Perth-made drill riser innovation boosts deep water oil industry

Australian Marine and Offshore Group has released the Longitudinal Groove Suppression (LGS) drill riser buoyancy system to improve drilling in the deep water oil industry.

The grooved shaped device is based on wind resistant cacti in New Mexico and is made out of syntactic foam at subsea by Matrix Composites in Western Australia, according toScience WA.

Drill risers are usually cylindrical shaped pipes that connect to a blowout preventer (BOP) stack atop a seafloor well.

BP’s oil spill and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 are the biggest examples of a BOP failure, and highlights the need for innovation in the sector.

The riser is a buoyant pipe that sucks drilling mud to a floating ship or drill rig to ensure a high degree of safety and cleanliness.

LGS testing in Canada proved the riser could withstand water current speeds of 14.8km per hour (eight knots per hour), a fast speed considering that three and a half knots is the fastest ever recorded speed of the Leeuwin Current.

According to Science Network Aaron Begley, Matrix CEO, said, “Typically about two knots per hour and anything above that you start deflecting your riser and you run the risk of damaging your BOP.”

The LGS’s subsea application minimises vortex induced vibrations and drag, which are major causes of disruptions and fatigue damage in risers.

Tests found it to have 30 per cent less drag than other drill risers. The reduced disruption this creates is projected to save approximately 20 days per year for deep water operations in the Gulf of Mexico, which has an average cost of US$1.5 million each day.

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