy, mostly caused by the inaccuracies in the soil model.


Driven piles are the most popular and cost-efficient type of foundation for offshore structures.

As shown in Figure 2, the following alternatives may be chosen when driving proves

• insert piles.
• drilled and grouted piles.
• belled piles.

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

3.3 Drilled and Grouted Piles

3.1 Driven Piles This procedure is the only means of installing piles with tension resistance in hard soils or soft
rocks; it resembles that for drilling a conductor well.
Piles are usually made up in segments. After placing and driving the first long segment,
extension segments called add-ons are set on piece by piece as driving proceeds until the An oversized hole is initially drilled to the proposed pile penetration depth. The pile is then
overall design length is achieved. lowered down, sometimes centred in the hole by spacers and the annular space between the
pile shaft and the surrounding soil is grouted.
In recent years one-piece piles have been widely used in the North Sea since the offshore
work is considerably reduced. Design uncertainty results because:

Wall thickness may vary. A thicker wall is sometimes required: • hard soil formation softens when exposed to the water or mud used during drilling
and exhibits lower skin friction resistance.
• in sections from mudline down to a specified depth within which bending stresses are • in case of calcareous sand, external grouting just crushes the sand, slightly extending
especially high, the effective pile diameter but not increasing the friction significantly.
• at the pile tip (driving shoe) to resist local bearing stresses while driving.
3.4 Belled Piles
Uniform wall thickness is however preferable thus avoiding construction and installation
problems. While belled piles, on land, are used to decrease the bearing stress under a pile, offshore
belled piles provide a large bearing area to increase tip uplift resistance.
3.2 Insert Piles
The main pile, normally driven, serves here as a casing through which a rig drills a slightly
Insert piles are smaller diameter piles driven through the main pile from which the soil plug oversized hole ahead. A belling tool (underreamer) then enlarges the socket to a conical bell
has been previously drilled out. They are therefore not subjected to skin friction over the with a base diameter a few times that of the main pile. A heavy reinforcement cage is lowered
length of the main pile and can reach substantial additional penetration. inside the bell which is subsequently filled with concrete made using fine aggregate
(maximum size 10mm).
The insert pile is welded to the main pile at the top of the jacket and the annular space
between the tubes is grouted. 4. FABRICATION AND INSTALLATION

This type of pile is used: 4.1 Fabrication

• in a preplanned situation: performance is good although material and installation The piles are usually made up of "cans" - cylinders of rolled plate with a longitudinal seam.
costs are higher than for normal driven piles. Single cans are typically 1,5m long or more. Longitudinal seams of two adjacent segments
• as an emergency procedure: when scheduled piles cannot be driven to the required are rotated 90° apart at least.
penetration, resulting therefore in one of the following drawbacks.
• a thicker wall section of the main pile will be within the jacket height instead of below Bevelling is mandatory should the wall thickness difference exceed 3mm between adjacent
the mudline. cans. Maximum deviation from straightness is specified (0.1% in length).
• reduced friction area and end bearing pressure,
• difficulties often noted for the setting-in of all the required volume of grouting, i.e. the Commonly used steel grade is X52 or X60.

concern is the leakage of grout or the impossibility to fill with the calculated volume of
The outside surface of grouted piles should be free of mill scale and varnished.

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

In certain instances, steel piles are protected underwater by sacrificial anodes or by 4.3.1 Steam hammers
impressed current. In the splash zone additional thickness to allow for corrosion (3mm for
example) and epoxy or rubberized coating, monel or copper-nickel sheeting are provided. Steam hammers are widely used for offshore installation of jackets. They are generally single
acting with rates of up to 40 blows/minute. Energies of current hammers range from 60 000 to
4.2 Transportation 1 250 000 ft lb/blow. (82KNm to 1725KNm per blow).

4.2.1 Barge transportation During driving, the hammer with attached driving head rides the pile rather than being
supported by leads. The hammer line from the crane boom is slackened so as to prevent
Pile segments are choked and fastened to the barge to prevent them from falling overboard transmission of impact and vibration into the boom.
under severe seastates. Pile plate should be thick enough to prevent any deformation caused
by stacking. 4.3.2 Diesel hammers

4.2.2 Self floating mode Diesel hammers are much used at offshore terminals. They are lighter to handle and less
energy consuming than steam hammers, but their effective energy is limited.
This method is attractive where long segments of pile are to be lifted and set in guides far
below the sea surface (skirt piles for example). 4.3.3 Hydraulic hammers

The ends of the piles are sealed by steel closure plates or rubber diaphragms which should Hydraulic hammers are dedicated to underwater driving (skirt piles terminating far below the
be able to resist wave slamming during the tow. sea surface).

4.2.3 Transport within the jacket Menck hydraulic hammers are widely used. They utilize a solid steel ram and a flexible steel
pile cap to limit impact forces. They are double acting. Hydraulic fluid under high pressure is
The piles are pre-set inside the main legs or in the guides/sleeves, generating additional used to force a piston or set of pistons, and in turn, the ram up and down.
weight and possibly buoyancy (if closed). They are held in place by shims which prevent them
from escaping from their guides during launch and uprighting of the jacket. Properties of some hammers used offshore are shown in Table 1. A selection of large
offshore pile driving hammers driving on heavy piles is also shown in Table 2.
Several piles are driven immediately after the jacket has touched down, providing initial
stability against the action of waves and current. 4.3.4 Selection of hammer size

4.3 Hammers Selection of hammer size is based on:

Piles are positioned: • experience of similar situations (see Quality Control: Section 4.6),
• numerical modelling of driving for each particular site (see Pile Driving: Section 2.4)
• either inside the jacket legs, extending the full height of the jacket,
• or encased in sleeves protruding at the bottom of the jacket, running vertical or Typical values of pile sizes, wall thicknesses, and hammer energies for steam hammers are
parallel to the legs (typical batter 1/12 to 1/6). shown in Table 3.

Piles can then be driven using any type of hammer (or a combination of types). Hammers are 4.4 Installation
illustrated in Figure 3.
4.4.1 Pile handling and positioning

Figure 4 shows the different ways of providing lifting points for positioning pile sections.
Padeyes are generally used (welded in the fabrication yard; their design should take into

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

account the changes in load direction during lifting). Padeyes are then carefully cut before Sketch E shows the different steps for the positioning of pile sections:
lowering the next pile section.
• pile or add-on lifted from the barge deck.
• rotation of the crane to position add-on.
• installing and lowering of the pile add-on.

4.4.2 Pile connections

Different solutions for connecting pile segments back-to-back are used:

• either by welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or flux-cored, segments held
temporarily by internal or external stabbing guides as shown in Figure 4. Welding time
depends upon:

- pile wall thickness: 3 hours for 1in. thick (25,4mm); 16 hours for 3in. thick, (76,2mm)
- number and qualification of the welders.
- environmental conditions.

• or by mechanical connectors (as shown in Figure 4):

- breech block (twisting method).

- lug type (hydraulic method).

4.4.3 Hammer placement

Figure 5 shows the different steps of this routine operation:

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Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

4.4.4 Driving

Some penetration under the self weight of the pile is normal. For soft soil conditions, particular
measures are taken to avoid an uncontrolled run.

Piles are then driven or drilled until pile refusal.

Pile refusal is defined as the minimum rate of penetration beyond which further advancement
of the pile is no longer achievable because of the time required and the possible damage to
the pile or to the hammer. A widely accepted rate for defining refusal is 300 blows/feet (980

4.5 Pile-to-Jacket Connections

4.5.1 Welded shims

The shims are inserted at the top of the pile within the annulus between the pile and jacket leg
(see Figure 6) and welded afterwards.

• lifting from the barge deck.

• positioning over pile by booming out or in (the bell of the hammer acts as a stabling
guide... very helpful in rough weather).
• alignment of the pile cap.
• lowering leads after hammer positioning.

Each add-on should be designed to prevent bending or buckling failure during installation and
in-place conditions.

Page 15 of 25 Page 16 of 25
Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

4.5.2 Mechanical locking system This type of connection is most popular for subsea templates. It offers immediate strength and
the possibility to re-enter the connection should swaging prove incomplete.
This metal-to-metal connection is achieved by a hydraulic swaging tool lowered inside the pile
and expanding it into machined grooves provided in the sleeves at two or three elevations as 4.5.3 Grouting
shown on Figure 7.
This hybrid connection is the most commonly used for connecting piles to the main structure
(in the mudline area). Forces are transmitted by shear through the grout.

Figure 8 shows the two types of packers commonly used. The expansive, non-shrinking grout
must fill completely the annulus between the pile and leg (or sleeve).

Page 17 of 25 Page 18 of 25
Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

Bonding should be excellent; it is improved by shear connectors (shear keys, strips or weld • information about the pile/structure connection:
beads disposed on the surface of the sleeve and pile in contact with the grout).
- equipment and procedure employed.
The width of the annulus between pile and sleeve should be maintained constant by use of - overall volume of grout and quality.
centralizers and be limited to: - record of interruptions and delays.

• 1,5in. minimum, (38,1mm)

• about 4in. (101,6mm) maximum (to avoid destruction of the tensile strength of the
grout by internal microcracking).

Packers are used to confine the grout and prevent it from escaping at the base of the sleeve.
Packers are often damaged during piling and are therefore:

• installed in a double set.

• attached to the base of the sleeve to protect them during pile entry and driving.

Thorough filling should be checked by suitable devices, e.g. electrical resistance gauges,
radioactive tracers, well-logging devices or overflow pipes checked by divers.

4.6 Quality Control

Quality control shall:

• confirm the adequacy of the foundation with respect to the design.

• provide a record of pile installation for reference to subsequent driving of nearby piles
and future modifications to the platform.

The installation report shall mention:

• pile identification (diameter and thickness).

• measured lengths of add-ons and cut-offs.
• self penetration of pile (under its own weight and under static weight of the hammer).
• blowcount throughout driving with identification of hammer used and energy, as
shown in Figure 9.
• record of incidents and abnormalities:

- unexpected behaviour of the pile and/or hammer.

- interruptions of driving (with set-up time and blowcount subsequently required to break the
pile loose).
- pile damage if any.

• elevations of soil plug and internal water surface after driving.

Page 19 of 25 Page 20 of 25
Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

4.7 Contingency Plan TABLE 1 Properties of some hammers used offshore

Contingency documents should provide back-up solutions in case "unforeseen" events occur Expected Net
Rated Striking
such as: Energy (ft-lb x
Hammer Weight including 1000)
Blows per
• impossibility to get the required pile penetration. Type Offshore Cage, if
Minute (ft-lb x On
any (metric tons) KNm On Pile
• mechanical breakdown of the hammer. 1000) Anvil
• grout pipe blockage.
Vulcan 3250 Single-acting steam 60 300 750 1040 673 600

5. CONCLUDING SUMMARY HBM 3000 Hydraulic underwater 50-60 175 1034 1430 542 542

This lecture has described: HBM 3000 A Hydraulic underwater 40-70 190 1100 1520 796 796

HBM 3000 P Slender hydraulic underwater 40-70 170 1120 1550 800 800
• the difficult aspects of foundations in a variety of soils.
• the multiplicity of solutions and the different kind of piles and hammers. Menck MHU 900 Slender hydraulic underwater 48-65 135 - - 651 618

• the complexity of the process from design to installation. Menck MRBS 8000 Single-acting steam 38 280 868 1200 715 629

Vulcan 4250 Single-acting steam 53 337 1000 1380 901 800

HBM 4000 Hydraulic underwater 40-70 222 1700 2350 1157 1157
Vulcan 6300 Single-acting steam 37 380 1800 2490 1697 1440

[1] API-RP2A, "Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed
Menck MRBS 12500 Single-acting steam 38 385 1582 2190 1384 1147
Offshore Platforms", American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., 18th ed., 1989.
Menck MHU 1700 Slender hydraulic underwater 32-65 235 - - 1230 1169

IHC S-300 Slender hydraulic underwater 40 30 220 300 - -

1. McClelland, B. and Reifel, M. D., Planning and design of fixed offshore platforms, Von IHC S-800 Slender hydraulic underwater 40 80 580 800 - -

Mostrand Reinhold Company (1982).

IHC S-1600 Slender hydraulic underwater 30 160 1160 1600 - -
2. Bowles, J. E., Foundation analysis and design, MacGraw Hill Book Company (4th
edition 1988). IHC S-2000 Slender hydraulic underwater - 260 1449 2000 - -

3. Bowles, J. E., Analytical and computer methods in Foundation Engineering, MacGraw IHC S-2300 Slender hydraulic underwater - - 1566 2300 - -
Hill Book Company (1983).
4. Poulos, H. G. and Davis, E. H., Pile foundation analysis and design, John Wiley and
Sons (1980).
5. Graff, W. J., Introduction to offshore structures, Gulf Publishing Company (1981).
6. Le Tirant, P., Reconnaissance des sols en mer pour l'implantation des ouvrages
Pétroliens, Technip (1976)
7. Pieux dans les formatines carbonates - Technip ARGEMA (1988).
8. Capacité patante des pieux - Technip ARGEMA (1988).
9. Dawson, T. H., Offshore Structural Engineering, Prentice Hall Inc (1983).
10. Gerwick, Ben C., Construction of Offshore Structures, John Wiley and Sons (1986).

Page 21 of 25 Page 22 of 25
Lecture 15A.6 Lecture 15A.6

TABLE 2 Large pile driving hammers C. Hydraulic Hammers

Standard Hammer Typical

Rated Energy Ram Weight Rated
Weight Operating
Make Model Oil Flow
A. Air/Steam Hammers Weight Pressure
(ft-lb) (kips) (gal. min)
Typical (kips) (kips) (psi)
Std. Rated
Rated Ram Max. Steam Air Hose
Pilecap Operating
Hammer Rated 4000 1.200.000 205 490
Make Model Energy Weight Stroke Weight Consumption Consumption ST/F
Weight Pressure
BPM 3000A 800.000 152 414
(ft-lbs) (kips) (m) (w/leads) (lbs ht) (lbs ht) .....
(kips) (psi)
3000 725.000 139 33
HMB 40-70
2@ 1500 290.000 55 17,6 172
6850 510.000 85 72 57,5 312 180 31.500 7.500 4 40

900 170.000 30,8 88

5650 325.000 65 60 59,0 262 160 3@ 45
500 72.000 9,5 1,1 27,5
Conmaco 5300 150.000 30 60 12,7 92 160 8.064 1.711 46
300 90.000 30 36 12,7 86 150 6.944 1.471 54
200 60.000 20 36 12,7 74 120 5.563 1.195 59 760.000 132 84 415 3400 845 50-80

MHU 1.230.000 207 77 617 3400 845 32-65

2@ 900
12500 1.582.220 275,58 69 154,32 853 171 53.910 26.500 6 36 650.000 110 386 3100 580 48-65

8800 954.750 194,01 59 103,62 600 150 32.400 16.700 8 36 195 141.000 22,0 6,0 59 3550 98 38

8000 867.960 176,37 59 85,98 564 142 30.860 15.900 8 38 Menck MH 119.000 19,0 6,0 51 3190 103 42
7000 632.885 154 49 92,4 583 156 30.800 14.830 4@ 35 105.000 16,5 6,0 46 2755 102 42
Menck 4 MH
5000 542.470 110,23 59 66,14 335 150 20.940 10.400 40 145 87.000 13,9 6,0 40 2320 103 44
(MRBS) 6
4600 499.070 101,41 59 52,91 313 142 19.840 9.900 42 MH 69.000 11,0 1,9 27 2830 75 48
6 120
3000 325.480 66,14 59 33,07 205 142 12.130 6.000 42 58.000 9,3 1,9 24 2465 75 48
5 MH 96
1800 189.850 38,58 59 22,05 125 142 7.060 3.700 44
4 MH 80
850 93.340 18,96 50 11,5 64 142 3.530 1.950 45

OS-60 18.000 60 36
Note 1: With the heavier hammers in the range given, the wall thicknesses must be near the

MKT OS-40 120.000 40 36

upper range of those listed in order to prevent overstress (yielding) in the pile under hard
OS-20 60.000 20 36 38,65 150 3 60

Page 23 of 25 Page 24 of 25
Lecture 15A.6

Note 2: With diesel hammers, the effective hammer energy is from one-half to two-thirds the
values generally listed by the manufacturers and the above table must be adjusted
accordingly. Diesel hammers would normally only be used on 36-in. or less diameter piles.

Note 3: Hydraulic hammers have a more sustained blow, and hence the above table can be
modified to fit the stress wave pattern.

TABLE 3 Typical values of pile sizes, wall thickness and hammer energies

Pile Outer Diameter Wall Thickness Hammer Energy

(in.) (mm) (in.) (mm) (ft-lb) (kN-m)

24 600 5/8 - 7/8 15-21 50.000 - 120.000 70 - 168

30 750 ¾ 19 50.000 - 120.000 70 - 168

36 900 7/8 - 1 21-25 50.000 - 180.000 70 - 252

42 1.050 1 - 1¼ 25-32 60.000 - 300.000 84 - 120

48 1.200 17- 1¾ 28-44 90.000 - 500.000 126 - 700

60 1.500 17 - 1¾ 28-44 90.000 - 500.000 126 - 700

72 1.800 1¼ - 2 32-50 120.000 - 700.000 168 - 980

84 2.100 1¼ - 2 32-50 180.000 - 1.000.000 252 - 1.400

96 2.400 1¼ - 2 32-50 180.000 - 1.000.000 252 - 1.400

108 2.700 1½ - 2½ 37-62 300.000 - 1.000.000 420 - 1.400

120 3.000 1½ - 2½ 37-62 300.000 - 1.000.000 420 - 1.400

Page 25 of 25
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

The question of fatigue behaviour always has to be addressed, even where simple
Tubular Joints in Offshore Structures
assessment of fatigue behaviour shows this will not be a problem. The joint designer must

OBJECTIVE/SCOPE therefore always be "fatigue minded".

To present methods for the design of large tubular joints typically found on offshore 2. DEFINITIONS

The following definitions are universally acknowledged [1]: (refer to Figure 1 for clarification):


Lecture 15A.1: Offshore Structures: General Introduction


Lecture 15A.8 : Fabrication

Lecture 15A.12: Connections in Offshore Deck Structures


The lecture defines the principle terms and ratios used in tubular joint design. It presents the
classifications for T, Y, X, N, K and KT joints and discusses the significance of gaps, overlaps,
multiplanar joints and the details of joint arrangements. It describes design methods for static
and fatigue strength, presenting some detailed information on stress concentration factors.


The main structure of topside consists of either an integrated deck or a module support frame
and modules. Commonly tubular lattice frames are present, however a significant amount of
rolled and built up sections are also used.

This lecture refers to the design of tubular joints. These are used extensively offshore,
particularly for jacket structures. Connections of I-shape sections or boxed beams whether
rolled or built up, are basically similar to those used for onshore structures. Refer to the
corresponding lectures for appropriate design guidance.

Two main calculations need to be performed in order to adequately design a tubular joint.
These are: The CHORD is the main member, receiving the other components. It is necessarily a through
member. The other tubulars are welded to it, without piercing through the chord at the
1. Static strength considerations intersection.
2. Fatigue behaviour considerations
Other tubulars belonging to the joint assembly may be as large as the chord, but they can
never be larger.

Page 1 of 23 Page 2 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

The CAN is the section of the chord reinforced with an increased wall thickness, or stiffeners. 2.2 Geometrical ratios

The BRACES are the structural members which are welded to the chord. They physically
terminate on the chord skin. α= Can slenderness ratio

The STUB is the extremity of the brace, locally reinforced with an increased wall thickness. β= Brace to chord diameter ratio (always ≤ 1)

Different positions have to be identified along the brace - chord intersection line:
γ= Chord slenderness ratio

• CROWN position is located where the brace to chord intersection crosses the plane
containing the brace and chord. τ= Brace to chord thickness ratio

• SADDLE position is located where the brace to chord intersection crosses the plane
perpendicular to the plane containing the brace and chord, which also contains the ζ= Relative gap

brace axis.
These are non-dimensional variables for use in parametrical equations.

2.1 Geometrical definitions


Refer to Figure 1
Load paths within a joint are very different, according to the joint geometry. The following

L is the length of the chord can classification is used, see Figure 2.

D is the chord outside diameter

T is the chord wall thickness

d is the brace outside diameter

t is the brace wall thickness (where there are several braces, a subscript identifies the

g is the theoretical gap between weld toes

e is the eccentricity. Positive when opposite to the brace side, Negative when on the
brace side

θ is the angle between brace and chord axis.

Page 3 of 23 Page 4 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

3.1 T and Y Joints Table 3.1 Geometrical Limits and Typical Ranges

These are joints made up of a single brace, perpendicular to the chord (T joint) or inclined to it
(Y joints). Parameter Typical range

min max
In a T joint, the axial force acting in the brace is reacted by bending in the chord.

In a Y joint, the axial force is reacted by bending and axial force in the chord. 0,4 - 0,8 0,2 1

3.2 X Joints
12 - 20 10 30
X joints include two coaxial braces on either side of the chord.

Axial forces are balanced in the braces, which in an ideal X joint have the same diameter and 0,3 - 0,7 0,2 1 (2)
thickness. In fact, other considerations such as brace length, which can be very different on
each side of the chord, may lead to two slightly different braces. Angles may be slightly θ 40° - 90° 30° (3) 90° (1)
different as well.

(1) Physical limitation

The important point to note is the balance of forces in the braces. If the axial force in one
brace is far higher than the one in the other brace, the joint may be classified as a Y (or a T)
(2) Brace shall be less or equal to chord thickness (see punching shear)
joint rather than an X joint.

(3) Angle limitation to get a correct workmanship of welds.

3.3 N and K Joints

3.6 How to classify a joint

These joints include two braces. One of them may be perpendicular to the chord (N joint) or
both inclined (K joint). This classification deals only with braces located in one plane.

The ideal load pattern of these joints is reached when axial forces are balanced in the braces, It must always be remembered that this classification is based on load pattern as well as the
i.e. net force into chord member is low. geometry. Engineering judgement must therefore be used to classify a joint. For example a
geometrical K joint may be classified as.
3.4 KT Joints

• a K joint when forces are balanced within braces.

These joints include three braces.
• a Y joint when the force in one brace is reacted predominantly by the chord, rather
than by the second brace.
The load pattern for these joints is more complex. Ideally axial forces should be balanced
within the braces, i.e. net force into chord member is low.

3.5 Limitations

For a joint to be able to be fabricated and to be effective, the geometrical ratios given in
Section 2.2 have limitations. Table 3.1 shows these limits and their typical ranges.

Page 5 of 23 Page 6 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

4. GAP AND OVERLAP 4.2 Limitations

4.1 Definitions The minimum gap allowed is 50mm. This limitation is set to avoid two welds clashing. This is
important because the gap is a highly stressed zone.
The GAP is the distance along the chord between the weld toes of the braces (Figure 3).
4.3 Multiplanar Joints

The same definitions and limitations apply to multiplanar joints.


As a rule, welds in a joint have to be kept away from zones of high stress concentration.

The following practice, see Figure 4, should be followed:

1. The chord circumferential welds are to be located at either 300mm or a quarter of the
chord diameter, whichever is the greater, from the nearest point of a brace-chord
2. The brace circumferential welds are to be located at either 600mm or a brace
diameter, whichever is the greatest, from the nearest point of the brace-chord
3. The actual gap shall not be less than 50mm. To achieve this, most designers use a
70 or 75mm theoretical gap.
4. Eccentricity and offset are to be kept within a quarter of the chord diameter. When
higher values can not be avoided, secondary moments have to be introduced in the
structural analysis by introducing extra nodes.
5. Thickness transitions are smoothed to a 1 in 4 slope, by tapering the thicker wall.

The theoretical gap is the shortest distance between the outer surfaces of two braces,
measured on the line where they cross the chord outer surface. The real gap is the one
measured at the corresponding location, between actual weld toes.

A brace OVERLAPS another brace when one brace is welded to the other brace.

The overlapping brace is always the thinner brace.

The overlapped brace is always completely welded to the chord.

Page 7 of 23 Page 8 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7


6.1 Loads taken into account

The loads considered in a joint static strength design are the axial force, the in-plane bending
moment and the out-of-plane bending moment for each brace.

The other components (transverse shear and brace torsion moment) are usually neglected
since unlike the preceding loads, these loads do not induce bending in the chord wall.
Nevertheless, their presence must never be forgotten and in some specific cases, their effects
must be assessed. The axial load, in-plane and out-of-plane bending moments are normally
the dimensioning criterion for tubular joints.

6.2 Punching shear

6.2.1 Acting punching shear

The acting punching shear is the shear stress developed in the chord by the brace load.

The acting punching stress vp is written as:

vp = τ f sin θ

where f is the nominal axial, in-plane bending or out-of-plane bending stress in the brace
(punching shear for each kept separate), see Figure 5.

Page 9 of 23 Page 10 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

6.2.2 Allowable punching shear 6.2.3 The API method

Allowable punching shear values in the chord wall are determined from test results carried out Several offshore design regulations are based on the punching shear concept [1,2]. The
on full scale or on reduced scale models. following method is presented in API RP2A [2]:

Tests are performed on experimental rigs such as the one shown in Figure 6. They are A. Principle
performed for a single load-case (axial force, in-plane bending, or out-of-plane bending).
• This method applies to a single brace without overlap, for a non-stiffened joint. When
the joint includes several braces, each brace connection is checked independently.
• Punching shear for each load component (axial force, in-plane bending, and out of
plane bending) is calculated and compared to the allowable punching shear stress for
the appropriate load and geometry.
• Interaction formulae are given for combined loading, combining the three punching
shear ratio calculated for each component.

B. Allowable punching shear stress

The allowable punching shear stress for each load component is:

Vpa = Qq Qf

where: Fyc is the yield strength of the chord member

Qq is to account for the effects of type of loading and geometry, see Table 6.1.

Qf is a factor to account for the nominal longitudinal stress in the chord

The ultimate static strength obtained through these tests can then be expressed in terms of
punching shear, as defined above.
Qf = 1 - λ γ

Statistical treatments of results allow formulae to be defined for the allowable punching shear
fAX, fIPB, fOPB are the nominal axial, in-plane bending and out of plane bending stresses in the

Page 11 of 23 Page 12 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

Value for λ and Qq are given in Table 6.1 C. Loading Combination

Table 6.1 Values of Qq for allowable punching shear stress from APIRP2A For combined loadings involving more than one load component, the following equations shall
be satisfied:
Load component Axial load In-plane bending Out of plane bending

Stress in brace fax fby fbz

Acting punching shear Vpx = τ fax sin θ Vp = τ fby sin θ Vp = τ fbz sin θ

where: IPB refers to in-plane bending component

K joints

OPB refers to out-of-plane bending component

T & Y Joints
AX refers to axial force component

Tension Compression
w/o diaphragm


where: arc sin term is in radians.

w diaphragm
6.3 Overlapping joints

λ 0,030 0,045 0,021

The parametric formulae discussed in Section 6.2 were specifically established for non-
overlapping joints with no internal reinforcement. These formulae cannot be used for
overlapping joints.
Qg = 1,8 - 0,1 for γ ≤ 20
In an overlapping joint, part of the load is transferred directly from one brace to the other
Qg = 1,4 - 4 g/D for γ > 20 through the overlapping section, without that part of the load transferring through the chord.
The static strength of an overlapping joint is higher than a similar joint without an overlap.
but Qg must be ≥ 1,0

API RP2A, [2] allows the static shear strength of the overlapping weld section to be added to
the punching shear capacity of the brace-chord connection, see Figure 7.
Qβ = for β > 0,6

QB = 1,0 for β ≤ 0,6

Page 13 of 23 Page 14 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

Some joints may require more complex stiffening. This is the case for large diameter chords
which would otherwise require an un-economic chord wall thickness.

There are very many different stiffening solutions for a large diameter chord. Therefore there
are no parametric formulae available for these designs. Specific analyses must therefore be
carried out for an accurate solution. This may involve finite element analysis.

6.4.2 Ring Stiffening

Ring stiffening consists of ring plates welded in the chord can prior to welding the braces to it.

The punching shear capacity of the chord still may be taken into account when calculating the
forces acting on the stiffeners.

Ring stiffeners can be justified through parametric formulae available in various publications,
the best known being published by Roark [3].

The allowable axial load component perpendicular to the chord, P⊥ (in Newtons) should be
taken to be:
As in any mechanical body presenting discontinuities, stresses are not uniform along the
connecting surface of a brace and chord. Figure 8 shows an example of the stress distribution
P⊥ = (vpa T l1) + (2vwa tw l2)
in a joint with local discontinuities at and in the vicinity of the brace chord intersection.


vpa is the allowable punching shear stress (MPa) for axial stress.

l1 is the circumference for that portion of the brace which contacts the chord (mm), see Figure

vwa is the allowable shear stress for weld between braces (MPa).

tw is the lesser of the weld throat thickness or the thickness t of the inner brace (mm).

l2 is the projected chord length (one side) of the overlapping weld, measured perpendicular to
the chord (mm), see Figure 7.

6.4 Reinforced joints

6.4.1 Definition

Large chord wall thickness may be reduced by stiffening the chord. The most usual
reinforcement consists of ring stiffening inside the chord.

Page 15 of 23 Page 16 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

7.1 Stress concentration factor Out-of-plane bending

The stress concentration factor (SCF) is defined as the ratio of the highest stress in the SCFCHORD = 1,024 γ1,014 τ0,889 β0,787 sin1,557 θ 0,3 ≤ β ≤ 0,55
connection (or hot spot stress fHS) to the nominal brace stress fNOM:
SCFCHORD = 0,462 γ1,014 τ0,889 β(-0,619) sin1,557 θ 0,55 ≤ β ≤ 0,75
SCFBRACE = 1,522 γ0,852 τ0,543 β0,801 sin2,033 θ 0,3 ≤ β ≤ 0,55
7.2 Kellog equation
SCFBRACE = 0,796 γ0,852 τ0,543 β(-0,281) sin2,033 θ 0,55 ≤ β ≤ 0,75
This approximate formula can be used for rapidly assessing SCF, for preliminary analyses.
In-plane bending
fHS/vp = 1,8 √γ
SCFCHORD = 0,702 γ0,60 τ0,86 β(-0,04) sin0,57 θ
vp being the punching shear.
SCFBRACE = 1,301 γ0,23 τ0,38 β(-0,38) sin0,21 θ
7.3 Parametric formulae
7.3.2 Kuang equations for K joints [4]
SCF parametric formulae have been determined based on a large number of finite element
analyses and cross-checked with either full scale or model tests. They are based on many Balanced axial load

man years of work by numerous research teams.

SCFCHORD = 1,506 γ0,666 τ1,104 β(-0,059) (g/D)0,067 sin1,521 θ

A large number of parametric formulae have been published [4]. Sections 7.3.1 to 7.3.3 give,
SCFBRACE = 0,92 γ0,157 τ0,56 β(-0,441) (g/D)0,058 Exp(1,448 sin θ )
as an example, the most commonly used and acknowledged formulae.

In-plane bending (bending moment applied to one brace only)

In using any set of formulae, care should be taken in classifying the situation and ascertaining
any limitations that apply.
SCFCHORD = 1,822 γ0,38 τ0,94 β0,06 sin0,9 θ

The only alternatives to these formulae are to perform model tests (full size or at reduced
SCFBRACE = 2,827 τ0,35 β-0,35 sin0,5 θ
scale) or finite element analyses.

7.3.3 Kuang equations for KT joints [4]

No parametric formulae are presently available for stiffened joints. The only ones published to
date concern non-stiffened, non overlapping joints. Balanced axial load Outer braces only loaded

7.3.1 Kuang equations for T/Y joints [4] SCFCHORD = 1,83 γ0,54 τ1,068 β0,12 sin θ 0° < θ ≤ 90°

Axial load SCFBRACE = 6,06 γ0,1 τ0,68 β-0,36 {(g1+g2)/D}0,126 sin0,5 θ 0° < θ ≥ 45°

SCFCHORD = 1,981 γ0,808 τ1,333 exp(-1,2β3 α0,057 sin1,694 θ SCFBRACE = 13,8 γ0,1 τ0,68 β-0,36 {(g1+g2)/D}0,126 sin2,88 θ 45° ≤ θ ≥ 90°

SCFBRACE = 3,751 γ0,55 τexp(-1,35β 3) α0,12 sin1,94 θ SCFBRACE = 4,89 γ0,123 τ0,672 β-0,396 {(g1+g2)/D}0,159 sin2,267 θ

Page 17 of 23 Page 18 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

In-plane bending - as for K joint 8.1.1 Wave histogram

Validity range A wave histogram has to be obtained for each direction around the platform. A simple form of
a wave histogram is as follows:
The above equation for T/Y, K and KT joints are generally valid for joint parameters within the
following limits:
Wave height (metres) Average number per year

8,333 ≤ γ ≤ 33,3
0-1,5 3 100 000

0,20 ≤ τ ≤ 0,8
1,5-3 410 000

0,3 ≤ β ≤ 0,8 unless stated otherwise

3-4,5 730 000

6,667 ≤ α ≤ 40 unless stated otherwise

4,5-6 5 000

0° ≤ σ ≤ 90° unless stated otherwise.

6-8 800

8-10 20

A fatigue analysis of a joint consists of the following steps:

8.2.2 Nominal stress ranges
1. Calculation of nominal stress ranges in the brace and the chords
2. Calculation of hot-spot stress range Nominal stress ranges can be calculated by following the steps below:
3. Calculation of joint fatigue lives using S-N curves for tubular members at joints.
1. Wave heights are grouped in "blocks", for which just one stress range will be
8.1 Nominal stress range calculated. Different wave directions need to be considered with a minimum of three
"blocks" per wave direction.
Nominal stress ranges in braces and chords are calculated by a global stress analyses. 2. For each block one representative wave is chosen, whose action is supposed to
represent the action of the whole block. The highest wave of the block is normally
3. Nominal stresses for each joint component are then calculated for different phase
angles of the chosen wave, for one complete cycle (360°). The nominal stress range
for the joint component is defined as the difference between the highest and the
lowest stress obtained for a full wave cycle. Four to twelve phase angles per wave
are usually considered.

8.2 Hot spot stress ranges

Hot spot stress ranges are then evaluated for each chosen joint location by applying
parametric formulae [4] (or by applying the SCF calculated from a detailed analysis).

Page 19 of 23 Page 20 of 23
Lecture 15A.7 Lecture 15A.7

When using parametric formulae, stress components (axial, in plane bending and out of plane 8.4 Cumulative Fatigue Damage Ratio
bending) have to be distinct throughout the calculations, as the SCF formulae apply
individually for each load component. The stress responses should be combined into the long term stress distribution, which should
then be used to calculate the cumulative fatigue damage ratio, D, given by:
Where a chord and brace intersect, four to eight locations are usually chosen around the
intersection line. For each of these locations the stress response for each sea state should be
computed, giving adequate consideration to both global and local stress effects. D=

8.3 S-N Curves Where,

S-N curves to be used for offshore structures are given by statutory regulations [1,2]. n is the number of cycles applied at a given stress range
APIRP2A uses the curves shown in Figure 9.
N is the number of cycles to cause failure for the given stress range (obtained from
appropriate S-N curve).

In general the design fatigue life of each joint and member should be at least twice the
intended service life of the structure, i.e. a safety factor of 2,0.

For critical elements whose sole failure would be catastrophic, use of a larger safety factor
should be considered.


• Terminology, geometric ratios and joint classifications are now standardised for
tubular joints.
• The presence of gaps and overlaps significantly influence joint behaviour.
• Determination of static strength is generally based on the concept of punching shear,
with the allowance of overlapping joints.
• Special analysis are required for reinforced joints.
• Stress concentration factors (SCF) are defined for most commonly occurring joints.
• Determination of fatigue strength is based on nominal stress range multiplied by
appropriate SCF.

The X and X1 curves should be used with hot spot stress ranges based on suitable stress
concentration factors. The permissible number of cycles is obtained from the S-N curve by
taking the hot spot stress range, and entering the graph.

It should be noted that Curve X presumes welds which merge smoothly with the adjoining
base metal. For weld without such profile control, the X′ curve is applicable.

Page 21 of 23 Page 22 of 23
Lecture 15A.7


[1] Offshore Installations: Guidance on Design, Construction and Certification. Fourth Edition,
HMSO, 1990.

[2] Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed Offshore
Platforms, API RP2A Nineteenth Edition.

[3] Young, Warren C, Roark's Formulae for Stress and Strain. Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill.

[4] Stress Concentration Factors for Simple Tubular Joints, 1989, Volumes 1 to 5, Lloyds
Register of Shipping-Offshore Division.

Page 23 of 23
Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

1.1 Construction Phases

Jacket construction involves the following work phases:

To describe the general methods of jacket fabrication. To discuss the various stages of
operation from material selection, through erection, including construction practices and
equipment. To indicate the calculations normally involved.

The technical and commercial activities required to supply material and specialised products
to enable the execution of construction activities.

Lecture 15A.1: Offshore Structures: General Introduction


Lectures 3.1: General Fabrication of Steel Structures

The processes normally carried out in a fabrication shop to produce relatively small units.
Thus fabrication includes processes such as cutting, rolling, pressing, fitting, welding, stress
Lectures 3.2: Erection
relieving on such items as welded tubulars, beams, nodes, girders, cones, supports, clamps,

Lectures 3.3: Principles of Welding etc.

Lectures 3.4: Welding Processes Assembly

RELATED LECTURES The processes normally performed outside the fabrication shop but at ground level in order to
assemble groups of shop fabricated items into an (assembled) unit for subsequent erection in
Lectures 15: Structural Systems: Offshore accordance with a construction sequence.

SUMMARY Erection

The construction philosophy and definition of the construction phases of the fabrication of The processes required to install assembled and shop fabricated items together in their final
offshore structures are described. The overall execution plan and the contractor's configuration. These processes include fitting and welding. However the emphasis is on the
organisation for its implementation are introduced and constructability i.e. the more general transportation and lifting of heavy assemblies.
aspects of design - the size and transportability of components, welding access
considerations, construction tolerance, is discussed. 1.2 Construction Philosophy

The fabrication of nodes and reinforced tubulars, including the fabrication procedure for a The design of a jacket, i.e. a lifted, launched or self-floating jacket, is determined primarily by

typical node is described together with jacket assembly and erection and the procedures for the offshore installation equipment available and the intended water depth. In general the

"big lift". preference is to lift the jacket in place. The size of such jackets has being increasing as
offshore lifting capacity has grown. With modern lifting capacity now up to 14,000 tonnes,
jackets approaching this order of magnitude are now candidates for lifting into position.

For jackets destined for shallow water, where the height is of the same order as the plan
dimensions, erection is usually carried out vertically, i.e. in the same attitude as the final
installation. Such jackets may be lifted or skidded onto the barge.

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

Jackets destined for deeper water are usually erected on their side. Such jackets are loaded assurance process. They are crucial tools for controlling the project execution and providing
by skidding out onto a barge. Historically most large jackets have been barge launched. This verifiable evidence of the fabricator's competence.
method of construction usually involves additional flotation tanks and extensive pipework and
valving to enable the legs to be flooded for ballasting the jacket into the vertical position on Quality control, inspection and testing should be performed during all phases of construction

site. This method of construction is currently applicable for jackets up to 25,000 tonnes. Very to ensure that specified requirements are being met. The most effective quality scheme is one

large jackets, in excess of this, have been constructed as self-floaters in a graving dock and which prevents the introduction of defective materials and workmanship into a structure,

towed offshore subsequent to flooding the dock. rather than finding problems after they occur.

In considering the construction philosophy and contract strategy, the objectives of achieving A general note on Quality Assurance for Offshore Construction is included in Appendix 1. It is

quality requirements and efficiency are of fundamental importance. An offshore jacket goes applicable to this lecture and also to Lecture 15A.9: Installation.

through a series of very distinct stages as it moves from fabrication to load-out. These stages
range from operations which are almost totally automatic under very controlled conditions,
e.g. steel production, automatic welding, to operations which are almost totally manual in very
Engineering of execution, 'construction engineering', entails the work required during each
variable conditions, e.g. yard erection, offshore activities. Thus decreasing efficiency occurs
phase of execution to ensure that the design requirements are fulfilled. A general method of
as progress through these operations advances. In addition, the stable conditions in repetitive
execution is envisaged at the jacket design stage. Since the shape of the jacket, its form and
processes of the early operations are more conducive to the maintenance of high quality. A
properties require quite specific methods of load-out, offshore transportation and installation
third basic consideration is that risk increases with each progressive stage. These general
(which are construction activities executed under contractor responsibility), there is
trends during construction are shown in Table 1.
considerable interfacing of engineering requirements in these phases. In the earlier phases,
i.e. procurement through assembly and erection, the contractor, while being limited by design
It is clear therefore that, as a general principle, as much work as possible should be
specification requirements, has freedom of choice with regard to the exact method of
undertaken in the earlier more productive, higher quality, less risky phases of the project.
execution adopted. However, in all phases the contractor is required to demonstrate that the

Some of the principles which reduce the time and cost of construction are: methods which he adopts are compatible with the specification requirements and do not affect
the integrity of the structure.
• Subdivision into as large components and modules as it is possible to fabricate and
assemble. Each phase of execution has its own specific engineering requirements which are determined

• Concurrent fabrication of major components in the most favourable location and by the processes executed during that phase. These processes range from those which are

under the most favourable conditions applicable to each component. largely repetitive early in execution to one-off activities in the latter phases. Accordingly the

• Planning the flow of components to their assembly site. Providing adequate facilities engineering which supports procurement and shop fabrication is voluminous but repetitive,

and equipment for assembly, including such items as synchrolifts, and heavy-lift e.g. material take-offs, shop drawings, cutting plans, etc. The assembly and erection phases

cranes. are supported by a mix of repetitive engineering, e.g. scaffolding, and specific studies for

• Simplification of configurations and standardisation of details, grades and sizes. limited series of activities.

Avoidance of excessively tight tolerances.

The volume of contractor construction engineering on a large jacket is typically
• Selection of structural systems that utilise skills and trades on a relatively continuous
130,000/150,000 hours. The typical organisation of a contractor's technical documents is
and uniform basis. Avoidance of procedures that are overly sensitive to weather
shown in Table 2.
conditions; ensuring that processes which are weather sensitive are completed during
shop fabrication, e.g. protective coating.
When designing larger components consideration must be given to their subdivision into
elements which will not distort when fabricated and which can be relatively easily assembled
Quality management is a vital and integral component of all aspects of offshore fabrication.
without welding/dimensional problems. For instance, nodes are categorised as either complex
Essentially it involves ensuring that what is produced is what is needed. The requirements for
or simple from the execution viewpoint based on the number of separate fitting-welding-NDT
documentation, hold point, audits, reviews and corrective actions are part of the quality

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

(non-destructive testing) cycles required during fabrication and the possibility of automatic
welding between the node can and the tubular during sub-assembly. The number of fitting-
welding-NDT cycles depends on the existence of ring stiffeners and the number and
disposition of stubs. For reasons relating to weld distortion and to allow automatic welding, it
is almost essential that ring stiffeners be installed prior to fitting/welding of stubs. This adds an
extra cycle to the fabrication of the node. Thus ring stiffeners are best avoided. Where this is
not possible, care should be taken to define them at an early stage on critical nodes.

Node stubs can be classified as simple or overlapping. Overlapping stubs add at least one
complete cycle to node fabrication and should therefore be avoided where possible. The
minimum separation between the weld toes of adjacent simple stubs is typically specified as
50mm, see API RP2A, Fig. 4.3.1-2 [1]. However this distance is too small to allow
simultaneous welding of adjacent stubs - 150mm is a more practical distance.


3.1 Fabrication Processes

The specifications for fabrication of offshore jackets are determined by the designer. They are
usually based on one or more of the well known codes, with additional requirements dictated
by the specific design, client standards, statutory rules, etc. Two recognised codes which are
used extensively for establishing general requirements are the API RP2A Recommended
Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed Offshore Platforms, [1] and AISC
Specification for the Design, Fabrication and Erection of Structural Steel for Buildings [2].

For larger jackets, the nodes tend to be fabricated separately under highly controlled shop
conditions. Alternatively cast steel nodes may be used in order to eliminate critical welding

Recent experience, both in the laboratory and as a result of in-service inspection, has
prompted increasingly greater attention to the welding aspects of fabrication. In particular
greater attention has been focused on the importance of complete joint penetration groove
welds, elimination of "notch effects" at the root and especially the cap of node welds, and
achieving the required weld profile. Welds which are critical for fatigue endurance may be
required to be ground to a smooth curve. This process reduces the probability of brittle failure.
However it also implies increasingly sophisticated and stringent fabrication and quality
assurance/quality control (QA/QC) requirements. Typical welding details from API RP2A [1],
showing tubular members framing into or overlapping another member with access from one
side only, are shown in Figure 1. However, a lot of emphasis is placed on designing stubs
which can be welded from both sides. For instance, in the weld details for the Bouri jacket,
Figure 2, most stubs are accessible from both sides.

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

order to minimise the risk of defect propagation. This is not unduly conservative - the
"Alexander Kielland" capsized due to a fatigue crack initiated at the attachment of a sonar
device to a principal structural member. Temporary cut-outs should be of sufficient size to
allow sound replacement. Corners should be rounded to minimise stress concentrations.

Where welds are found to be defective, they should be rectified by grinding, machining or
welding as required. Welds of insufficient strength, ductility or notch toughness should be
completely removed prior to repair.

In general, sub-assemblies are executed so that at least one of the two edges which will mate
during subsequent assembly/erection has a cut-off allowance. This procedure provides
flexibility in that the sub-assemblies can be sent to the field with the cut-off allowance in place
and cut to fit on location. Alternatively they can be cut to exact dimensions during sub-
assembly where the as-built dimension has already been determined.

3.2 Node Fabrication

The primary structure nodes are frequently geometrically complex. Accordingly their
fabrication presents particular problems, especially from the points of view of welding and
dimensional control.

On a complex jacket the designer may specify the node cans, or the whole node including
stubs and ring stiffeners, in material with specified through-thickness properties. This
requirement is introduced because of tearing or punching effects likely to be sustained by
these elements during their design life and indeed during fabrication. The designer may also
"thicken" or reinforce the cans to withstand local stresses. Finally, in an effort to ensure that
Welding procedures are required, detailing steel grades, joint design, welding consumables, node welds contain minimal levels of residual stress due to fabrication, thermal stress
etc. Welds are typically subject to 100% visual, magnetic particle inspection (MPI) and relieving or post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) of the heavier more restrained welds may be
ultrasonic test (UT) inspection. The weld acceptance criteria, e.g. maximum weld undercut prescribed. This is frequently a requirement for thicker walled North Sea jackets.
length (t/2 or 10mm), and maximum depth (t/20 or 0,25mm), imply an exceptionally high
quality of welding. In addition all welders should be qualified for the type of work assigned to API RP2A [1] provides specific tolerances for final fabrication. The contractor must work

them and certified accordingly. within tolerances which preserve dimensional compatibility and observe weight control
requirements at each phase of construction. Bearing these requirements in mind, node
The location and orientation of circumferential and longitudinal welds during construction is fabrication tolerances are tight, e.g. typical working points within 6mm of theoretical, stub
based on minimising interferences and ensuring the minimum distance between angle within 1 minute, all braces within 12mm of the design dimension.
circumferential welds. Special attention is required on items such as pile sleeve shear plates,
launch runners, mudmats, etc. where planned avoidance of weld interference is critical. The typical fabrication process for a conventional node, assuming that the can (with or without
ring stiffeners) has already been fabricated, commences with profiling of stubs and terminates
All temporary plates and fittings should be subjected to the same requirements for weld with UT inspection of the finished node after PWHT.
testing as the member to which they are being affixed. There is also an overriding necessity
to ensure that such attachments are located at a safe distance from main structural welds in

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

The intermediate stages can be performed in several different ways, some of which depend • Constructability: certain sub-assemblies may have specific construction difficulties
on the specific geometry of the node and many of which depend on fabricator preference. associated with them, e.g. short, large diameter infillings are difficult to erect vertically
Some fabricators prefer to orient the can upright, maintaining that it enables more stubs to be and are best included in sub-assemblies, if possible.
fitted simultaneously. However the majority of fabricators tend to fit the stubs to a can placed
on horizontal rollers. The sequential steps in the fabrication of a typical node are as follows: 3.4 Dimensional Control

• Trace generators, working points, etc. onto the can. Cut and profile the stubs. Touch Of all the areas of quality control (QC) which require attention, that of dimensional control, as

up bevels and trace generators onto the stubs. Trace node locations onto the can emphasised in the code and specifications, tends to be exaggerated. However, it is clear that

surface and grind or blast areas. UT the cleaned areas to ensure that the steel is free attention must be paid to the dimensions which have structural significance, e.g. the

from laminations. Particular care is required where shrinkage strains in the through- straightness of elements, ovality of tubulars, eccentricities at node joints, etc. It is also clear

thickness direction may lead to lamellar tearing in highly restrained joints. that on a jacket the global alignment/verticality of items such as pile sleeves, conductor

• Assemble one or two adjacent stubs in the same plane on the can. Tack-weld in guides, launch runners, etc. are also important. Finally dimensional control of items which are

position. Verify dimensional control and weld preparations around stub. intended for "mating" or "removal" offshore, for example piles/pile sleeves, jacket top/MSF

• Weld according to predetermined sequence to limit deformation. The welding base, buoyancy tank/supports, etc. is vital to the efficiency of offshore installation. There are

processes used are usually shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) or flux cored arc therefore, many aspects where the attention to dimensional control is justified even if the

welding (FCAW), see Lecture 3.4 Welding Processes. If the weld is double-sided, overall design might occasionally benefit if the designer did not always require that everything

after 3 or 4 passes, back-grind and clean weld roots from opposite side. Perform MPI fitted so tightly.

test on ground roots. Complete weld body. Deposit weld bead for cap profiling. Toe-
The principal reason for requiring such accurate dimensional control of nodes and tubulars
grind profiles if required. Grind weld beads at base metal to remove undercut. Allow
during fabrication is not because of the structural consequences of out-of-tolerance but rather
welds to cool. Visually inspect finished welds. MPI and UT finished welds.
because the parts may not fit together in the yard. It is one of the most vexing incongruities of
• Repeat previous steps for successive stubs.
the tubular steel jacket concept that the theoretical tolerances on node stub eccentricity are
• When all stubs have been fitted and welded out perform post weld heat treatment
generous from the structural viewpoint while the actual tolerances are very tight because of
(PWHT) as required, blast or grind welds and perform NDT re-test on all welds.
considerations regarding the fitting together of components during subsequent phases of
• Cut any required off-cuts on cans or stubs. Perform final dimensional control of node.

3.3 Jacket Sub-assemblies

The dimensional control of node fabrication, in particular, involves potentially intricate

Sub-assembly can be considered as an intermediate stage between standard shop calculations in the shop. However, the most successful systems simply involve the inclusion

fabrication, i.e. nodes, tubulars, beams etc. and assembly or erection. The emphasis is on on the shop drawings of several additional "checking" measurements and the correct marking

performing the maximum number of welds in the shop. This ensures the highest weld quality of the node can and stub generators and offsets.

since many node and tubular welds can be double-sided and/or automatic when performed in
the fabrication shop.

4.1 Jacket Assembly

When defining sub-assemblies, the principal factors to be borne in mind are the following:

Shop fabricated sub-assemblies and loose items are incorporated into assemblies which
• Size/Weight/Dimensions: these are largely governed by considerations of
constitute the major lifts of the erection sequence. Thus for a large jacket, the assemblies are
typically of four types:
• Welding Sequence: sub-assemblies should not imply a difficult welding sequence
causing distortion or induced stresses during sub-assembly welding or the
• Jacket levels incorporating conductor guide frames
subsequent assembly or erection.
• Top frames

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

• Jacket rows i.e. bents or partial bents Dimensional control of the assembly both prior to and after welding, can be by means of a
• Pile sleeve clusters. series of self-checking measurements on the structure itself. Provided cross checks are
adequate, the time consuming exercise of referring measurements to an external bench mark
The assembly and erection phases are based on the following objectives: can be avoided.

• Maximise on-the-ground assembly (as opposed to erection) and maximise access Normally the assembly is tacked in position to theoretical dimensions using allowable positive
around the jacket during execution. tolerances to compensate for weld shrinkage. Perhaps the most fundamental rule in fitting is
• Minimise erection joints in principal structural elements, such as jacket legs, launch the avoidance of "force-fitting" of members prior to welding or to force stresses into unwelded
runners, rows, levels. Align critical areas such as conductor guides, pile sleeves, members through the welding sequence since such conditions cannot have been foreseen by
launch runners. the designer.
• Sub-assemble principal structural elements of jacket such as jacket legs, rows, levels.
Sub-assemble, and where possible pre-test, systems such as grouting, ballasting. An outline sequence of events which apply to all types of assembly is as follows:
Include maximum quantity of secondary items such as anodes, risers, J-tubes,
caissons. Coat or paint required areas (top of jacket, risers) prior to erection. • Preparation of assembly support and staging

• Minimise the use of temporary items which require subsequent removal, such as • Rough setting of assembly main structure and position tacking. Dimensional control of

scaffolding, walkways, lifting aids, etc. and pre-install such aids where they are assembly main structure.

necessary. • Infilling of secondary structure and position tacking. Dimensional control of assembly
and secondary structure.
The assembly of a jacket frame often having a spread at the base of 50m or more, places • Preweld inspection. Weldout of structure subject to continuous inspection and
severe demands on field layout and survey and on temporary support and adjustment according to approved sequence.
bracing. Such large dimensions mean that the thermal changes can be significant. • Installation of appurtenances (e.g. anodes, supports, walkways, risers, J-tubes,
Temperature differences may be as great as 30°C between dawn and afternoon and as much caissons, grouting and ballasting) and scaffolding, lifting, aids, erection guides,
as 15°C between various parts of the structure, resulting in several centimetres distortion. temporary attachments.
However, the practice of 'using the sun' to fit elements which are not dimensionally in- • Test (e.g. hydrotest) if required. Overall NDT, dimensional control.
tolerance is common in the field. This procedure in itself tends to induce residual stresses in • Blasting and painting or touch up. Removal of temporary assembly supports and
the structure. Because of the difficulty associated with thermal distortion, it is normal to staging.
"correct" all measurements to a standard temperature, e.g. 20° C. • Preparation for transport/lift/erection.

Elastic deflections are also a source of difficulty in maintaining tolerances in the location of 4.4 Jacket Erection
nodes. Foundation displacements under the skid beams and temporary erection skids must
be carefully calculated and monitored. In this phase assembled, sub-assembled and fabricated structures, together with loose items,
are incorporated into the final structure according to the sequence outlined in Figure 3a - 3e.
The overall assembly sequence and programme requires that each assembly be completed
prior to lifting. It is normal to determine the exact location, orientation and attitude, i.e. face-up
or face-down, of each assembly in the field in anticipation of its lifting procedure.

Assembly layout drawings are usually prepared showing central co-ordinates for each
assembly. The central co-ordinates are then used as local bench marks with the object of
defining the assembly, the sub-assemblies, loose items, appurtenances and temporary
attachments which comprise, field welds, overall dimensions, weight, reference drawings, etc.

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

analysed for a number of load cases which correspond (approximately) to the support
conditions of the assembly at its presumed critical attitudes, i.e. the locations of the cranes,
bogies, saddles, etc. when the panel is being transported and when it is in horizontal and
vertical attitudes. The structural analysis for lift/transport identifies the worst cases from the
point of view of structural response. These cases are then analysed to determine the
maximum stresses and displacements. The calculations should show that global and local
stresses are within allowable limits according to API/AISC codes.

Frequently, a structural analysis computer programme is used for this purpose. The analysis
will indicate where bending stresses are high and/or crane, bogie or support loads
inadmissible. Thus modifications can be made to redistribute structural stresses and loads at
"supports" to optimise both and ensure that neither the cranes nor the structure can be
overloaded during erection.

An outline sequence for the erection of all major components would be:

• Technical appraisal of lift methods. Calculations for crane configuration, rigging

accessories, etc.
Jacket frames are typically laid out flat and then rolled using multiple crawler cranes. Co- • Preparation of cranes for lift. Preparation for rigging. Transport assembly to lift
ordinating such a rigging and lifting operation requires thoroughly developed three- location. Roll-up into position with scaffolding and staging in position, if possible.
dimensional layouts, firm and level foundations for the cranes and experienced, well • Preparation of fixing system and wind bracing (usually done by means of guy wires
rehearsed operators. and turnbuckles). Weldout at least sufficient to allow crane release.
• Crane release. Removal of rigging and temporary attachments.
Twenty four cranes were involved in the two major side frame lifts during the erection of
platform Cerveza, which was 300m long. Jacket structural completion is followed by a short phase during which all the jacket systems,
both permanent and those required during installation, are completed and rendered
For the Magnus platform and Bouri DP3, a different procedure known as "toast rack" was functional. The load-out operations are covered in Lecture 15A.9: Installation.
used. Here the jacket horizontal levels were fabricated, erected in place and tied in to
complete the jacket. 5. CONCLUDING SUMMARY

For the Bullwinkle jacket, one of the world's largest, sections of the jacket were fabricated in • The design of a jacket is determined primarily by the offshore installation equipment
Japan, transported by barge to Texas and assembled using jacking towers which rolled up available and the intended water depth.
the sections to heights as great as 140m. • In general, the preference is to lift the jacket in place. Jackets destined for deeper
water are usually erected on their side.
For jackets destined for shallow water erection is usually carried out vertically, i.e. in the same • As a general principle, as much of the execution as possible should be undertaken in
attitude as the final installation. Such jackets may be lifted onto the barge or skidded out. In the early phases of fabrication.
this latter case, adequate temporary pads and braces must be provided under the columns to • Each phase of execution has its own engineering requirements which are determined
distribute the loads for skidding. by the processes executed during that phase.
• The specifications for fabrication of offshore jackets are determined by the designer
The structural analysis associated with the erection procedure for a given assembly usually
and are usually based on one or more of the well known codes.
involves a computer model with all relevant structural characteristics. The assembly is

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

• Shop fabricated sub-assemblies and hose items are incorporated into assemblies APPENDIX 1
which constitute the major lifts of the erection sequence.
• Assembled, sub-assembled and fabricated structures, together with loose items, are Quality Assurance and Quality Control

incorporated into the final structure in a sequence which takes account of structural
It is becoming increasingly common for operators to specify that the quality of construction for
analyses of bending stresses, and crane, bogie and support loads.
offshore structures be controlled by a recognised quality system management standard.

ISO 9000/EN 29000, Standard for Quality Systems Management, is recognised as the

[1] API RP2A, Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Construction of Fixed accepted standard in such situations. These standards set down the requirements that a

Offshore Installations, latest edition. soundly based quality management system must fulfil if it is to assist in properly defining and
controlling product quality. Because the standards deal with the quality system, and are not
Engineering design principles and practices that have evolved during the development of product standards, they are applicable to many sectors of industry including offshore
offshore oil resources. construction. They apply in any situation where management wish to adopt a clearly defined
policy and an orderly approach to providing a quality product.
[2] AISC Specification for the Design, Fabrication and Erection of Structural Steel for
Buildings, latest edition. All aspects of a company's activities are covered in the standards including:-

API code refers to this specification for calculations of basic allowable stresses of all jacket
Design Product Traceability

Contract Review Process Control

Documentation Control Inspection/Testing
[1] Det Norkse Veritas Marine Operations Recommended Practice RP5 - Lifting (June 1985). Management Responsibility Calibration of Equipment

Purchasing Control of Non-Conformances

Principles and good practice for offshore heavy lifts.
Corrective Action Handling/Storage/Delivery
[2] AWS Structural Welding Code AWS D1.1-88. Quality Records Training

Management Review/Audits Etc.

All jacket welding and weld procedure qualifications are required by the API code to be
undertaken in accordance with this code.
QA Management Complexity

[3] Det Norske Veritas, Rules for the Design, Construction and Inspection of Offshore
The overall programme for a jacket construction, shows that there are a very considerable
Structures, 1977.
number of offshore activities in many different locations within a very short period of time. The
evaluation of the performance of such a range of activities and at a number of centres is a
Rules for construction and installation of steel jackets as required by DNV.
major QA/QC undertaking.

[4] Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Fixed
It is difficult to fully appreciate the scope of documentation on a jacket construction project.
Offshore Installations, 1989.
Consider the documentation which is expected to flow from one location to another in respect

Based on Lloyd's experience from certification of over 500 platforms world-wide. to a single node. From the time the plate is manufactured until it is located in the final
structure, a dossier must be compiled. This documentation could commence with copies of
certificates from the steel plate manufacturer and progress through several welding, NDT,

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

dimensional control phases at a number of successive locations, culminating in the issue of a Certification
Release Note at the node fabrication shop.
On most offshore projects, the underwriters normally agree to insure the plant during its
Clearly this is necessary on some items, e.g. steel, welds, NDT Certificates for the jacket operating life provided it is designed, constructed and maintained to predetermined standards
primary structure, risers, etc. These documents may be useful during maintenance of the and certified as such. This certification is also almost invariably required by the state
platform enabling many in-service problems to be traced to abnormalities which occurred authorities in whose waters the plant is installed. It is normally performed by one of the
during construction. Construction of a large jacket typically involves thousands of steel plates. traditional ship classification societies known as the Certifying Authority (CA). In the widest
Each plate inevitably becomes an individual as it is allocated a unique number corresponding sense, certification requires that the CA carry out independent surveillance to ensure that the
to a Material Utilisation Schedule or Cutting Plan. The individual number of pieces of plate standards chosen for the project are satisfactory and that the project is performed in
could be in excess of 20,000 items. The primary object of material control is to ensure that, at accordance with them. Formerly this meant that the CA inspected every activity likely to
any stage of construction, the origin of each and every item can be traced back to a material influence the adequacy of the final product - an enormous task. More recently with the advent
certificate which in turn corresponds to a set of test/chemical composition etc. as contained in of QA, the certification function can mean audits of the construction so that, rather than
the Data Dossier. However, voluminous as this documentation may be, it constitutes less than inspect everything, the CA satisfies himself that the manner in which the construction is being
half of the total documentation produced for a complete jacket. Consider for instance the managed and performed (based on incomplete but comprehensive inspection) is likely to lead
number of welds in a complex buoyancy tank, the walkways on top of the jacket, the anodes, to a satisfactory product.
launch runners, grout lines, etc. Each of these must be welded, several must be individually
inspected. However the requirement to produce sophisticated documentation in respect of Table 1 Jacket Construction Phases and Characteristics

each is questionable. For this reason it is important that agreement is reached at an early
stage as to the individual items which require identification, that these be kept to a minimum Phase Work Centre Efficiency Risk
and that the identification system be simple. In actual practice it has proven to be very difficult
to make all materials really traceable. Much more could be done to structure such Engineering Office Decreasing Increasing Increasing
documentation in such a way that it would really be of help throughout the platform life.
Procurement Factory Decreasing Increasing Increasing
Procedures and Specifications
Fabrication Fabrication Shop Decreasing Increasing Increasing
Within the Contractor's organisation QA/QC procedures must be developed for the project,
many of which will be specifically for jacket construction. These are divided into Management Assembly and
Yard Site Decreasing Increasing Increasing
Procedures (e.g. Management of Non Conformities, Management of Jacket Completion Erection
Onshore, etc.) and Control Procedures (e.g. Procedure for Ultrasonic Testing of welds at
Jacket Yard, Dimensional Control Procedure for Node Fabrication at factory etc.). Loadout and
Transition Decreasing Increasing Increasing
Construction Procedures/Specifications are also required (e.g. Jacket Assembly and Erection Seafastening
Procedure, Pile Installation Procedure, etc.) in addition to a vast number of weld procedure
specifications and qualifications, welder qualifications and inspection plans. Transport and
Offshore Site Decreasing Increasing Increasing
Even if the number of specific procedures required from each subcontractor is minimised, a
fabrication subcontractor will still be required to develop procedure and specifications for the
following typical functions/activities: subcontract organisation, material control, fabrication
method/sequence, procedures for cutting, forming, pre-heating, post-weld heat treatment
along with the more obvious welding and NDT procedures and Inspection Plans. Typically
hundreds of procedures/specifications must be developed by jacket subcontractors.

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Lecture 15A.8 Lecture 15A.8

5 Manuals Testing, commissioning and preparation of jacket for

tow. Load-out manuals - jacket piles, topsides.
Table 2 Jacket Construction Engineering:
Typical Organisation of Contractor's Technical Documents Installation manuals - jacket, piles, topsides.

No. Document Series Group or Individual Subject Title

6 Weld Procedures For each location - weld procedures

1 Shop Drawings, Cutting Plan Welding standards, nodes, tubulars, piles, pile
- repair procedures.
sleeves, clusters, conductor guide frames, launch
runners, buoyancy tanks, cathodic protection system,
7 Design Reports, Reviews Quay design, skidway design, mooring system
protective coating systems, risers, j-tubes, caissons,
and Specifications design, soil improvement spec., skidding system
boat landings, boat bumpers, walkways, grouting
spec., dredging spec., transportation of jacket and
systems, ballasting system, installation aids, as-built
piles, buoyancy tanks, jacket launching and
emplacement, on-bottom stability, pile driveability,
jacket levelling study.
2 Method and Temporary Subassemblies, assemblies, supports, access,
Works Drawings scaffolding, lifting and transportation onshore, test
8 Engineering Meetings Normally held at critical phases of construction at the
and commission, identification.
various construction locations.

Onshore construction accessories.

9 Fabrication, Assembly and Fabrication/welding sequence (for principal items),
Erection forming, bending, stress relieving, coating, assembly
Offshore installation (preparation, transportation,
and erection, temporary and secondary attachments,
lifting, launching, anchor patterns etc.).
lifting and transporting, jackdown, weight control,
Offshore installation accessories (tools, guides, settlement control, jacket weighing.
access, handling etc.).
10 Inspection plan Steel supply (at each supplier).
3 Quality Assurance Documentation identification, distribution and
Fabrication of typical jacket and pile components (at
Procedures approval, witness and hold points, technical
relevant centres).
modifications and non-conformance management,
material control, material identification and
Assembly and erection.
traceability, procurement and subcontracting, weld
parameter control, management of specific problem
11 Technical Proposals and Technical Clarification Requests )
Resolutions Technical Relaxation Requests ) Possible at every
4 Quality Control Procedures NDT methods (visual, UT, x-ray, dye penetrant,
MPI), dimensional control, destructive testing Major Non-Conformance Reports ) Phase of location
methods, NDT operator training and qualification,
calibration of inspection equipment, pressure testing, Minor Non-Conformance Reports ) of the Project.
miscellaneous testing.

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

Installation - Comprises the series of activities required to place the structure in the final
offshore location. These activities include jacket lift and upending, positioning, pile installation,

OBJECTIVE jacket levelling and grouting, together with support services for these activities.

To describe the general methods of jacket installation. To discuss the various stages of 1.2 Construction Philosophy

operation from loadout through offshore positioning and installation, including construction
In deciding how best to fabricate (i.e. vertical or on its side) and install (i.e. lifted, launched or
practices and equipment. To indicate the calculations normally involved.
self-floating) a given jacket, the options are principally determined by the installation

PREREQUISITES equipment available and the jacket's intended water depth. In general, the preference is to lift
the jacket into location. The motivation for this installation method, rather than the more
Lectures 15A.1: Offshore Structures: General Introduction traditional barge-launching, is a reluctance to spend money on jacket steelwork which will
only be used during the temporary installation phase. The size of such lifted jackets has been
RELATED LECTURES increasing as offshore lifting capacity has grown. With modern lifting capacity now up to
14000 tonnes (see Table 1), jackets approaching this order of magnitude are now candidates
Lectures 3.1: General Fabrication of Steel Structures
for lifting into position.

Lectures 3.2: Erection

Figure 1 shows how the 6000 tonne jacket for the Kittiwake field in the North Sea was lifted
from the barge into the water and up-ended in a continuous operation, ending with the jacket
Lecture 3.3: Principles of Welding
on the seabed ready for piling. The advantage of this approach is that the jacket, being

Lecture 3.4: Welding Processes lowered into the water, does not require the launch frames necessary for launching from a
barge. Also, since the weight of the jacket is taken by the cranes throughout, there is no need
Lectures 15A: Structural Systems: Offshore for special buoyancy tanks and deballasting systems.


The phases of installation of a steel jacket - loadout, seafastening, offshore transportation and
installation - are described and the associated analyses are indicated.


1.1 Project Phases

A steel jacket installation usually consists of the following project phases:

Loadout - Comprises the movement of the completed structure onto the barge which will
transport it offshore.

Seafastening - Comprises fitting and welding sufficient structure between the structure and
the barge to prevent the jacket shifting during transit to the offshore site.

Offshore Transportation - Comprises the tow to the location offshore and arrival of the barge
at the offshore site with the seafastened structure.

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

Jackets destined for deeper water are heavier and are usually erected on their side and
launched from a barge (Figure 2). This method of construction is currently applicable for
jackets up to 25000 tonnes. A launched jacket usually requires additional buoyancy tanks with
extensive pipework and valving to enable the legs and tanks to be flooded in order to ballast
the jacket into the vertical position on site. For instance, in the case of the Brae 'B' jacket (a
large 19000 tonne jacket installed in 100m water depth in the North Sea) it was necessary to
provide 11000 tonnes of additional buoyancy. This buoyancy was primarily to limit the jacket
trajectory through launch (i.e. to stop it hitting the sea bed) but was also essential for
maintaining bottom clearance during up-ending. The additional buoyancy took the form of two
'saddle' tanks, two pairs of twin 'piggy-bank tanks' and twelve 'cigar' tubes installed down the
pile guides (Figure 3). Altogether the auxiliary buoyancy added about 3,300 tonnes additional
weight to the jacket.

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

Very large jackets, in excess of launch capacity, have been constructed as self-floaters in a
graving dock, towed offshore subsequent to flooding the dock, and installed on location by
means of controlled flooding of the legs (see Figure 4).

1.3 Installation Planning

The installation of a jacket consists of loading out, seafastening and transporting the structure
to the installation site, positioning the jacket on the site and achieving a stable structure in
accordance with the design drawings and specifications, in anticipation of installation of the
platform topsides.

An important aspect is the avoidance of unacceptable risk during offshore activities from
loadout through to platform completion. It is recognised that the potential cost to the project
associated with failure to successfully execute marine activities is particularly high. Normally
therefore the contractor is obliged to produce procedures for these activities which
demonstrate that the risk of failure has been reduced to acceptable levels. He is also required
to demonstrate that, prior to the commencement of an activity, all the necessary preparations
have been completed.

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

An installation plan must be prepared for each installation. The plan will include the method Initial friction of the jacket on the skid ways may be as high as 15 per cent, especially if the
and procedures developed for the loadout, seafastening and transportation and for the jacket has been erected with its weight bearing continuously on the skid way. In some cases
complete installation of the jacket, piles, superstructure and equipment. Depending on the the jacket is initially fabricated slightly above the skid ways using hydraulic or sand jacks.
complexity of the installation, detailed procedures and instructions may be needed for special Then, at the time of loadout, the jacket is lowered onto the skid ways. To reduce the sliding
items such as grouting, diving, welding inspections, etc. Limitations on the various operations friction, grease on hardwood, or heavy lubricating oil on steel, or even fibre-filled Teflon faced
due to factors such as environmental conditions, barge stability, lifting capacity, etc. must be pads, are used. Values of sliding friction as low as 3 per cent are usually attained.
defined. The installation plan is normally subdivided into phases, e.g., loadout, seafastening,
transportation and installation. The barge should be of adequate size and structural strength to ensure that the stability and
static and dynamic stresses in the barge and seafastenings due to the loading operation and
Installation drawings, specifications and procedures must be prepared showing all the during transportation remain within acceptable limits. The barge must also have the capability
pertinent information necessary for construction of the total facility on location at sea. These to launch the jacket, if this is required, without the use of a derrick barge. For a barge which
drawings typically include details of all inspection aids such as lifting eyes, launch runners or floats during the loadout, the ballast system must be capable of compensating the changes in
trusses, jacking brackets, stabbing points, etc. For jackets installed by flotation or launching, tide and loading. It is usual in this case to load out on a rising tide so that the tide assists the
drawings showing launching, up-ending and flotation procedures must be prepared. In ballast system. In the case of a barge which will be grounded during loadout, the barge must
addition, details are also provided for piping, valving and controls of the flotation system, etc. have sufficient structural strength to distribute the concentrated deck loads to the supporting
as well as barge arrangements and tie-down details. foundation material.

The engineering input into an offshore installation project also involves the design of all The jacket must be loaded in such a manner that the barge is in a balanced and stable
temporary bracing, seafastenings, rigging, slings, shackles and installation aids, etc. These condition. Barge stability can be determined in accordance with regulations such as those
must be designed in accordance with an approved offshore design code, e.g. API RP2A [1]. published by Noble Denton, The American Bureau of Shipping, or the US Coast Guard.
Allowable static and dynamic stresses in the barge hull and framing due to loadout,
Quality management is a vital and integral component of all offshore installation projects. A transportation and launching must not be exceeded.
general note on Quality Assurance for Offshore Construction is appended to Lecture 15A.8 :
Fabrication. It is equally applicable to an offshore installation project. A simplified check list for the operations relating to jacket loadout might be:

2. LOADOUT AND SEAFASTENING 1. Is the jacket complete? Has the structure been analysed for loadout stresses on the
basis of the actual structure as fabricated at the time of loadout?
Loadout entails the movement of the completed structure onto the barge which will transport it 2. Is the launch barge securely moored to the loadout dock, so that it won't move out
offshore. Seafastening entails fitting and welding sufficient ties between the jacket and the during the loading? Is the barge properly moored against sideways movement?
barge to prevent the jacket shifting while in transit to the offshore site. 3. If compression struts are used between the barge skid ways and those on shore, are
they accurately aligned and supported so they won't kick out during loadout? Have
Jackets which have been fabricated on their side are usually loaded by skidding the entire
the pull lines, shackles, and pad eyes been inspected to ensure they are properly
structure onto a cargo or launch barge. During loadout, the jacket is supported on the skid
installed and can't foul during loadout?
ways, usually on two inner legs of the jacket, see Fig. 9 of Lecture 15A.1. The legs function as
4. Can the barge be properly ballasted? If the tide will vary during loadout, are ballasting
the bottom chord of a large truss, which can span between points of support, especially when
arrangements adequate? Will ballast be adjusted as the weight of the jacket goes
part of the jacket is on the barge and part still on the skid ways.
onto the barge? Are there proper controls? Is there an adequate standby ballast
system? Are there back-up systems to pull the jacket back to shore if anything goes
Where jackets are fabricated in the vertical, i.e. in the same attitude as the final installation,
wrong during loadout? If the ballast correction is to be made iteratively, step-by-step
they may be lifted onto the barge or skidded out. In this latter case, adequate temporary pads
as the jacket is loaded, are there clear paint marks so that each step can be clearly
and braces must be provided under the columns to distribute the loads during skidding.

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

5. Have clear lines of supervision and control been established? Are the voice radio the design of the jacket itself. Also there are the practical aspects of tug selection, tow route,
channels checked? Have the marine surveyors been notified so that they can be etc. to be considered.
present? Owner's representatives? Certifying Authority? Have their approvals been
received? The size and power requirements of the towing vessels and the design of the towing
arrangement must be calculated or determined from past experience. Tug selection involves
Once the jacket is on the barge, the barge must be ballasted for transportation. During such considerations as length of tow route, proximity of safe harbours and the anticipated
loadout, many tanks will be partially full, in order to control deck elevation and trim. However, weather conditions and sea states. As a minimum the tugs should be capable of maintaining
with the jacket fully supported on the barge, these considerations are no longer relevant and station in a 15 metre/second wind with accompanying waves. However, this criterion depends
the tanks can be ballasted to suit the demands of the sea voyage. Ballast tanks should on the location. For instance, the requirement in the Mediterranean is typically that the main
normally either be full or completely empty, to eliminate free surface and sloshing effects. The tug should maintain station against a 20 metre/second wind, 5,0m significant sea-state and
draft and freeboard will have been carefully selected to maximise stability, and especially to 0,5 metre/second current, acting simultaneously. Weather forecasting is provided throughout
minimise submersion of projecting members of the jacket during the tow and the consequent the tow so that, if exceptional weather threatens, a pre-arranged port of refuge may be
slamming, buoyancy and collapse forces. sought.

Large jacket launch and cargo barges are relatively flexible structures in that the jacket Experience has shown that the first phase of transportation is the most treacherous. There
structure is normally (much) stiffer. Therefore, ballasting the barge to obtain the required draft are several reasons for this. In the harbour area a big tug can normally exercise very little
and trim should preferably be done at the dock side before seafastenings are attached. If one control even with a shortened towline. With a short towline between two considerable
scheme of ballasting is to be used for a sheltered channel tow and another for the open sea, masses, the large tug and the much larger barge/jacket, the risk of snapping is high. Thus it is
the seafastenings should be freed during the reballasting to avoid imposing undue stresses standard practice to lengthen the towline once out of the port. Also, because of the nature of
on the jacket legs or, alternatively, calculations should be performed to demonstrate that many ports, close control is essential in order to avoid the possibility of running aground.
freeing is not required by the reballasting procedure. Normally, therefore, the harbour tugs take the barge out under the guidance of a pilot who
knows the port. When the barge is out of the port the problems are not totally solved since it
Seafastenings are installed after loadout and must be completed prior to sailaway. They are must be assumed that the worst can happen, i.e. the towline may break.
major structural systems, subjected to both static and dynamic loads. When the barge is on
the high seas it must be assumed that it can encounter conditions which are "as bad as could The tug must have sufficient time to pick up the emergency towline and control the barge
have been statistically foreseen". Accordingly, the gravity and inertial forces involved must be before it drifts into shallow water. Thus the departure is normally subject to strict weather
calculated for all anticipated barge accelerations and angles of roll and pitch during the design forecast conditions for a period which assumes that the speed of the tow is between 1 and 2
sea conditions adopted for the tow (usually the 10-year return storm for that season and knots for the first 100 nautical miles from the coast. Consequently, as a minimum, a
location). In determining this criteria, the reliability of the short term weather forecast should favourable 48-hour weather forecast is required, e.g. Force 5 and decreasing.
be considered. Since the loads are dynamic, impact must be minimised. Seafastenings
should be attached to the jacket only at locations approved by the designer. They should be Once the tow is under way, trim will be adjusted to optimise tow speed and give directional

attached to the barge at locations which are capable of distributing the load to the barge stability during tow. Usually the barge will be trimmed down by the stern.

internal framing. They should also be designed to facilitate easy removal on location.
The behaviour of the jacket seafastened to the barge must be satisfactory both from the point
Seafastenings are normally subject to the same code requirements for fabrication as the
of view of static and dynamic stability. Both are verified by means of numerical analyses.
However, particularly for larger structures, the sensitivity of the dynamic analysis will usually

3. OFFSHORE TRANSPORTATION warrant verification by model testing.

The transportation of heavy components from a fabrication yard to the offshore site is a The intact static stability criteria usually adopted is that the righting arm be positive throughout

critical activity. It is especially so in the case of the jacket since the behaviour of the unit a range of 36 about any axis. The so-called dynamic stability of wind overturning criteria

usually influences the verification of barge strength, the design of seafastenings, and indeed

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

simply ensure that for a given wind, the energy which tends to overturn the barge is at least The skid ways terminate in rocker arms at the stern of the barge. As the jacket moves along
40% less than that which is available due to the inherent righting stability of the barge. the skid ways its centre of gravity reaches a point where it is vertically above the rocker arm
pivot. Further movement causes the rocker arm and jacket to rotate. The jacket will then slide
In considering the motions of the jacket and barge it is intuitively plausible that roll will be the under its own self weight into the water. Various stages in the launch of a jacket are shown in
most problematical motion (from the point of view of body accelerations) and that the largest Figure 1a to 1d.
roll will be caused by a beam sea. It may be less obvious, but nevertheless true, that if the
barge width and, to a lesser extent the length, are reduced, the roll will diminish and if the Once in the water the self floating jacket is brought under control with lines from tugs and/or
barge is set at a (much) deeper draft, the roll will also diminish. All of these considerations the installation vessel.
reflect static properties of the jacket and barge. Improvements can occasionally be made by
choosing a narrower barge (although obviously stability will suffer) or increasing the draft The jacket must be designed and fabricated to withstand the stresses caused by the launch.

(although in this case stability may again suffer and parts of the structure which were This can be achieved either by strengthening those members which might be over-stressed

previously 'dry' may now be subjected to 'slamming'). Incorrect "balancing" of these aspects by the launching operation, or designing into the jacket a special truss, commonly referred to

can have very serious cost/risk implications in overall project terms. Thus, for a large jacket, as a launch truss. Spacing between jacket members or launch trusses will be dictated by the

the barge selection process is normally performed at a very early stage of the design process. spacing between launch skid ways. Thus a jacket will generally be designed from the outset
for installation by a specific barge.
Once launched the jacket must float with a reserve of buoyancy in order to stop the downward
This section is concerned with the stages of jacket installation commencing with removal of momentum of the jacket. This requires the jacket to be water tight. It is common practice to
the jacket from the barge to its placing on the sea bed and temporary on-bottom stability. gain additional buoyancy by sealing jacket legs and pile sleeves with removable rubber
Lecture 15A.6: Foundations covers the subject of pile installation. diaphragms. However, there is frequently a need for even more buoyancy. This is achieved
by adding buoyancy tanks. These need to be removable and are located where they give
4.1 Removal of Jacket from Barge most benefit. Buoyancy tanks from previous launches are often used.

Unless a jacket is a self floater, it must first be removed from the transportation barge. There The launch of a jacket is clearly a critical phase in the life of the jacket. Considerable design
are two basic methods used: effort is required in order to ensure that the launch sequence is feasible. A jacket launch naval
analysis is required in order to:
• launch
• lift • ensure that an adequate sliding velocity is maintained during the rocker arm rotation;
• verify that the trajectory followed has a safe seabed clearance;
4.1.1 Launch
• determine the jacket behaviour during launch;
• define operational requirements during launch, including ballast configuration;
The launch site is normally at or near the installation location. With heavy jackets in shallow
• check the stability of the jacket during launch and when free floating.
water it may be necessary to launch the jacket in deep water at some distance from the
installation location and tow the jacket to site.
The plots shown in Figures 1a to 1d are extracted from such an analysis. The jacket weight
was 14,000 tonnes and was being installed in 105 metres of water. The analysis showed that
Immediately prior to launch, the seafastening securing the jacket to the barge is cut. The
it should take approximately 2 minutes between start of self sliding (Figure 1a) and the jacket
jacket is then pulled along the barge skid ways (which were used for loadout) by winches. As
reaching its final floating position (Figure 1d).
the jacket moves towards the stern of the barge, the barge start to tilt and a point is reached
when the jacket is self sliding. An initial tilt to the barge may have been provided by ballasting
immediately prior to launch. A stern trim of approximately 5 is usually aimed for.

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

4.1.2 Lift which is the most disruptive motion. However, the "best attitude" is not always possible since
it depends on the work that the vessel is required to perform. Accordingly vessel operators
An increasing number of jackets are being installed by direct lift. This trend has been perform extensive studies to determine permissible sea states for specific operations and
encouraged by the availability of large crane vessels such as the Micoperi 7000. Curves vessel captains invariably "experiment" with different headings in a particular sea in order to
showing load capacity against lifting radius are shown in Figure 2. Another factor tending to minimise motions and maximise workability.
increase direct lift jackets are savings in weight that are being achieved in jacket design.
The first stages in lifting a jacket from the transportation barge involve positioning the barge
In a direct lift the jacket is lifted off the barge completely in air. A second form of lift is the and connecting the slings to the hook. The barge will normally be controlled by tugs. Once
buoyancy assisted lift. In this case the barge is flooded and hence submerged. This results in everything is ready for lift to proceed the seafastenings will be cut. The next stage is to
part of the jacket being buoyant, reducing hook loads. Buoyancy tanks may be added to the transfer the weight of the jacket from the barge to the crane. The general requirement here is
jacket if required. to lift as rapidly as possible. However, careful control and phasing with barge and crane
vessel motions is required in order to ensure that once the jacket is lifted clear of the barge it
Shallow water jackets may be lifted in the vertical position. In this case no up-ending is
does not hit the barge as a subsequent wave passes through. The same lift procedure is
required and installation is straight forward. Deep water jackets will in general be lifted on
adopted in both a direct and buoyancy assisted lift.
their side. Two cranes will normally be used, noting that large derrick barges such as the
Micoperi 7000 are fitted with two cranes as standard. When considering a tandem lift it should Once the jacket is lifted clear of the barge, the barge is removed by tugs. Up-ending of the
be noted that it is unlikely that both hooks will carry the same load, and that the maximum jacket will then normally proceed directly.
permissible jacket weight will be less than the sum of the two crane capacities. It should also
be noted that cranes are frequently guyed back to give maximum lift capacity and carry less 4.2 Jacket Up-ending and Set-down
load if they are revolving. This can further reduce the apparent lift capacity. Finally, the weight
of lifting slings need to be considered, these contributing as much as 7% of the lift weight. Unless a jacket is transported and lifted in its upright position, it will be necessary to up-end
the jacket at the installation location. Up-ending may be achieved by controlled flooding of
When the jacket is to be removed from the transportation barge by lifting, it is normal for the buoyancy tanks, by using a crane vessel or by a combination of both.
installation vessel to be correctly moored and positioned so that up-ending and set-down may
proceed as one integral lift operation. 4.2.1 Up-ending by Ballast control and Flooding

The selection of a suitable installation vessel is clearly essential. In addition to lift capacity, it A large crane vessel will not normally be required for either a launched or self-floating jacket.

is also necessary to consider stability and motion response characteristics. In the harsh North Upending is therefore achieved by controlled flooding. A small installation vessel will usually

Sea environments installation vessels are usually semi-submersibles such as the Micoperi be required for the installation of piles once the jacket has been set-down, so this is used as

7000. In more moderate waters they are often flat bottomed barges. In intermediate the platform from which to control the various flooding operations. This installation vessel will

environments, e.g., the Gulf of Mexico, ship-shaped vessels may be used. also be used to help position the jacket.

The large semi-submersible crane vessels used in the North Sea have full dynamic Figure 3 shows a sketch of the Brae 'B' jacket showing the auxiliary buoyancy tanks. In this

positioning systems for locating themselves on site. They also have sophisticated computer case the flooding system involved 42 primary and 22 contingency subsea valves under direct

controlled ballast systems to keep the vessel level during lifting operations. During a lift the hydraulic control. The nitrogen power source and associated control panels were contained in

ballast system is also used to counteract heel and increase hoisting and lowering speeds watertight capsules.

during the crucial lift-off and set-down operations.

Figure 4 shows a sequence of sketches indicating how a self floating jacket is upended. In

The natural period of large installation vessels in roll, pitch and heave tend to be close to the step 1 the waterline compartments at one end of the jacket are flooded. More water line tanks

typical peak periods of the sea spectra encountered offshore. These motions therefore are flooded in step 2 until by step 3 the upper frame of the jacket reaches waterline and may

predominate. Normally this means that beam seas should be avoided since this excites roll also be flooded. The jacket is then allowed to rotate until all legs are equally flooded as in

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

step 4. The jackets natural position will then be floating upright as in step 5. Further flooding new slings attached at the top of the jacket. The jacket may then be up-ended as shown in
of the jacket as in step 6 will enable the jacket to be lowered onto the sea bed in a controlled Figure 5. This may require closures to legs and some additional buoyancy.
A second method is to up-end directly, as shown in Figure 6. This requires special padears so
The up-ending of a launched jacket will be similar to that shown in Figure 4. The main that the necessary rotation between slings and jacket can occur. Careful naval analysis is
difference is that there may be less excess buoyancy with which to control the operation. In also required in order to carefully determine hook loads and to ensure that the jacket remains
this case a combination of flooding and lift, as shown in Figure 5, may be used to up-end and stable.
set-down the jacket.

The crane and ballasting operations need to be clearly defined before the operation begins. Once up-ended the jacket can be set-down on the sea-bed. Since the lifting points are
This involves careful naval analysis of the free floating position of the jacket at various stages submerged divers may be required to disconnect the slings from the jacket.
during the up-ending procedure. A feature of these analyses is the need to consider what
happens in the event of buoyancy tanks being accidentally flooded, or of flooding valves Although two crane hooks are shown in Figure 6, it should be noted that for light weight
failing to operate. Contingency procedures and equipment must be provided. jackets it is possible to up-end using a single crane. In this case the main and auxiliary hooks
are used together, for example the main hook taking the weight of the jacket with the auxiliary
4.2.2 Up-ending using the crane vessel hook providing the upending force.

Figure 5 shows the simplest use of a crane to up-end and set-down a jacket. This is An increasing trend is to install a jacket over an existing well or wells. A pre-drilling template
acceptable for jackets that are launched. For horizontally oriented jackets that are lifted will have been used to position the wells, the same template being used to position the jacket.
directly the procedure is more involved. It is necessary to ensure that the well heads are protected from damage due to accidental
contact with the jacket.
A horizontally lifted jacket may be upended in one of two ways. Perhaps the straightest
forward is to lower the jacket into the water so that it floats. Slings can then be removed and

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Lecture 15A.9 Lecture 15A.9

Once set-down the jacket should be positioned at or near grade and levelled within the jacket is set-down. These will penetrate some distance under self weight providing additional
tolerances specified in the installation plan. Once level, care should be exercised to maintain sliding resistance. Since most piles are inclined, the piles also provide a degree of resistance
grade and levelness of the jacket during subsequent operations. Levelling the jacket after all to over turning.
piles have been installed should be avoided if at all possible as it is costly and frequently
ineffective. If necessary, levelling should take place after a minimum number of piles have 5. CONCLUDING SUMMARY

been driven by jacking or lifting. In this instance procedures should be used to minimise
• There are broadly four phases to the installation of a steel jacket - loadout,
bending stresses in the piles.
seafastening, offshore transportation and installation offshore.

4.3 On-bottom Stability • In deciding how best to fabricate and install a given jacket, the options are principally
determined by the installation equipment available and the jacket's intended water
Once set-down on the sea bed, it is normal for piling to proceed as rapidly as possible. depth.
However, this far into the installation procedure the weather and hence sea conditions may be • An installation plan must be prepared for each installation. Loadout entails the
detioriating. This is a result of long term weather forecasting being less reliable than short movement of the completed structure onto the barge which will transport it offshore.
term forecasting. It should also be noted that any problems encountered during the • Seafastening entails fitting and welding sufficient ties between the jacket and the
installation procedure will result in delay and that it may be some time before the jacket is barge to prevent shifting while in transit to the offshore site.
adequately fixed to the sea bed by piling. • The transportation of heavy components from a fabrication yard to the offshore site is
a critical activity requiring careful calculation and planning.
It is necessary for the jacket to be stable and level during piling. A separate on-bottom • Removal of the jacket from the barge is accomplished either by direct lifting with a
stability analysis is therefore carried out. Three conditions need to be met: derrick barge and lowering into position, or by launching. A number of engineering
studies are required for jacket launch and set-down.
(1) vertical resistance to jacket weight and piling loads;

(2) stability against sliding under wave/current loading;

[1] API RP2A, Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Construction of Fixed
(3) stability against overturning under wave/current loading.
Offshore Installations, latest edition. Engineering design principles and practices that have
evolved during the development of offshore oil resources.
In carrying out the above analyses it is necessary to use an appropriate sea-state to generate
hydro-dynamic loading. This should be the maximum statistical wave which may occur prior to
piling being completed. Assuming installation to occur in the summer months, a typical criteria
may be a 1 year summer storm wave. 1. Det Norske Veritas Marine Operations Recommended Practice RP5 - Lifting (June
1985). Principles and good practice for offshore heavy lifts.
The provisions that need to be made to ensure on-bottom stability vary greatly depending on
2. AISC Specification for the Design, Fabrication and Erection of Structural Steel for
jacket location, height and on sea-bed soil conditions. For example, with good soil conditions
Buildings, latest edition. API code refers to this specification for calculation of basic
the jacket may be able to be supported directly on existing jacket steel with no extra provision
allowable stresses of all jacket members.
made. However, with poor soil conditions large 'mudmats' may be required in order to spread
3. AWS Structural Welding Code AWS D1.1-88. All jacket welding and weld procedure
the load. These can influence launch and installation dynamics.
qualifications are required by the API code to be undertaken in accordance with this
For many jackets it is not possible to achieve stability against sliding and overturning using
4. Det Norske Veritas, Rules for the Design, Construction and Inspection of Offshore
flat mudmats. In these circumstances mudmats with skirts may be used. Skirts considerably
Structures, 1977. Rules for construction and installation of steel jackets as required
improve the resistance to sliding, and in silty or clay soils can allow nominal tension loading to
by DNV.
resist overturning. Another option frequently used is to stab a number of piles as soon as the

Page 17 of 19 Page 18 of 19
Lecture 15A.9

5. Lloyds Register of Shipping, Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Fixed
Offshore Installations, 1989. Based on Lloyd's experience from certification of over
500 platforms world-wide.

Table 1 Major Offshore Crane Vessels

Operator Name Type Mode Lifting Capacity

Fix 2720
Thor Monohull
Rev 1820

Fix 2720
Odin Monohull
Rev 2450

Fix 4536 + 3628 = 8164

Hermod Semisub
Rev 3630 + 2720 = 6350

Fix 3630 + 2720 = 6350

Balder Semisub
Rev 3000 + 2000 = 5000

Fix 4000
DB50 Monohull
Rev 3800

Fix 1820
DB100 Semisub
McDermott Rev 1450

Fix 3360
DB101 Semisub
Rev 2450

DB102 Semisub Rev 6000 + 6000 = 12000

Micoperi M7000 Semisub Rev 7000 + 7000 = 14000


1. Rated lifting capacity in metric tonnes

2. When the crane vessels are provided with two cranes, these are situated at the
vessels stern at approximately 60m distance etc.

Page 19 of 19
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

Superstructures I
This lecture deals with the overall aspects of the design of offshore topsides.

The topside of an offshore structure accommodates the equipment and supports modules and
To introduce the functional requirements; to identify major interfaces with the process,
accessories such as living quarters, helideck, flare stack or flare boom, microwave tower, and
equipment, logistics, and safety; to introduce the structural concepts for jacket and gravity
crane pedestals.
based structure (GBS) topsides; to elaborate on structural design for deck floors.

The structural concept for the deck is influenced greatly by the type of substructure (jacket or
GBS) and the method of construction, see Figures 1 and 2.

Lectures 1A & 1B: Steel Construction

Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Lectures 3.1: General Fabrication of Steel Structures

Lecture 6.3: Elastic Instability Modes

Lecture 7.6: Built-up Columns

Lectures 8.4: Plate Girder Behaviour & Design

Lectures 11.2: Welded Connections

Lecture 12.2: Advanced Introduction to Fatigue

Lectures 15A: Structural Systems - Offshore


The topside lay-out is discussed, referring to API-RP2G [1], and to general aspects of
interface control and weight control.

The different types of topside structures (relevant to the type of substructure, jacket or GBS)
are introduced and described. These types are:

1. integrated deck.
2. module support frame.
3. modules.

Floor concepts are presented and several aspects of the plate floor design are addressed.

Page 1 of 21 Page 2 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

Heavy decks, over 10,000 tons, are provided with a module support frame onto which a
number of modules are placed. Smaller decks, such as those located in the southern North
Sea, are nowadays installed complete with all equipment in one lift to minimize offshore hook-
The selection of the concept for the structural deck is made in close cooperation with the
up. Most of this lecture refers to this type of integrated deck such as is shown in Figures 3
other disciplines.
and 4.


2.1 Space and Elevations

The first step in developing a new design concept is to consider all the requirements for the
deck structure. The design requirements and their impact on the structural system are
discussed below.

The lay-out of the deck is influenced by the type of hydrocarbon processing to be undertaken.

The area required for the equipment, piping and cable routings, the vertical clearance as well
as the access/egress requirements determine the deck area and deck elevations.

The elevation on the lowest decks depends on the environmental conditions. The elevation of
the cellar deck, i.e. the lowest deck, is based on the maximum elevation of the design wave
crest, including tide and storm sway, plus an air gap of 1,5m minimum.

The vertical distance between the decks of the topside is generally in the range 6 - 9m in the
North Sea.

Page 3 of 21 Page 4 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

Consideration of the prevailing wind direction is very important in determining the position of Survival capsules and man-overboard crane: the supporting structures for these items usually
various components on the platform, such as the vent of the flare, cranes, helideck; and the cantilever from the main structure. Shock loading and dynamic amplification increases the
logistic and safety provisions. support reactions during operation.

2.2 Lay-out Requirements Walkways, ladders and stairs: these items should be kept obstacle free, be non-slippery and
have sufficient width to allow evacuation of personnel on stretchers.
The requirements for the various topside components are briefly described below, based on
API-RP2G [1]. Cladding, walls, doors and louvres: the type of cladding depends on the operational
requirements and the preference of the oil company. For safety reasons, walls and doors may
Wells: the position of the wells depends heavily on whether the wells will be drilled and have to satisfy specified explosion and fire resistance requirements. Louvres may be used to
worked with a separate cantilevered jack-up rig or with a platform-based rig. In the first case allow natural ventilation, whilst preventing entry of rain, snow and birds.
the wells must be close to the platform edge and require significant deck area above free of
obstacles. In the second case a pair of heavy beams to support the drill rig must be provided. Lay down areas for equipment, spares and consumables: these areas are provided by
cantilevering from the main structure in order to allow access to the lower deck levels by the
Equipment, piping and cable-supports: all devices to treat the oil or gas shall comply with the deck crane, without providing hatches through the decks.
requirements of API-RP2G [1].
Hatches: access to the lower decks within reach of the crane is required to enable
Living quarters and helideck: the helideck should be in the vicinity of the living quarters to maintenance, repair and platform modification. The hatches should be identified early in the
enable fast evacuation. Usually the helideck is located in the obstacle free area on top of the design.
living quarters.
Risers, caissons, sumps: the riser section of the pipeline rises from the seabed to the deck. It
Gas compressor module: the pressure in gas reservoirs declines due to production. Future introduces vertical and horizontal loads (environmental and operational) in the deck structure.
compression may be needed in order to achieve acceptable gas flow through the export Caissons for pumps and sumps for discharge are hung from the cellar deck and introduce
pipeline. significant vertical and horizontal loads in the deck.

Water or gas injection module: oil production declines after some years of operation. The Drainage provisions: provision is required for spillage in drip pans under the equipment and
reservoir then requires stimulation by, for example, injection of water. for collecting oil-polluted rainwater to prevent spilling into the sea.

Deck crane: the location of the crane should be selected so as to obtain maximum deck Deck penetrations: pipes connecting process-items on different decks and, vessels, cable
coverage and to enable the crane operator to keep eye contact with the lifted object and the routings, etc. can require significant areas to be clear of structural members. The major
supply vessel. The location of the deck crane should be outside the obstacle free area of the penetrations should be identified early in the design and coordinated with major structural
helideck and should not interfere with future facilities. members.

Vent/flare boom or stack: a vent discharges gaseous products in the air without burning them; Other provisions: items such as monorails and inspection gangways may also be required.
a flare discharges and burns these products. Both vents and flares should be located outside
hazardous areas and away from the helideck. The tip shall exceed the elevation of the 2.3 Loads
helideck by at least 100 feet. Heat radiation shall be checked.
In Lecture 15A.3 the different types of loads have been identified and partly quantified.
Microwave tower: A high mounting is required to provide obstacle free support for microwave
antennae. A stiff support is required in order to comply with the stringent deflection criteria. Dead weight, tankful live load and wind load are discussed here. Dead weight includes the
weight of structure, equipment, piping, cables, machinery, and architectural outfitting. Tankful

Page 5 of 21 Page 6 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

live load covers weight of potable water, diesel fuel, helifuel, glycol, methanol, well-kill mud, 2.4 Interface Control
lubrication oil, waste, etc.
The many functions of the topside result in the involvement of many disciplines in the design.
Live load also covers all sorts of miscellaneous loads such as bagged or palletized
consumables, spare parts, maintenance equipment, etc. Due to the high cost of providing platform space, the facility must be designed to be very
compact. This requirement leads to several major areas of interdisciplinary control.
The application of live load is typical for topsides. For design considerable engineering
judgement is required concerning: • Space allocation: the structure should not use space allocated for equipment or
access routes. Overhead clearance between piping, cable routes, equipment and the
• the magnitude of the load to be applied to the various structural items: floor overhead should be respected.
• Direct interface control; pumps, vessels and piping require support by the steel
- direct loaded deck stringer structure.
- deck beam • Interface between drilling and workover operations.
- deck truss • Interface between platform crane and helideck, deckhouse, drilling rig, and flare
- deck leg stack.
- jacket • Interface with the export riser.
- pile • Interface between the deck and modules.
- pile bearing resistance • Interface between the topside and bridge from adjacent platform.
• Interface with the substructure.
• the area to which live load is to be applied. This area is described in the code as the
non-occupied area. 2.5 Weight Engineering

For local strength, the walkways, escape routes, etc. are considered as non-occupied by The weight of the overall facility as well as its major components is critical. Lack of weight
equipment and are thus loaded by live load. control can lead to costly design changes as well as to major provisions in order to keep
within the limits of the construction strategy.
For overall strength, the walkways, escape routes, etc. are considered as occupied (kept
clear for evacuation) and consequently no live load is applied. Weight engineering consists of:

• the arrangement of loads that generates maximum stress. A policy on this item • weight prognosis
should be prepared for each project, stating both variation of loads over one deck, • weight reporting
and variation over various decks. • weight control
• weighing
Wind loads should be properly assessed. For overall structural integrity, the complex shape of
the platform creates problems in assessing the effective area for wind load. Special elements Weight prognosis is the methodology which applies an uncertainty surcharge as high as
such as communication towers and flare booms require consideration as wind sensitive +30% in the conceptual design phase, to +5% in the final fabrication phase, see Figure 5.

To control the design process, weight engineering as explained in Section 2.5 below, shall be
performed by the project management staff. Any structural analysis must be linked to the
latest available information in the weight report. This requires that the load file for the
structural analysis and the weight report are compatible with respect to total weight, weight
distribution and centres of gravity.

Page 7 of 21 Page 8 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

Table 1 Comparison of concepts for main jacket-based structures

No. Item Truss type Frame type

1. Discipline non-interference - ++

2. Flexibility during construction - ++

3. Flexibility during operation - ++

4. Automated fabrication - ++

5. Construction depth ++ 0

6. Inspection - ++

7. Maintenance - +

8. Weight of structure + 0

9. Strength reserve + ++

10. Potential for high strength steel + ++

11. Structural CAPEX + +

12. Platform CAPEX + ++

3.1 Selection of Topside for a Main Jacket-Based Structure

Note: ++ denotes greater benefit
The selection of the concept for the topside structure is the second step in the development of
a structural system. The two possible basic alternatives: a truss type (Figure 4) or a portal- -- denotes greater disadvantage
frame type without braces (Figure 3), are compared in Table 1.
The selection of the topside main structure concept, truss or portal frame, is linked with the
decision of the position of the longitudinal structure in the cross-section. In a 20-25m wide
deck, trusses will generally be arranged in longitudinal rows: centre line and both outer walls
(Figure 6).

Page 9 of 21 Page 10 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

• attachment of secondary structures and of equipment/pipe/cable supports to the main

structure must be strictly controlled, to avoid fatigue problems.
• the connection area with the concrete shaft must provide the transition from circular
(shaft) to square (deck). It accommodates high strength anchor bars, temporary
crushing devices for deckmating, and requires tolerances on deck and substructure
• inspection and repair options must be planned carefully, especially as fatigue may

The material used at present is high strength steel typically of 355 MPa yield stress. There is
a trend to use higher strength steel (420-460 MPa).

3.3 Floor Systems

The concept for the floor-system in offshore structures is conventional: hot rolled beams,
typically at 1000-1200mm centres, are covered by a chequered or flat steel plate 6-10mm

The options are:

• conventional steel floor

• steel grating (bar-type or plate type)
In such decks, however, portal frames will be arranged in 2 longitudinal rows, approximately • aluminium floor system
14-16m apart, allowing floor cantilevers of approximately 5m (Figure 3). • orthotropic deck in steel
• corrugated steel plate
3.2 Selection of Topsides for Gravity Based Structures
The conventional steel floor contributes approximately half of the weight of the steel structure
Topsides of gravity based concrete structures (GBS) are quite different from the jacket based of an offshore deck.
topsides, see Lecture 15A.1. The topside structure is an important element in the overall
portal-type system. Gravity based substructures have been built with one to four shafts. A Steel gratings, especially with the plate type, could gain increased application as their weight
rectangular or a T-arrangement of four shafts has been adopted. The basic form is per sq.m. is attractive.
modularized topside with a grid of heavy box girders.
Aluminium has attracted much interest recently; current development in Norway will show its
A few elements only of the GBS-topside structural design are indicated below: real potential.

• due to portal frame action, the deck is subject to fatigue; a design case difficult to Orthotropic decks in steel have found application in helidecks. Further study is required to
control in topside design. assess their actual feasibility for floors of offshore modules.
• equipment lay out optimization, piping and cable routes, logistic and emergency
routes require many big openings and perforations of plate walls, thus creating stress Corrugated steel plate (approximately 1-3mm thick) as sub-flooring has been used in living
concentrations. quarters.

Page 11 of 21 Page 12 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

In summary, the floor concept used for a typical floor of an offshore deck of a module is a
conventional steel floor or steel grating.

3.4 Floor Panel Concept for Conventional Steel Floor

The floor panel, defined as the assembly of the floor plate and the stringer, can be connected
to the overall structure in two ways:

• stacked: stringer over the top of deckbeams.

• flush: stringer welded in between deck beam, with top flange in one plane. It is
practically impossible to change from the flush to stacked arrangement in a later
phase of the design.

All elevations and overhead clearances are involved in the choice of arrangement.
Clearances are very important for equipment height, pipe routing, pipe stress, cable routing,
etc. The single most important structural aspect is the amount of prefabrication that can be
carried out away from the main fabrication yard. The cost is also a very important factor.

3.5 Floor Stabilization Concept

The deck structure requires lateral stabilization of each floor with respect to:

• lateral instability of beams

• horizontal forces, e.g. wind, pipe reactions, sea transport
• horizontal components of permanent braces
• horizontal components of temporary braces, e.g. sea fastening
• horizontal components of sling forces
• module skewing during installation.

There are essentially two options for floor stabilization:

• provision of separate underfloor horizontal bracings

• allocate the stabilization function to the floor plate.
There is a clear preference for the stabilization by the floor plate. Where underfloor bracing is
adopted, there are two configuration options (see Figure 11). The rhomboid solution should 4.1 Introduction
be chosen for the upper deck, due to congestion at the column by the padeyes for lifting. The
underfloor bracing under a plate floor does create a very unclear structural situation. The The selection of the main deck dimensions have been considered above in relation to lay-out

bracing is assumed completely to perform the stabilizing function, but in practice the floor requirements.

plate is much too stiff to allow that. It is common practice in the structural analysis for
The interactive process of conceptual design of the jacket and deck yields the spacing of the
underfloor bracing to neglect completely the floor plate.
columns. In the Dutch sector of the North Sea, transverse column spacings are typically 9m

Page 13 of 21 Page 14 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

for a wellhead platform to 15m for a production platform. Longitudinally spacings are typically The same attention applies to the buckling of the floor plate by stresses which are picked up
15m. unintentionally.

Next decisions are made on: Strength of Floor Plate

• floor system: plate versus grating The strength of the floor plate is very high both for uniform as well as concentrated loads.
• main structure: truss versus portal frame
• floor panel concept: stacked versus flush Elastic, small-deflection theory provides uneconomical conservative results.

• floor stabilization underfloor bracing versus plate.

API-RP2A (2) does not specify live loads. They are specified by the operator.

The structural concept is then complete.

For main decks generally accepted figures are:

A principle for economic design of steel structures is that the load-paths should be short.
p = 20kN/sqm, or

For a floor design of a production deck typical dimensions are:

F = 10-25 kN on a 0,3 x 0,3m load area

Structural item Typical span

Det Norske Veritas [3] presents an expression for the required plate thickness t, which

1. floor plate 1m incorporates membrane effects and is of special interest for design for local loads.

2. stringer (longitudinal) 5m
Equipment and containers are regularly offloaded by the crane in some deck areas, such as
3. deck beam (transversal) 15m
lay-down areas and food container platforms. An increased plate thickness may be required
4. main structure (longitudinal) 15m
in these areas due to larger concentrated loads (1).
5. column

4.3 Stringers
These components are identified in Figure 6.

The typical stringer for a production platform is an IPE 240-270 or HE 240-280A profile
4.2 Floor Plate
positioned at approximately 1m centres and spanning 5m.

It is important to choose, especially for stacked floor panels, a profile which allows selection of

Options are to choose between flat plates, chequered plate or tear plate. Another option for heavier sections with practically identical depth to accommodate local heavy equipment.

providing slip resistance is to coat with a sand finish. The floor plate thickness is usually 8-
Designers should avoid choosing deeper sections or reinforcing them to accommodate late
10mm and 6mm for lighter loaded floors, although welding distortion may rule out the 6 mm
extra load requirements by welding another section underneath. Interference with small
diameter, hard piping or with cable trays then is quite likely.

In practice the floor plate acts as horizontal bracing between the columns.
Joining floor plate and stringers requires welding. Intermittent welding is generally not

Special attention is required to ensure that all welds between the floor plate and the accepted. A continuous thin weld (a = 4 mm) is usually specified. The shear in this weld is

underlying structure do not form brittle points. Failure of such welds could lead to crack generally quite low.

initiation in the rest of the structure.

The joint between the stringer and the deck beam differs with the floor panel concept chosen.

Page 15 of 21 Page 16 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

• stacked floors have a continuous fillet weld around the flange contact area and Stacked Floor Concept
generally do not have web stiffening of the stringers.
Figures 8 and 9 illustrate the problems.
If the top of the deck beam becomes inaccessible for maintenance, some operators will
require seal plates to be welded between the deck beam and the floor plate. This is quite
expensive. A typical joint is depicted in Figure 7.

The decision on the type of stringer joint should preferably be made prior to material ordering.

• flush floors. Welding the floor between deck beams requires removal of the top-flange
of the stringer near its end and perfect fit between the deck beams and floor. Deck
beam prefabrication is also required.

4.4 Deck Beams

Deck beams supporting the floor panels or providing direct support to major equipment are
generally provided as HE 800-1000 beams, though HL 1000 (400mm wide) or HX 1000
(450mm wide) are also used for heavier loads or greater spans.

The major joint in the deck beam is that with the main structure.

The joint configuration is strongly determined by the prefabrication concept and elevation of
the flanges. It is different for the stacked and for the flush concept.

Page 17 of 21 Page 18 of 21
Lecture 15A.10 Lecture 15A.10

For the full stacked concept (Figure 9), where both transverse and longitudinal main beam are To allow top flange welding a strip of the floor plate is fitted and welded last.
positioned lower, welding of the top flanges is straightforward.
If the deck panel is fabricated as an assembly of plate and stringer only, the detail Figure 10b
The lower flange, typically 40mm thick, can only be welded to the web, typically 20-25mm will be the most feasible.
thick, if alignment of both flanges is ensured.
4.5 Horizontal Bracing
The lower flange of the main structure should be at least 250mm underneath, to enable back
welding of the root. In Section 3.5 the preference for the floor plate to act as horizontal bracing was indicated.

For the less suitable partially stacked concept (Figure 8), where only the transverse main If however separate bracing members are required, the elevation must be chosen carefully.

beam is positioned lower, connection for the top flange of the transverse deck beam is more The bracing members have to pass with sufficient clearance under the stringers, penetrate

difficult. Direct welding of the top flange of the deck beam to the web should be rejected. the web of the deck beams at sufficient distance from the lower flange. They also require

Options are shown in Figure 9 with detail (a) haunching and detail (b) slotting the top flange good access for welding of the joint.

through the web.

These requirements generate the elevation and the maximum feasible diameter of the brace

Again it is apparent that a decision on joint configuration is required prior to material ordering. (Figure 11).

Flush Floor Concept Horizontal bracing can easily clash with vertical piping and major hatches.

Detailing is dependent of the prefabrication policy. Assembly of the braces is generally quite cumbersome.

If the deck panel is prefabricated as an assembly of plate, stringer and deck beam, the detail 5. CONCLUDING SUMMARY

shown in Figure 10a is the more appropriate.

• The topside lay-out was discussed, referring to API-RP2G, together with general
aspects of interface control and weight control.
• Based on the type of substructure, jacket and GBS, the different types of topside
structure were introduced and described. These types are:

integrated deck.
module support frame.

• Floor concepts were described.

• Several aspects of the plate floor design were addressed.


[1] API-RP2G: Production facilities on offshore structures.

American Petroleum Institute 1 ed. 1974.

Presents the basic requirements.

Page 19 of 21 Page 20 of 21
Lecture 15A.10

[2] API-RP2A: Recommended practice for planning, designing and constructing fixed

American Petroleum Institute, 18th ed., 1989.

The structural offshore code governs the majority of platforms.

[3] DNV: Rules for the classification of steel ships.

Part 5, Chapter 2.4.C, Permanent decks for wheel loading.

Det Norske Veritas.

Practical approach for economic floor plate design under static load.


1. M. Langseth & c.s.: Dropped objects, plugging capacity of steel plates.

BOSS Conference 1988 Trondheim, pp 1001-1014.

Floor and roof plate behaviour under accidental loading.

2. D. v.d. Zee & A.G.J. Berkelder: Placid K12BP biggest Dutch production platform.

IRO Journal, nr. 38, 1987, pp 3-9.

Presents a recent example for a portal-framed topside.

3. P. Gjerde et al: Design of steel deckstructures for deepwater multishaft gravity

concrete platform.

9th. OMAE conference Houston 1990, paper 90-335.

Most recent presentation on GBS topside structure.

4. P. Dubas & c.s.: Behaviour and design of steel plated structures, IABSE Surveys S
31/1985, August 1985, pp 17-44.

Good background to theory of plated structures.

Page 21 of 21
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

7. hook-up
Superstructures II
8. commissioning

A brief discussion on inspection and repair and on platform removal concludes this lecture.

To elaborate on structural steel concepts for integrated decks, module support frames, and
modules. To show principles and methods of construction (from yard to offshore site).

This lecture deals with the structural design of jacket-based offshore deck structures,
following the introduction in Lecture 15A.10.

Lectures 1A & 1B: Steel Construction

Heavy decks, over 10.000 tons, are provided with a module support frame onto which a

Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities number of modules are placed, see Lecture 15A.1, Figs. 4 and 5. Smaller decks, such as
those located in the southern North Sea, are nowadays installed complete with all equipment
Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality in one lift to minimize offshore hook-up. Most of this lecture refers to this type of integrated
deck as described in Lecture 15A.10.
Lectures 3.1: General Fabrication of Steel Structures
The selection of the concept for the structural deck is made in close cooperation with the
Lecture 6.3: Elastic Instability Modes other disciplines.

Lecture 7.6: Built-up Columns For the design of the deck structure, the in-place condition has to be considered, together
with the various previous stages such as fabrication, load-out, transport and installation.
Lectures 8.4: Plate Girder Behaviour and Design

A structural system for a deck structure comprises several of the following elements:
Lecture 11.2: Welded Connections

Floors (steel plate or grating) }

Lecture 12.2: Advanced Introduction to Fatigue
Deck stringer (H beams, bulbs or troughs) } Discussed in
Lecture 15A: Offshore Structures Horizontal bracing } Lecture 15A.10

Deck beams }

Structural systems for each type of topside structure are introduced, i.e. truss, portal frame,
Primary girders }
box girder, and stressed skin.
Vertical trusses or bracing } Discussed in
Some special topics of design are addressed and the different construction phases are Deck legs } this lecture
presented in more detail, i.e.:

1. fabrication
2. weighing
3. load out
4. sea transport
5. offshore installation especially deckmating
6. module installation

Page 1 of 22 Page 2 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

2. MAIN STRUCTURE DESIGN The severe restraint of welding a tubular in a diaphragm requires the selection of TTP steel
for the column section.
2.1 Introduction
Due to the high importance of the diaphragm plates in the overall integrity of the structure and
Some major topics in topside structural design are reviewed below. the welding constraints on the web plates in between, TTP-steel is chosen also for the
2.2 Main Structure-Portal Frame Design

Another option is to weld the girders directly onto the unstiffened can section of the column.
A portal frame design has been used in recent major projects in the Dutch sector such as
The assessment of ultimate resistance as well as fatigue strength has been the subject of
Amoco P15, Placid K12 [5] and Penzoil L8.
recent research (see Lecture 15A.12).

The main girder/column joint, as shown in Figure 1, is very important in determining the
Further improvement of the theoretical and experimental background is required. For lighter
height. It is most practical to position the longitudinal and transverse main girder flanges at
loaded truss structures, this non-stiffened type of joint has been used successfully.
the same elevation.

A third solution is to weld the girders directly to the can section of the column, which is
internally stiffened by rings. Its most severe disadvantage is the difficulty of inspecting the
column interior.

The disadvantage of both direct girder-column joints is that the girder sizing is governed by
the very high moments at the column/beam transition point.

Cast steel nodes form an alternative to the welded designs.

Member selection for portal frame structures with increasing section module usually includes:

• 300 mm wide rolled beam.

• 400 mm wide rolled beam.
• 450 mm /460 mm wide rolled beam.
• castellated beams fabricated from rolled beams, giving a height 1,5 times the original
beam height
• built-up girders fabricated from rolled beam T-sections with a web plate welded-in-
• plate girder

The plate girder of course provides the greatest flexibility for design, material selection and
procurement, though its cost per tonne is approximately twice that of a rolled beam.

2.3 Main Structure-Truss Design

Most offshore structures of moderate size have been provided with a truss-type structure.
Haunching of the transverse main girder, which is more lightly loaded-in-plane, however is not Typically such trusses consist of rolled beams as chords and tubulars as diagonals.
an option as these girders become highly loaded during transport.

Page 3 of 22 Page 4 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

Truss design requires several choices which affect the structural efficiency and have impact If a joint, e.g. at the top deck, is subject to severe moments due to lifting, ventstack, or crane
on other disciplines: pedestal for example, much of the bracing stress would result from unintended bending.
Generally the deck leg restraint creates a similar problem in the lower deck. An evaluation
• number and configuration of braces should yield a preferred location therefore for the node of the end brace.
• falling or rising braces
• intermediate load carrying of chords The truss deflects under its vertical load which leads to restraint of the chord in the column
• presence of external moments on joints and to bending of the chord. Both effects can quite severely effect the efficiency. The chord
• braces: tubulars or H-rolled sections section should be kept compact therefore and not given too much height.
• chords: rolled section or plate girders
• truss joints: locally reinforced chord or prefabricated node section Tubulars (circular, square or rectangular) or rolled sections can be chosen for the braces.

Figure 2 shows different arrangements of braces (basically N or W-type) obtained by variation The choice depends primarily on the loads and the chord width. A chord width of 300mm can

of the number of nodes. It should be kept in mind that all diagonals and verticals form accommodate a 10 in. brace only. Thus a wider chord flange is preferred.

obstructions for piping and cable routings of all kinds.

2.4 Main Structure-Stressed Skin Design

A third major structural option is the stressed skin concept, where full height plate walls take
the function of the truss or the frame.

Modules for living quarters are frequently built to this concept. Other types of modules have
not been built with stressed skin since the obstruction they cause during construction is

For smaller stressed skin modules, trapezoid corrugated plate can be used to provide a wall
in a frame of square hollow sections.

For bigger modules, flat plate stiffened with through-stiffeners is used for the walls.

The detailed design can only be made with a clear plan for assembling the module which
shows the panels that must be prefabricated.

2.5 Non-Load Bearing Walls

Blast or fire walls are provided in offshore platforms. Due to their function full welding to the
main structure is often unavoidable, see Figure 3a.
For the transverse trusses, transparency is even more important, especially near the well
area. The number of members required should therefore be reduced to a minimum.

Providing a W-truss with light verticals should be evaluated against choosing a heavier chord

Page 5 of 22 Page 6 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

Special attention is required concerning: The functions of the main structure with respect to the crane pedestal are:

• the capability of the walls to comply with the deformation of the main structure during • to provide torsional support preferable at top deck level
load-out, sea transport, lifting and in-service. • to provide lateral restraint at top deck level
• the strength of welds to the main structure being stronger than the plate to avoid • to provide lateral restraint at the lower end of the pedestal
rupture and potential crack initiation of the main structure. • to provide vertical support, preferably at the lower end of the pedestal.

One solution is to provide a flexible detail, see Figure 3b and 3c, with stiffeners falling short. Bending restraint by deck beams and/or main structure girders is not required and should be
reduced where possible. Torsion caused by slewing of the crane should preferably be
2.6 Crane Pedestals resisted by the floor plate, the stiffest element.

Crane pedestal, are discussed briefly below. It has become practice to include the tapered top section of the pedestal in the supply
package of the crane. The top section contains the large flange for the slewing bearing.
It is structurally economical to put the crane pedestal on top of a main column. For a truss
type the main structure will be close to the platform periphery so a moderate length of crane Fatigue due to crane operations is a design criterion and requires careful detailing of the
boom is sufficient. pedestal and the adjoining structure.

For a portal frame type with columns closer to the outer periphery, the pedestal requires a
special column in order to avoid using a crane with large boom length. Figure 4 depicts such
a solution.

Page 7 of 22 Page 8 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

3. ANALYSIS OF DECK STRUCTURES These joints are discussed in Lecture 15A.12.

3.1 Introduction 3.4 Lifting Points

Although the analysis of deck structures is a standard task, several aspects require special The effect of lifting points on deck design is considerable. For example the local forces that
attention: act on the lifting points (Figure 5) have to be transmitted safely through to the deck structure.

• Plate girder design

• Strength of joints
• Strength of the floor plate
• Lifting points
• Modelling of floor plates
• Support of modules.

3.2 Plate Girder Design

Design of plate girders requires selection of many dimensional variables and of approaches
for assessing load-carrying resistance. Lectures 8.4 deal in more detail with plate girder
Web buckling due to bending, normal force and shear restricts the slenderness of the web
which is expressed as the height of the web (h) divided by the web thickness (t).

API-RP2A [2] refers to the AISC manual [3] which gives the figures below for material with
yield-stress of 355 MPa:
Allowable bending stress 0,66 Fy 0,60 Fy There are two types of lifting points, trunnions and padeye, Figure 6.

Ratio web height h to thickness t 90 138

Ratio flange width b to thickness t 18 27

Instead of the above approach, more recent research, [3] and [6], allows use of the post-
buckling strength. The depth/thickness limits given above do not then apply.

3.3 Strength of Joints

The most important joints in a topside steel structure are:

• the ring stiffened joint between rolled beams or plate girders with a circular column
• the non-stiffened joint between rolled beams or plate girders with a circular column
• the tubular brace joint to single web beams
• the non-overlapped tubular joint

Page 9 of 22 Page 10 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

Trunnions, though favourable from other points of view, see Section 4, can generate case. Dimensional controls of the module as well as the support, with corrective measures,
considerable offset of the sling force with respect to the topdeck system points. Significant further provide control over the module - deck interaction. Some modules, such as living
bending is generated which is transferred to the topdeck girders to the extent that they quarter modules, gas compressor and injection modules, are often placed on anti-vibration
contribute to joint stiffness. It is most efficient to leave these bending moments in the column, pads in order to isolate them from vibrations.
by providing stiff columns.
Padeyes generally provide a good opportunity to minimize or eliminate offset, as far as they
can be situated on top of the column. The requirement of recessed padeyes (recessed 4.1 Introduction

padeyes are those which are positioned between the top and bottom flange elevation) or the
In Lecture 15A.1 the principal aspects of construction of offshore structures and their major
presence of other structures on the top deck can lead to very eccentric positioning and
equipment was introduced.
resulting heavy moments. For this reason the lifting concept must be developed in the
concept phase of the structural development.
For topsides more specific aspects are discussed below.

API-RP2A [1] requires larger load factors to be used for members direct-loaded by padeyes
4.2 Fabrication
or trunnions.

4.2.1 Operations
3.5 Modelling of Floor Plates

The design should allow efficient prefabrication of major sections. Prefabrication will avoid
There are two points of major interest:
congestion in one working area and it speeds up the whole construction process.

• representation of the floorplate in the structural model

Prefabrication and assembly shall properly incorporate the aspects of installation of major and
• true elevation
smaller mechanical equipment, as well as outfitting with piping, electrical and instrument
cables and lines. It should be recognized that major mechanical and electrical equipment is
There are several ways to model the plate. The most direct is to choose a computer-program
often not available at the start of assembly and must be brought in during fabrication.
which allows selection of plate elements. A second option is to define representative
members which model the plate stiffness by diagonals.
4.2.2 Design aspects

The deck plate is often positioned in the model at the elevation of the centre line, i.e. the mid
Since the overhead space is well covered by extensive piping routes as well as cable trays
height of the main structure girders, in order to save nodes in the model. It should however be
during construction, "late" structural work should preferably not be positioned overhead in that
recognised that this "error" of elevation, amounting to 0,5 - 1m, can affect the results. A
underfloor area.
separate evaluation should then be performed on the effect to this deliberate "error" at least at
some critical points. Fabrication of offshore steel structures is principally assembly by welding.

3.6 Support of Modules The prefabrication concept and joint detailing should maximize welding productivity with many
horizontal welds preferably made using SMAW technology.
Modules and deck structures interact structurally. API-RP2A [1] requires that modules are
modelled as elastic structures for the analysis of the supporting deck. In the 1970's major Support to the topside during construction should be well controlled to avoid settlement and to
difficulties arose in the decks for concrete gravity structures, because modules were keep within construction tolerances.
represented as a set of loads for the different load cases, acting at the support points, and
neglecting structural interaction. The basic phenomenon of this interaction is that the
distribution of the support reactions of the module is quite unequal and varies with the load

Page 11 of 22 Page 12 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

Special consideration should be given to the selection of materials suitable for the fabrication.
Where thick-walled elements are involved requiring Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT), the
design should position such welding and the PWHT in the prefabrication phase.

4.3 Weight Engineering

The topside must be kept under strict weight control, as explained in Lecture 15A.10. To that
end the topside is usually weighed prior to load out. The basic design of a weighing system
usually consists of a set of hydraulic jacks with electrical load cells on top, installed between
the topside and the shop floor. The accuracy of such systems is typically 0,5-1%.

Accuracy is necessary in order to check the actual position of the centre of gravity.
Knowledge of the position is vital for the installation.

The system for support of the topside should be similar to the anticipated method of load out.

4.4 Load Out

4.4.1 Operations

The load out usually combines two operations:

• moving the topside from the fabrication hall to the nearby quay
• moving the topside from the quay onto the barge

The short journey on land can be complicated when the track is not flat or curves have to be

The most preferred option for load out is therefore to use a platform trailer with individual
suspended wheels, see Figure 7 and Slide 1.

Slide 1 : General arrangement of a load out through skidding

The trailer drives from the quay over a rocker flap resting on the quay and the barge and then
slowly onto the barge. The barge is kept in right trim by ballast pumping.

Page 13 of 22 Page 14 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

When it reached the right position, the topside is set down on the beam grid of the sea After completion of the load out and full fastening to the barge, the barge is ballasted to its
fastening. target draft and cleared for the transport.

4.4.2 Design aspects load out The barge is towed by one or two tugs to the offshore location. There the barge is positioned
close alongside the crane vessel.
When using platform trailers the lower deck should be designed to meet three basic load-out
requirements: Prior to lifting, the sea fastening is cut free.

• the bottom flange plates of the transverse beams should all be in one plane Planning the sea transport contains several steps:
• the distance of transverse beams should not exceed approximately 7 m
• the lower deck should be able to take an upward reaction typically in the range of 50- • identification of critical clearances, e.g. (harbour depth, width of bridges or locks, etc

60 kN/m2 of ground area inshore)

• barge selection (a.o. stability, dynamic behaviour, location of bulkends).
A uniform distribution of loads is assumed for platform trailers. Skid systems which are not • evaluation of sea route (weather, length of tow).
provided with a proper load sharing system will lead to a non-uniform load distribution. • assessment of barge motions in sea state.
• development of a sea fastening concept.
Design for load-out requires coordination with sea fastening design. • assessment of deck/module integrity.
• assessment of barge integrity.
4.5 Sea Transport and Sea Fastening

There is also the option with some crane vessels to transport the top side on board. Usually
4.5.1 Operations
an extra take over is required as the draft of the crane vessel exceeds the depth at the
fabricator's quay. The advantage however is that sea fastening requires less effort.
Sea transport is a very critical operation, especially for topsides (see Slide 2).
Furthermore, the offshore operation is simpler and quicker, as the most critical and weather
sensitive operation - lift off the barge- is avoided.

4.5.2 Design aspects of sea transport and sea fastening

Several elements of the structure are dominated by the load condition during transport, see
Lecture 15A.1.

All equipment in or on the topside is also subject to heavy loads, e.g. control panels,
generator skids, platform crane, during transport.

Internal bracing of topside for transport is not favoured since it creates obstacles and risk of
damage or fire to cables, instruments, piping and equipment during subsequent removal.
External bracing is also not without problems. The width of the topside requires an extra wide
barge. It is difficult to find "strong" points on the topside exterior. The basic concept is
therefore to fix the topside to the barge by its columns only.

The designer should be aware that the bending stiffness of the topside often exceeds that of
the barge. Considerable "composite" action can result when the barge deflects in heavy head-
Slide 2: Seafastening of 105MN Brent C topside
on seas.

Page 15 of 22 Page 16 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

It is very important for any sea fastening concept to consider aspects of de-seafastening, i.e.
cutting free, prior to lift off, and the need to remain safe in a moderate sea state.

De-seafastening should not require any handling by cranes. Braces cut loose at one end
should therefore remain stable and safe while fixed at one end only.

Design of the sea fastening should not require any welding in the column joint, since the
topside would not then be ready for immediate set down onto the jacket.

When the tow is more than one or two days long, fatigue may have to be considered on
critical nodes.

4.6 Installation

4.6.1 Operations

Installation on the substructure can be:

• deck mating with a deep submerged floating GBS (Slide 3)

• lifting onto an already installed jacket (Slide 4)
Slide 4 : Installation of 60MN K12-BP topside by floating crane

Deck mating is a floating operation in a sheltered location, e.g. a Norwegian fjord or Scottish
loch. Deck mating requires that the deck is temporarily supported with the final supports free.
This requirement creates a very awkward load situation for the deck structure.

Lifting is the usual installation method for jacket-based topsides. During development of a
platform concept, the lift strategy should be defined as part of the overall construction
strategy. The lifting capacity of crane vessels is defined by hook-load and reach.

The required reach is determined mainly by the width of the topside and/or the transport

The major steps are:

• review of the weight report

• assessment of "critical" elevations
• assessment of feasible crane vessels
• development of a lift concept
• preliminary sizing of slings, shackles, trunnions, etc
• concept design of guides and bumpers
Slide 3 : Deckmating of the 500MN Gullfaks-C topside
• analysis of deck or module structure for lift condition

Page 17 of 22 Page 18 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

4.6.2 Design aspects of installation by lifting The use of a spreader frame should only be considered in exceptional cases and does not
prevent module distortion. The padeye/shackle option is limited by the safe working load
The lift concept consists of several elements: (maximum 10MN) of the biggest shackle. The trunnion can accommodate higher loads.

• the single or dual crane lift 4.7 Hook up

• the sling configuration
• choice of topside pick-up points Hook up is the completion of all joints and connections after installation.
• the necessity (or not) for spreader bars or even spreader frames
• the single, double or paired slings For economic reasons, the overall construction strategy should keep hook up work to a

• the choice of padeyes, or trunnions minimum. Critical hook up work is the work required immediately to secure the object in order
to survive the next storm.
Crane vessels were listed in Lecture 15A.1. Slings are available up to over 400mm nominal
diameter with safe working loads of 20-25 MN. 4.8 Commissioning

A basic element in all elevations is the inevitable tolerance in sling length which leads to an Commissioning is not relevant to the structural design.

unequal distribution of sling forces (typically 25%-75%) in a four sling lift. The unequal sling
4.9 Inspection Maintenance and Repair (IMR)
forces lead to significant stresses in the module (see Figure 8).

These activities are a major source of operational expenditure, OPEX, as introduced in

Lecture 15A.1.

Some requirements are:

• inspection of the primary structure is a statutory, fully planned activity

• inspection is only possible when proper access to the area or joint is provided
• gaining access is costly and requires space to be left behind equipment
• minimum provisions, e.g. small clamps under the deck, greatly speeds up scaffolding
• crack growth through fatigue is slow. A crack is usually detectable before one quarter
of its life is passed.
• dirt accumulation promotes corrosion damage
• maximum use should be made of the results of inspection. Evaluation should lead to
modification of the inspection programme where appropriate.

4.10 Removal

Removal requirements are different from country to country. In some depths of water full
removal is required in some countries from the mudline upward. Elsewhere only the structure
The use of spreader bars leads to a fully balanced lift without distorting the module. However
75 m or more above the mudline must be removed.
the spreader bar is quite expensive and usually leads to a requirement for a higher hook
elevation. Extensive engineering of removal is required to achieve a safe and effective operation. In the
Gulf of Mexico removed structures are dumped in the form of reefs. It is very difficult and
inefficient at present to include conceptual removal engineering in the design phase. When

Page 19 of 22 Page 20 of 22
Lecture 15A.11 Lecture 15A.11

re-use of the facility is planned, then removal engineering should be developed early in the [4] API-Bulletin 2U: Bulletin on stability design of cylindrical shells.
American Petroleum Institute, 1st ed., 1987.
Valuable specialist addendum to API-RP2A.
• Structural systems for each type of topside structure were introduced, i.e. truss,
portal, box girder, and stressed skin systems. [5] D.v.d. Zee & A.G.J. Berkelder: Placid K12BP biggest Dutch production platform.

• In the section on design some topics were addressed in more detail.

IRO Journal, nr. 38, 1987, pp 3-9.
• In the section on construction the different phases were presented in more detail, i.e.

Presents a recent example for a portal framed topside.

i. fabrication
ii. weighing
[6] R. Narayanan: Plated structures/Stability and Strength.
iii. load out
iv. sea transport Applied Science Publishers, London, 1983.
v. offshore installation especially deckmating
vi. module installation Good designers guide to plated structures design.
vii. hook-up
viii. commissioning [7] ANON: Gullfaks C platform deckmating.

• A brief discussion on inspection and repair and on platform removal concluded the Ocean Industry, April 1989, pp 24.

Good description of the actual mating of deck to GBS.

[8] A.G.J. Berkelder: Seafastening 105 MN Brent C deck.

[1] API-RP2A: Recommended practice for planning, designing and constructing fixed
Bouwen met Staal, nr.24 1979.

Presentation of seafastening design for GBS topside.

American Petroleum Institute, 18th ed., 1989.

The structural offshore code, governs the majority of platforms.

[2] AISC: Allowable stress design manual (ASD).

9th ed., American Institute of Steel Construction, 1989.

Widely used for structural code for topsides.

[3] API-Bulletin 2V: Bulletin on design of flat plate structures.

American Petroleum Institute, 1st ed., 1987.

Valuable specialist addendum to API-RP2A.

Page 21 of 22 Page 22 of 22
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

Connections in Offshore Deck Structures
Large offshore deck structures have traditionally been built up using modular components,
see Lectures 15A.10 and 15A.11; a module support frame is built on top of the deck legs of

To outline and explain the best methods for forming structural connections in offshore deck the jacket structure on which the various modules are installed. With the high lifting capacities

structures; to discuss the importance of a proper choice of connection type to achieve both currently available, the topsides of light to medium offshore structures can now be installed in

the required strength and stiffness, and ease of fabrication. one lift. This development has had a considerable influence on the fabrication and design of
deck structures, and has resulted in heavier modules, constructed of larger and heavier
PREREQUISITES members, with consequences for the connections.

Lectures 11.2: Welded Connections Another aspect influencing fabrication, and thus the design, was the development of cleaner
steels, with modified chemical compositions and good through-thickness properties. This so-
Lectures 11.4: Analysis of Connections called TTP steel (i.e. steel with through-thickness properties, see Lecture 2.4) has a low
sulphur content to avoid lamellar tearing. Furthermore, if the carbon and carbon equivalent
Lectures 13: Tubular Structures
(CEV) is low, the preheat temperature of the steel can be lowered, resulting in easier welding
(without preheating) which again influences the connection design.
Lectures 15A: Structural Systems: Offshore

The increase in lifting capacity, and the exploration for gas and oil in deeper water, have both
RELATED LECTURES (covering specific items in greater detail)
resulted in larger structures, and have stimulated the use of higher strength steels, with yield

Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities strengths above 355 N/mm2.

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality The joints have to be designed to withstand the various loading conditions (see Lectures
15A.2 and 15A.3) experienced during fabrication, load-out, transport, installation and the in-
Lectures 3.6: Inspection/Quality Assurance place condition (operation and storm). In order to allow redistribution of stresses it is important
that the joints are stronger than the connected members; if this is not the case the joints
Lecture 4A.5: Corrosion Protection in Offshore Structures and Sheet Piling themselves must have sufficient deformation/rotation capacity.

Lecture 11.5: Simple Connections for Buildings The connection design should take account of all the aforementioned aspects and should be
considered as an interactive procedure involving the choice of the structural layout, the
Lecture 12.2: Advanced Introduction to Fatigue
fabrication sequence and the steel grades and qualities to be used. Other aspects such as
inspection and corrosion protection requirements must also be considered.
Lectures 12.4: Fatigue Behaviour of Hollow Section Joints

Since the fabrication costs are mainly governed by the costs of welding, the connections
should be simple, and where possible, avoid the use of stiffeners.

Various forms of structural connections in steel offshore deck structures are discussed; these
cover the connections between deck stringers and main beams, between main beams
themselves, between main beams and deck legs, truss connections and connections between
The type of connections used in offshore deck modules depends directly on the type of
columns and beams. The importance of designing and dimensioning to minimise fabrication
structure involved:
and maintenance is emphasised.

• truss types

Page 1 of 19 Page 2 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

• frame types
• stressed skin

As discussed in more detail in Lectures 15A.10 and 15A.11, the structural system for a deck
includes several of the following elements:

• floor (steel plate or grating)

• deck stringers (I-beams, bulb flats or troughs)
• deck beams
• main beams or girders (beams on main grid lines)
• vertical trusses or braces
• deck legs and columns

Depending on their function, loading, and availability of sections, these elements can be
made of rolled I or H-sections, rolled circular or rectangular hollow sections, or welded
sections; for the larger sizes, welded I or box plate girders or welded tubular members are

These elements have to be connected together; since the modules are generally fabricated
under controlled conditions at the fabrication yard, welded connections are common
practices. The main connection types are discussed more in detail below. Although it is
common practice in offshore design to use the API-RP2A [1] or the AISC rules [2], the basic
joint behaviour is discussed in this lecture without reference to the safety factors to be used.


The deck floor structure can be designed as a floor plate with stringers, or as an orthotropic
plate. The floor plate with stringers is the most common type as it gives design flexibility for
later changes (local loads, deck penetrations, etc). Orthotropic plate structures, are generally
used in helidecks, see Lectures 15A.10 and 15A.11.

The use of stacked stringers, as shown in Figure 1, facilitates fabrication and is, therefore to
be preferred to the use of continuous connections, as shown in Figure 2.

For ease of fabrication, stiffeners should be avoided if possible. This means that the vertical
loads have to be transmitted by the webs, as shown in Figure 1, over length ls for the stringer,

Page 3 of 19 Page 4 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

and lb for the deck beam; web crippling failure is also possible and should be checked. These
are common details which are dealt with in Eurocode 3 [3] and other codes.

For the continuous connections, shown in Figure 2, the moment is assumed to be transferred
by the flange connection and the shear by the web connection.

The type of full penetration weld at the top flange for continuous connections depends on the
fabrication sequence and should be decided by the fabricator. The bottom flange and web
can generally be connected by fillet welds. A full penetration weld of the flange, without a
'mouse hole', is preferred because of corrosion protection although this results in a small weld
defect at the neck between flange and web. However, even under fatigue loading such a
defect can be accepted [4] the same is also valid for static loading. Only in cases where very
high strength steel (fy > 500N/mm2) is used and a high yield to ultimate stress ratio, e.g. fy/fu >
0,9 occurs should this detail be evaluated rigorously. Since all loading cases are not always
checked, the welds have to be designed to have at least the same strength as the connected
parts, i.e. as the flange or web.

It should be recognized that the shear stress distribution (Figure 2) for a detail with a 'mouse
hole' is more severe than that without a 'mouse hole'. Special attention should be given to the
As an expensive alternative solution, a plate connecting the flanges can be slotted through
unsupported upper side of the web in Figure 2b, as local buckling may be a problem, see
the web, as shown in Figure 4. Haunched alternatives are given in Lectures 15A.10 and
Lecture 6.2 and [5].


The connection between the deck beams is most convenient if these beams have the same
height, as shown in Figure 3b. Here the flanges are connected with full penetration welds, and
the web by fillet welds or a full penetration weld depending on the thickness. Tolerance
control is necessary to avoid differences at the deck floor level, between stringers. The shear
loads are generally too high to allow a single or double sided notch as shown in Figure 3b
since this results in a higher shear stress, see Figure 2. In case of equal heights, no TTP
requirements are necessary for the beams. For the connection of beams with unequal
heights, however, as shown in Figure 3a, the web of the main beam should have a TTP
quality due to the loads being transferred through the web thickness. Furthermore, to satisfy
the requirements for avoidance of cold cracking, etc., either the flange thickness of the
intermediate beam should be less than 1,5 times the web thickness of the main beam, or the
material should have a low carbon content (see Lecture 2.5).

Page 5 of 19 Page 6 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

All welds should be designed to have the strength of the connected parts. Stiffened Connections

As a consequence the connection is as strong as the member; only in case of large 'mouse The shear loads are transferred by the connection of the web plates to the tube walls. The
holes' the shear stress and possible local buckling of the unsupported web part [5] have to be moment is transmitted by the diamond plate in combination with an effective ring width of the
checked. tubular "can". The design resistance, for factored loading, is normally checked with the
experimental Kamba formula, which is simplified by Kurobane [6] as follows:

The main beams, either rolled H sections or plate girders, must be connected to the deck
NRd =
legs, which are normally fabricated tubular members. For a frame type structure, this
connection should be rigid and capable of transmitting the yield moment resistance of the Where,
connected beams. These connections, or nodes, are generally prefabricated, consisting of a
tubular "can" with surrounding "diamond" (diaphragm) plates for the connection with the NRd is the design resistance for the flange for factored loading
beams, as shown in Figure 5. This type of connection requires special material specifications
and special welding procedures. fy is the yield stress of deck leg "can"

b1 is the flange width of deck beam

do is the outer diameter of tube

to is the wall thickness of the deck leg "can"

ts is the thickness of ring plate

hs is the smallest width of the ring plate

bf =

Validity ranges:

The axial force in the flange N, is derived from N = Mcw/(h1 - t1) (see Figure 5). This formula is
based on the test results for a ring-stiffened joint with two opposite loads; more detailed
research is currently being carried out [7]. In the case of multi-planar loading, for four loads
acting in the same sense, the joint strength will be greater. However, if the two loads in one
direction are tensile and the two in the direction perpendicular to that are compressive, the
joint strength may be decreased. Reference [7] reports that this decrease was found to be a
maximum of 30%. Furthermore, if the deck leg is loaded by axial compressive stress

Page 7 of 19 Page 8 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

amounting to 60% of the yield value, the strength of the connection has to be reduced by The static design resistance for factored load of the unstiffened connection is determined by
20%. the strength of the flange to tube connection, which can be based on Togo's ring model, see
Lecture 13.2. The design resistance for flange loads in one direction (X-joint loading) is given
Non-Stiffened Connections by Eurocode 3 [3] and [9].

For truss type frames, the beam to deck leg connection has to transfer mainly axial loading
and an unstiffened connection, as shown in Figure 6, could be used; this is, however, not yet
NRd =
common practice. If sufficient deformation capacity exists, the secondary bending moments
can be neglected for static loading. If fatigue loading has to be checked, however, care should where:
be taken with these secondary bending moments, because the stress concentration factors at
the flange to tubular connection are rather high. For practical cases these stress NRd is the design strength for the flange for factored loading

fyo is the yield stress of joint "can"

concentration factors can be in the order of 10 for , see
to is the wall thickness of joint "can"

β is the flange width b1 to "can" diameter do ratio

kp is the influence function for additional stress in the chord.

Validity ranges:

0,4 ≤ β ≤ 1,0

For bending moments in-plane, the axial force N is derived from N = Mcw/(h1 -t1) as shown in
Figure 5.

For an axial loading the flange connections can interact such that the connection strength (I to
tubular) is not twice the strength of one flange connection but:

NRd .

Consequently the beam to deck leg connection has to be checked for:

NSd ≤ NRd

Mipsd ≤ NR.d (h1 - t1)

Page 9 of 19 Page 10 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

Currently, for multi-planar loading with loads and moments acting in the opposite sense, the The "joint can" should have about the same diameter and thickness as the column. In Figure
same 30% reduction in joint strength as before is recommended, although initial 7 longitudinal beams and a cantilever beam are also connected to this can. The bending
investigations indicate that this may be conservative [10]. No reduction has to be applied if the moment resistance is here determined by the connection of the bottom flange to the tubular
loads are acting in the same sense. can, similarly as discussed in Section 5.


Columns between decks are necessary where external surfaces of the modules are clad, or Since the chords of the trusses are part of the deck floors, they are almost always made from
where cantilevers or laydown areas are provided. The connection with the deck beams can an I or H-section; in exceptional cases, welded box sections are used. The diagonals are
be flexible in the longitudinal direction if these columns have only to withstand lateral loading. tubular, rectangular hollow sections, or H sections; all have their advantages and
If, however, they are used to transfer loadings from cantilevers to both decks, the connections disadvantages with regard to material costs, maintenance and fabrication. Where these
should have the same strength as the column or they should have sufficient deformation diagonals are connected to an I section chord, the chord should be stiffened to obtain a full
capacity. strength connection; it should be kept in mind that intermediate beams may have to be
connected to the chord at this location. The connection should be designed in such a way that
Figure 7 shows a possible full strength detail for columns connected to a plate girder, with fabrication and inspection will be easily possible.
possible connecting side beams and an extended cantilever. Here the web of the plate girder
is ended before the flange to allow a tubular section to be welded between the flanges. I- Figure 8 shows some connection details for lightly loaded trusses.
beam sections, even with different depths, can be easily welded to this tubular section, and
the columns can be welded to the flanges.

These connections generally do not develop a strength equal to or larger than the yield
strength of the diagonals. Consequently the connection should have sufficient deformation
capacity. However experimental evidence is only available for the connection according to
Figure 8a.

From a fabrication point of view, the connections with a gap between the braces are
preferred. However the connections with overlapped braces as shown in Figures 8c and 8d
are stronger.

Page 11 of 19 Page 12 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

The connection strength may be governed by various criteria, depending on the geometry, i.e: The strength of the connection for axial loads at the chord intersection (cross-section A) is
governed by the effective width area:
a. chord web strength
b. chord web crippling under a compression brace Aeff.c = 2 (bm1 tp + bm2 tw)
c. chord web shear between the diagonals of a gap joint
d. chord web buckling For the brace intersection the effective width is given by:

e. brace (diagonal) effective width

Aeff.b = 2 (be1 + be2) tp
f. brace shear failure at the flange connection
g. weld failure (to be avoided by full strength welds)
The strength of the connection is thus given by:
h. lamellar tearing (to be avoided by TTP material for the flange).

N2sin θ2 = Aeff.c fyo

For connections according to Figure 8a, Eurocode 3 [3] provides design strength formulae
which can be used in a modified way for the connections of Figure 8b to 8d. and

Within the scope of this lecture it is not possible to deal with all connections in detail, however N2sin θ2 = Aeff.b fyo
one example is given for a connection between tubular braces and an I-section chord as
shown in Figure 9. The effective widths bm1, bm2, be1 and be2 are given in Eurocode 3 (6.6.8 and Appendix K,
Table K.8.2).

As an additional check the chord cross-section between the braces has to be checked for
shear and shear in combination with axial loading and bending moments, see Table K.8.2 of
Eurocode 3.

The chord and braces have furthermore to satisfy the limits for d/t and h/t to avoid local

Weld failure and lamellar tearing should always be avoided by choosing full strength welds
and proper selection of the steel grade and quality.

In these cases where the joint strength is lower than the brace member strength, sufficient
rotation capacity should be available if the bending moments are neglected. Since it is difficult
to show that sufficient deformation capacity exists due to a lack of research evidence, either
the bending moments have to be incorporated in the strength assessment or the joint is
stiffened to such an extent that the joint strength is larger than the brace member strength,
e.g. as shown in Figure 10.

Page 13 of 19 Page 14 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

Special provisions are necessary for lifting the modules; padeyes or trunnions, for example,
can be provided for this purpose, as shown in Figure 12; nowadays these devices are
sometimes made of cast steel. It is important that these lifting devices are designed in such a
way that they can be connected to the deck structure at a later stage when the precise
location of the centre of gravity of the module, and the lifting method, are known.


The previous sections dealt with the most common types of connection; however, depending
on the platform layout, other types of connections may be necessary. Figure 11, for example,
shows the connection between two panels of stiffened plates. Here both panels are made by
(semi) automatic welding processes. Allowance is made for welding tolerances by welding the
ends of the stringers after the fitting together of the panels. This procedure can be used for
modules which are designed using the stressed skin method.

Strength of padeyes is often assessed by means of "Lloyds" formulae, which are presented in
the SWL (safe working load) format.

The SWL is the least of the following values of Ni:

N1 = 0,60 (a tL + 2 b tE) fy

N2 = 1,08 (c tL + (D - d) tE) fy

N3 = 0,87 d (tL + 2 tE) fy

Page 15 of 19 Page 16 of 19
Lecture 15A.12 Lecture 15A.12

where the following limitations apply: 10. REFERENCES

[1] API-RP2A "Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed
Offshore Platforms". American Petroleum Institute, 18th Edition, 1989
• 1,0 ≤ ≤ 8,0

[2] AISC "Specification for the Design, Fabrication and Erection of Structural Steel for
• and if ≤ 1,0
Buildings". American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago, 1980

then put tL + 2 tE = d in the above formulae.

[3] Eurocode 3: "Design of Steel Structures": ENV 1993-1-1: Part 1.1, General Rules and
Rules for Buildings, CEN, 1992.
• tE not to exceed tL/2
• dHOLE/dPIN ≤ 1,05
[4] Dijkstra, O.D., Wardenier, J. "The Fatigue Behaviour of Welded Splices with and without
Mouseholes in IPE 400 and HEM 320 beams". Paper 14 Int. Conference Weld Failures,
Tubular connections are not dealt with in this lecture since these are discussed in more detail
November 1988, London
in Lectures 13.2 and 13.3.

[5] Lindner, F. and Gietzeit, R. "Zur Tragfähigkeit ausgeklinkter Träger" Stahlbauwz. 1985.
For offshore deck structures, built up from stiffened plate panels, reference should be made to
Lectures 8.3 and 8.4.
[6] Kurobane, Y. "New Developments and Practices in Tubular Joint Design". IIW doc. XV-
488-81/XIII-1004-81, International Institute of Welding, 1981
For living quarters and helicopter decks, use can be made of the information in the previous
[7] Rink, H.D., Wardenier, J. and Winkel, G.D. de "Numerical Investigation into the Static
Strength of Stiffened I-Beam to Column Connections". Proceedings International Symposium
on Tubular Structures, Delft, June 1991. Delft University Press.

• The optimal design of offshore deck structures depends, to a large extent, on the
[8] Hertogs, A.A., Puthli, R.S. and Wardenier, J. "Stress Concentration Factors in Plate to
coordination between the specialists for the various disciplines; for the layout,
Tube Connections". Proceedings ASME/OMAE Conference, March 1989, Vol. II, pp. 719-727
coordination between structural, mechanical, electrical, fabrication, load out and
installation engineers is important.
[9] Wardenier, J. "Hollow Section Joints". Delft University Press, Delft, 1982
• The structural designer has to consider the fabrication sequence; the conditions for
welding and inspection (e.g. can it be welded properly?); the consequences of the [10] Broek, T.J. van der, Puthli, R.S. and Wardenier, J. "The Influence of Multiplanar Loading
choice of material grade and quality on the fabrication; and the various load on the Strength and Stiffness of Plate to Tubular Column Connections". Proceedings
conditions. International Conference "Welded Structures 90", London, UK, November 1990
• In general, most connections can be designed with the basic formulae used for
tubular connections and beam-to-column connections. Background information is [11] DNV "Rules for the Design, Construction and Inspection of Fixed offshore Structures"
given in [1, 2, 9, 11 - 15]. 1977 (with corrections 1982)
• Recently a study has been carried out to investigate the use of RHS in deck
structures [16]. This shows that the use of RHS, instead of beams, for deck trusses [12] Lloyd's Register "Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Fixed Offshore

can be economical. However, due to restrictions in available sizes, economical Installation". London, July 1988

solutions are mainly found for smaller platform sizes and for secondary steelwork
[13] IIW-XV-E "Design Recommendations for Hollow Section Joints - Predominantly Statically
such as staircase towers, access platforms and equipment supports.
Loaded - 2nd edition". 1989, IIW doc XV-701-89

Page 17 of 19 Page 18 of 19
Lecture 15A.12

[14] UEG "Design of Tubular Joints for Offshore Structures". UEG, London, 1985 (3 volumes)

[15] Voss, R.P. "Lasteinleitung in geschweisste Vollwandträger aus Stahl im Hinblick auf die
Bemessung von Lagersteifen". Ph.D-Thesis, TU Berlin D83, 1983

[16] Guy, H.D. "Structural Hollow Sections for Topside Constructions". Steel Construction
Today, 1990, 4


1. Marshall, P.W. "Design of Welded Tubular Connections: Basis and Use of AWS
Provisions". Elsvier, 1991
2. Schaap, D., Pal, A.H.M. v.d., Vries, A. de., Dague. D. and Wardenier,J. "The Design
of Amoco's 'Rijn' Production Platform". Proceedings of the International Conference
on Steel and Aluminium Structures, Cardiff, UK, 8-10 July 1987, Vol. Steel Structures
3. Paul, J.C., Valk, C.A.C. v.d., and Wardenier, J. "The Static Strength of Circular
Multiplanar X-joints". Proceedings of the third IIW International Symposium on
Tubular Structures, Lappeenranta, September 1989

Page 19 of 19