Blog • Stewart Technology AssociatesStewart Technology Associates | Structural, marine and offshore specialists

Jack-Up Sway Measured by Inclinometer

Many times the folks on board a jack-up, or liftboat, are concerned about the swinging of the bubbles in the glass tubes of their heel and trim inclinometers.  They seem to indicate that the rig is rocking.  Invariably it is only swaying and the hull is staying level.  However, the horizontal accelerations are causing the inclinometer bubbles to move.

The typical -5º to +5º glass inclinometer on a jack-up can be used to estimate the sway motion amplitudes of the jack-up hull.

The average period of the sway is determined (for example by measuring the time for 10 swings of the bubble and dividing by 10).  Simultaneously the average amplitude of the bubble movement is noted.

A chart is consulted and the amplitude of the sway is found, based on the amplitude of the bubble travel in degrees and the average period of the sway in seconds.


Chart showing sway amplitude corresponding to inclinometer bubble amplitude at 3.5 seconds average sway period

The inclinometer response is not linear and usually a calibration of the inclinometer is required.  The video shows an inclinometer being swung at constant period with a range of amplitudes.  From the observed data a calibration curve is constructed.  Semi-empirical theoretical formulae have also been developed by STA, as described elsewhere.  Note that a series of charts is needed to cover a range of average sway periods (and operating leg lengths extended).

The inclinometer sway charts were first introduced on the Maleo Producer in 2007.

Cruise Ship Collision Barrier

A new type of Cruise Ship collision control barrier is under design and development.  The design brings a very large cruise ship (or any other vessel) gradually to a stop, converting the vessel’s initial kinetic energy to potential energy, which is stored in two structures on either side of the barrier.

Cruise Ship Collision

Cruise Ship Collision Barrier – Simulation with OrcaFlex

Hydrodynamic analysis with OrcaFlex is used to confirm and improve upon closed form analytical solutions developed by STA.

Designs have been developed for cruise ships up to 333m length with gross tonnage 150,000 and a starting collision velocity  of 6 knots.

Efforts on the project were interrupted in September 2017, by Hurricanes Harvey, which effected our Houston office, and Irma, which effected our Caribbean interests.

5 Examples of Oil and Gas Software Offered by Stewart Technology Associates

OrcaFlex SP Squall Analysis tlu3-with-suezmax

Stewart Technology Associates has a long history of providing quality engineering services for the marine industry and off-shore oil and gas industries, and it specializes in design and analysis of marine structures and fluid dynamics. Some of the specific services offered include hydrodynamic analysis, mooring analysis, anchor analysis, rig design and analysis, riser design and analysis, finite element analysis, marine training simulations, financial assessments, risk assessments, forensic analysis, and oil spill containment and clean-up consulting.

As part of its service in the off-shore oil and gas industries, Stewart Technology associates has developed a wide variety of custom oil and gas software that represents the industry standard in marine training simulations, design and analysis of marine structures, and tools for laying out and installing marine systems.

Here is an overview of several of the custom oil and gas software applications offered by Stewart Technology Associates:

1) STA JUSIM Jack-Up Simulator Software

Used in conjunction with custom simulation hardware, the jack-up simulator helps new users learn how to operate jack-up oil platforms in a safe and efficient manner while accurately simulating real-world scenarios, including common operational problems. In the physical simulator, trainees operate a jack-up control panel that is similar to the control panel in existing operational designs, and it is mounted on a tilting table that can simulate the movements and attitude of an actual jack-up rig to within less than 1/10 of a degree of accuracy.


The software simulates realistic conditions such as leg damage to the jack-up and punch-through, allowing the operators to experience and prepare for emergencies that may happen in real-life scenarios. The software runs on a standard PC and can operate alone or in conjunction with a physical simulator.


STA 2POINT is a software program designed to simulate the effects of both lateral and longitudinal forces on a vessel that is moored in a two-point mooring system. It calculates the forces and the loads created by wind, ocean currents, and waves on the vessel, and is designed for situations where the vessel is in shallow water and there is little or no pretension applied to the mooring lines. It accounts for stretching of the mooring lines and uses the US Navy’s methods for determining wind and current loads.


This software simulates the mooring forces at work on a single vessel that is moored at a single-point mooring system, taking into account the forces of the wind, currents, and waves on the vessel according to direction. It is designed specifically for tankers that are moored in single-point systems, using either bow hawsers or bow turrets. A second tanker, offloading in tandem, can also be simulated with either astern thrust or assistance from a tug boat.



STA ANCHOR is a computer program designed to calculate the holding capacity and predict the drag anchor embedment of a particular anchor design. The operator selects from a variety of standard anchor sizes and geometries, and customize the geometry according to a particular design. Combined with the specific characteristics of the sea floor, the program determines the holding capacity of the anchor and the vertical and horizontal forces at work on the structure of the design. This enables the anchor to be tested and redesigned to meet specific requirements. The software can be used in conjunction with other programs to perform a full analysis of the anchor design and related hardware, including the STA CHAIN, STA PILE and STA PULLOUT programs.


This software is used by a variety of liftboat manufacturers and designers, as well as the US Coastguard, to help design three-legged liftboats and to analyze and verify the design. It simulates the forces at work on the lift boat when it is in the fully elevated position, including the forces of wind on the structure above the water, as well as the effects of the currents and waves on the legs. It independently analyzes wind loads on each section of the exposed structure, including the hull, the crane, and the superstructure. Many of the inputs can be customized to match the design of the structure and the characteristics of its location, including the loading condition of the liftboat, the water depth, the amount of pad penetration into the sea floor, the stiffness of the pad restraint provided by the soil, and many other variables. With this software, the design can be tested in real-world conditions and be altered to meet the criteria required for the application.

These are just a few of the many custom oil and gas software programs that are written, designed and distributed by Stewart Technology Associates. Some of the software can be customized for specific use cases on request, for an additional fee. Stewart Technology Associates also works extensively with OrcaFlex, and they distribute custom software from third parties on request.

In addition to oil and gas software, Stewart Technology Associates provides a wide range of other consulting services for both the oil and gas industry and many other marine-related industries.



8 Services Provided by Our Engineer Consultants

Any structures that operate in a marine environment, including offshore drilling rigs, risers, mooring systems, marine vessels, wave power systems, and offshore wind generator facilities, provide unique design and operational challenges that often require significant resources and ingenuity to overcome. Many companies rely on the extensive knowledge and experience of engineer consultants to help provide critical analysis of these problems and devise piratical, cost-efficient solutions.

8 Services Provided by Our Engineer Consultants image

Specializing in marine and offshore structures, fluid dynamics and related disciplines, here are just a few of the services that our engineer consultants at Stewart Technology Associates can provide:

1) Hydrodynamic Analysis

Hydrodynamic analysis is used to accurately simulate the forces at work on a structure in a marine environment. This includes the movement of the waves, the action of the tides, the effects of undersea pressures, turbulence from structures or seafloor features, and the effect of high winds and inclement weather. By learning how these forces affect a structure, its design can be improved to eliminate possible failure points and to reduce costs and maintenance requirements. Hydrodynamic analysis can be used to examine both new and existing designs, and it can also be used after a maritime accident to help determine the cause of the problem.

2) Finite Element Analysis

Finite element analysis can be used to model how real-world conditions will affect the operation of a product or of a component of a larger system when subjected to forces such as vibration, heat, high pressures, fluid flow or other physical challenges. The results of the modeling can be used to improve the product’s design, reducing component failures and wear that can shorten its lifespan or lead to increased maintenance costs. Finite element analysis can also make a product safer, and help to determine the cause of failure in an existing design.

3) Structural Design and Analysis

Engineer consultants can help design and analyze marine structures, such as drilling rigs, jack-ups and liftboats, to make sure that they will perform efficiently and safely in a specified environment. They can work directly with a client to create a structure that will withstand the forces in a particular marine or sub-sea environment safely, while increasing productivity and reducing long-term costs. They can also analyze existing designs to improve their structural performance, productivity and safety.

4) Riser Design and Analysis

Risers are one of the most critical components in an offshore oil drilling or production platform. They carry mud and drilling fluids to the well during drilling operations and carry oil and gas to the surface during production operations. To operate safely while maximizing production, they must be able to withstand the movement and pressure below the surface, while moving fluids efficiently. Engineer consultants can be used to design an efficient riser system for production or drilling operations, determining what type of riser will be needed, rigid, flexible or hybrid, effective mooring solutions, what equipment will be required and other factors. They can also improve the efficiency of fluid moment withing the riser, increasing production, and analyze existing designs to suggest structural, efficiency and safety improvements.

5) Anchor Performance Analysis

Anchors are critical to securing marine vessels and other structures in place temporarily, permanently or semi-permanently, and if they fail to perform adequately, they can allow vessels to drift off course or to collide with other structures, leading to injuries, property damage, productivity losses or environmental concerns. To perform effectively, the design of an anchor must take into account the weight and movement of the vessel, the surface conditions and the composition of the sea floor. With an anchor analysis, engineer consultants can model the forces at work on the anchor and suggest improvements that will make it stronger, safer and more effective.

6) Mooring Design and Analysis

Mooring systems in the offshore oil industry are critical to keep the platform in place during operation, to secure tankers while transferring oil and gas and to secure other vessels as needed. They must be able to withstand the weight of the vessel or platform, while compensating for motion at the surface of the sea and keeping transfer pipes and equipment safe. Engineering consultants can analyze the design of a mooring system, including the anchors, mooring lines and surface structure, ensuring that it can perform both safely and effectively. They can also create new designs for specific applications and analyze the performance of transfer systems.

7) Oil Spill Clean-Up and Containment

Oil spills can have far-reaching consequences, from polluting the water supply and harming animal and plant life, to making beaches less inviting and hurting economies that depend on fishing or tourism. When the worst does happen, the key to minimizing the damage is to contain the oil as close as possible to the source and to clean it up as quickly as possible. Engineering consultants can help to design effective measures for both containing the oil and cleaning it up, including effective boom systems to contain the oil and techniques that can adequately model the currents and conditions at the site to make clean-up more successful and efficient.

8) Forensic Analysis

After a maritime accident or an oil spill, the original cause of the accident can be difficult to determine and, often, there are many contributing factors that make the origin even less clear. Engineer consultants can use hydrodynamic analysis, finite element analysis and other techniques, along with advanced software and extensive knowledge of marine systems, to analyze the events leading up to the accident, as well as the accident itself and its effects, to help determine the original cause. This information can be used to determine liabilities in the aftermath of the accident, to improve designs to prevent future accidents and to establish new safety protocols and programs that can help avoid or mitigate such incidents in the future.



Marine Salvage Dynamics – Sewol Salvage

Sewol Side Lift Partly Emerged 1

Sewol Salvage: Stewart Technology Associates worked as Technical Advisors to Shanghai Salvage Company using STA software and were responsible for all dynamic analysis of the complex lifts in the open ocean environment.  All lifts are dynamically sensitive and involved cutting edge marine salvage dynamics. Analyses were performed with waves in the time domain using FEA (OrcaFlex).

Marine Salvage Dynamics of Sewol Salvage raised with ZPMC 12,000 ton floating crane and 1,200 ton lifting frame.

32 HMPE upper slings, 8 balance slings, 34 pairs of steel lower slings.

Fully coupled 6 DOF time-domain dynamic analyses in OrcaFlex with diffraction forces on the Sewol and ZPMC crane barge.  All individual sling tensions computed during all stages of the Sewol Salvage.

Sewol and Floating Dry Dock 1

Sewol wreck transfered to semi-submerged floating dry dock in open ocean.  OrcaFlex time domain dynamic analysis of three main vessels, lifting frame and all slings.

The following video describes how STA has examined the issues of unusually low freeboard and trapped water on the pontoon deck.

The video provides a description of how OrcaFlex is used to cope with time domain calculations of the wave motions of the floating dry dock when the deck becomes submerged and the buoyancy of the wing tanks is of critical importance.

More details of the accident can be found at:



The  portfolio item below provides a short OrcaFlex Tutorial with a Mooring Analysis example.

SPM Squall Analysis

CALM Buoy modeled in OrcaFlex

CALM Buoy modeled in OrcaFlex used in Wind Shift, or Squall Analysis of Suezmax Tanker

CALM Wireline1

Wireline view of SPM CALM Buoy modeled in OrcaFlex.

A Suezmax tanker is moored via a hawser.  View list of STA software.

SUEZMAX Perspective1

Suezmax tanker seen in shaded perspective view in OrcaFlex, moored to SPM CALM buoy during squall analysis.

The portfolio item below provides a short OrcaFlex Tutorial with a Mooring Analysis example.

6 Ways Riser Analysis Can Improve Riser Design

Published by Stewart Technology Associates on July 18, 2016

Dynamically positioned drill ship in storm conditions.
Riser tensioners seen actively tensioning riser until 7:50 on the timer.
Riser emergency disconnected, EDS activated at the BOP at 7:50 and the top end raised about 3 meters.
Moonpool with hung-off riser shown after EDS activated.

The portfolio item below provides a short OrcaFlex Tutorial example of Mooring Analysis.

View list of STA software.

In the offshore oil and gas industry, risers connect drilling and production platforms to the sea floor. They transport oil and gas from the well to the platform or inject fluids into the well to facilitate drilling or production. Risers are critical to the operation of the platform, and any failure could mean a loss of production capabilities and a serious loss of profit.

Risers enable the platform to move up and down, or side to side during production and drilling operations. They also must efficiently transfer fluids to and from the sea floor. The impact of wave action, tidal action, high pressures, low temperatures, and corrosion must not affect the platform’s movement. In order to do the job properly, with minimal maintenance and downtime, an extremely efficient and reliable riser design is required.

In the past, the main way to evaluate a riser design was through building prototypes, testing them extensively in real-world conditions and redesigning the riser until it met all the requirements and specifications necessary. This could be a tedious and expensive process, and it could still yield sub-standard designs, in some cases.

Today, riser analysis takes out some of the guesswork. Using special software packages and talented engineers, riser analysis can model the forces at work on a potential riser design. It looks at waves, tides, temperature, pressure, vortex forces and vibration to determine the strong and weak points of a design, and improves them to avoid structural fatigue, leaks, inefficient fluid transfer and other common problems. This can reduce design and prototyping costs, and lead to a final product that is efficient, durable, safe and low-maintenance.

Riser analysis is now a critical tool for improving the performance of drilling and production operations, and here are a few of the ways it can help to improve riser design:

1) Determining the Right Type of Riser for the Job

The type of riser used for a particular application will depend on the type of platform, the depth of the seafloor, the depth of the well and the sub-sea conditions. Riser analysis can be used to determine the best type of riser for the application, and help perfect the design and adapt it to particular equipment. The most common types of risers include:

  • Top-tensioned riser: A rigid riser that is held in place vertically through tension, and allows both lateral and vertical movement through a flexible connection between the riser and the platform.
  • Steel centenary riser: A curved riser used to connect two platforms, or to connect the platform to the sea floor, it can withstand some motion and is used on spars, tension-leg platforms and floating production storage and offloading platforms.
  • Flexible riser: Made from flexible pipe, these risers can withstand horizontal and vertical motion.
  • Pull-tube riser: A hollow tube attached to the center of the platform, it houses a pipeline or flowline that is pulled from the seafloor with a cable, and is used primarily on fixed platforms.
  • Attached riser: Used on fixed platforms, compliant towers, and concrete gravity structures, these risers clamp to the side of the platform and are connected to the sea floor with an export pipeline or a flowline.
  • Riser tower: A combination of a steel tower and riser that is used for deepwater drilling, a buoyancy tank is used near the surface to keep it in place through tension and flexible lines connect it to the platform
  • Drilling riser: Transfers drilling mud and other fluids to the seafloor during drilling operations and is only a temporary connection.

With riser analysis, you can choose the best riser for the situation, adapt an existing design for use with your equipment, or create an entirely new or hybrid design, then test and improve the riser before it goes into production.

2) Improving Riser Structure

The overall structure of the riser must be able to withstand the waves, the tides, the high pressures and the low temperatures present below the ocean surface. Riser analysis can be used to model these forces at work on your riser design, determining how they affect individual areas and structures of the riser and how they affect maintenance requirements and the longevity of the system. Using the resulting data, the design can be improved to make the riser stronger, more stable and safer.

3) Determining Insulation Efficacy

In deep water, the temperature can drop significantly, reducing the viscosity of oil and drilling fluid and slowing down production and drilling operations. To combat this, many risers incorporate insulation to keep the fluids at a more desirable temperature so that they can flow properly. Riser analysis can be used to design and test the insulation, and find problems that may reduce the temperature and fluid flow within the riser. By improving the design of the insulation, riser analysis can help to increase production efficiency, leading to higher profits.

4) Designing and Testing Valves

Valves in the riser help control the flow of oil, hydraulic fluid, and other substances through the system, and they must operate in cold, high-pressure conditions without frequent failures or maintenance. Riser analysis can be used to model the flow of fluids through the valves and to find failure points and other problems that can reduce their life cycle or cause leaks. With the data, the valve can be reengineered to promote longevity and efficient fluid flow.

5) Designing Buoyancy Tanks

Buoyancy tanks are critical to keeping a riser stable and accessible in sub-surface conditions, and if they malfunction, oil spills or other problems could occur. Riser analysis can help to design and test the buoyancy tanks, improving their design so that they are safer and more stable, regardless of the sub-surface conditions.

6) Improving Riser Flow

Production risers must carry fuel to the surface efficiently to meet production goals and maintain the platform’s earnings. Riser analysis can be used to model how oil and drilling fluids flow through the riser, determining points of turbulence or restriction. By improving the design of the riser and eliminating these problems, production rates, and profits can be increased.

Riser analysis is a powerful tool that can make an oil platform safer, more efficient, and more productive by improving every aspect of riser design, from the seals to the valves and the overall structure.


3 Projects That Can Benefit From Hydrodynamic Analysis

Published by Stewart Technology Associates on June 20, 2016

View list of STA software.

The portfolio item below provides a short OrcaFlex Tutorial example of Mooring Analysis.

3 Projects That Can Benefit From Hydrodynamic Analysis

Water can behave in many different ways, depending on the circumstances, and any structure or equipment that is in a marine environment or to be used near the water, must be thoroughly prepared for the forces that will operate on it. These forces are constantly changing and include tidal forces, wave action, undersea currents, high pressures, corrosion and chemical reactions. If a structure or piece of equipment is not designed properly for a marine setting, it could have a significantly reduced lifespan, require increased maintenance and pose a threat to nearby personnel.

Industry personnel can use hydrodynamic analysis to improve marine equipment and structure designs. By modeling the behavior of the water and the structure or equipment exposed to it, design problems and structural deficiencies can be discovered, and the design can be improved before the equipment or structure is put into production. This process can save large amounts of time and money, and can improve the safety of marine structures and equipment.

Here are a few examples of projects that can benefit from thorough hydrodynamic analysis:

#1 Oil Rig Design

Large, off-shore oil rigs are often limited-production designs, with only a few examples actually being built. This means it is difficult to test the designs thoroughly before production, and any mistakes in the design can be difficult and expensive to repair later. By using hydrodynamic analysis, the manufacturer can thoroughly test the design before it is put into production, and improve it to minimize any problems.

The hydrodynamic analysis will model the effects of the marine environment on every part of the oil rig, from the anchors that tie it to the seafloor, to the platform legs, risers and superstructure. It can pinpoint structural deficiencies, where forces like wave action slowly wear away at sensitive components, such as moving joints, and eventually cause dangerous structural failures or prolonged maintenance problems. This allows the designers and engineers to redesign these components to better withstand the forces at work in the marine environment, reducing maintenance costs, increasing the design life and protecting the safety of the personnel.

#2 Pump Design

Pumps are critical in a marine environment. Bilge pumps remove excess water from a ship’s hull to prevent an over-accumulation that could cause the ship to sink. Fresh water pumps circulate drinking water through the plumbing for ship personnel, and other pumps may be used for fire protection. Oil pumps are used to keep the moving parts of a ship lubricated, or to transfer oil from production wells to tankers. Fuel pumps provide ships and generators with the fuel they need to run.

Pumps used in a marine environment must be able to withstand corrosion and electrochemical reactions caused by saltwater exposure, and they must be able to transfer fluids quickly and efficiently without overheating and failing. Hydrodynamic analysis can be used to model both the behavior of water on the exterior of the pump and the behavior of liquids as they travel through the pump.

The models can be used to design pumps which are better suited to the forces at work in a marine environment, making them stronger and more resistant to the effects of pressure and corrosion that cause maintenance problems. They can also be used to increase the efficiency of the pump, by showing how the fluids travel through the body and the impellers. By using the results to eliminate unnecessary cavitation and friction, the pump design can be made much more efficient, saving energy, reducing maintenance requirements, and extending the pump’s lifespan.

#3 Accident Reconstruction

Working in a marine environment can be especially dangerous for personnel and equipment. Bad weather, rogue waves, fire, equipment failures and other common problems can quickly lead to dangerous situations in the contained environment of a ship, drilling rig or other marine platforms. Accidents can and do happen, including collisions, fires, oil spills, sunken vessels and other catastrophes. Determining the cause of an accident and the results are often the key to improving marine designs and preventing similar accidents in the future.

Hydrodynamic analysis is one of the most powerful tools for determining the cause of a marine accident. The process can be used to model the behavior of the water and any structures, vessels, or equipment that are in the water. It can help determine why two ships collided using accurate modeling, which part of a structure failed, why fire protections systems malfunctioned during an emergency, or how an oil leak was caused and where the oil will be traveling.

With accurate modeling, hydrodynamic analysis in conjunction with other tools can reconstruct every variable at play during an accident, and determine the cause and effect of each action taken. The results can be used to improve the designs of marine equipment and structures to prevent similar accidents in the future, to institute new safety procedures that minimize casualties, and to take further action to protect the safety of ship personnel and minimize liability issues.

Other Applications

These are just a few of the ways that hydrodynamic analysis can be employed in real-world applications. It can also be used to improve the designs of sea-faring vessels, mooring systems, sub-sea pipelines, floating pipelines, drilling risers, anchors, mooring lines, liquid-storage systems, buoys, marine weapon systems, off-shore wind turbines and wave power generators. Furthermore, it can be used to help during oil spill cleanup or containment operations, for forensic analysis, marine training simulations, risk assessments, financial assessments, emergency preparedness and accident prevention. Hydrodynamic analysis is a versatile tool, and it has many critical applications across multiple industries, including oil and gas production, energy production, shipping services, defense, maritime entertainment and oceanography.

With so many applications, hydrodynamic analysis is very important to any marine based-operation, and through its accurate modeling, it can help improve the design and operation of many marine-based structures, tools and equipment. It can help cut design costs and minimize production delays, and improve the safety of marine-based personnel.


4 Ways Engineer Consultants Can Help Your Business

Published by Stewart Technology Associates on May 20, 2016

Maleo Producer - Mat-Supported Jack-Up on Dry Tow

Maleo Producer, a mat-supported Jack-Up rig converted to a gas production platform (MOPU) owned by Global Production Systems, with structural design and foundation dynamic analysis by Stewart Technology Associates.  The platform is shown during a dry tow to the site in Indonesia on board the heavy lift vessel Black Marlin.

Side view of mat-supported jack-up Maleo Producer showing deployment stages for Roson.

Side view of mat-supported jack-up Maleo Producer showing deployment stages for Roson.

4 Ways Engineer Consultants Can Help Your Business

There are many challenges in the off-shore oil and gas industry, from operating in an unforgiving marine environment safely, to offloading oil and gas efficiently and designing drilling rigs, risers, moorings and other equipment that can withstand the punishing environmental forces at play. No matter how well-rounded and diverse your team is, eventually, you will run into an engineering problem or situation beyond your knowledge and expertise, or something that requires a different discipline or skill set.

While expanding your team is one option, finding someone with the necessary skills can be difficult, time-consuming, and potentially costly, and it may not be worth the effort if you need only temporary or intermittent assistance. In these situations, the most convenient, cost-effective option is to use outside engineer consultants who can work closely with your team to achieve the desired results, while bringing a unique set of skills and fresh viewpoints to the task at hand.

Here are a few of the ways that engineer consultants, like the team at Stewart Technology Associates, can help your off-shore exploration or production operation:

#1 Structural Design and Analysis

Designing equipment and structures that can stand up to the rigors of a marine environment, including forces such as rain, snow, wind, wave action, tidal forces, deep sea pressures, corrosion and chemical reactions, can be a difficult process. It can include thousands of hours of design, simulation, prototyping, testing and analysis work. Even with a highly-qualified team and large budget, it can be a grueling process fraught with pitfalls and mistakes. By working with experienced engineer consultants, you can eliminate guess work and get the project finished and into production in a timely manner. Some of the structural projects that engineer consultants can help you with include:

  • Fixed platforms
  • Tension-leg platforms
  • Jack-ups
  • Liftboats
  • Semi-submersible platforms
  • Drillships
  • Barges
  • Bouys
  • Moorings
  • Single-point moorings
  • Pipelines
  • Risers
  • Anchors
  • Foundations

Engineer consultants can help throughout the design process; from the initial planning of the structure, to creating the final design and selecting the appropriate materials and construction methods. Using software such as ORCAFLEX, ASAS or ABAQUS can employ finite element analysis and model how your structure will behave in real-world conditions by simulating the effects of vibration, heat, fluid movements and other variables. This will determine where likely failure points are, allowing design to be improved before production. The software can also be used to improve existing designs and model previous failures to avoid future incidents.

By working with engineering consultants during the design process, you can avoid common problems that lead to structural failure, safety problems and increased maintenance, and you can develop a reliable, long-lasting structure that will serve your needs more thoroughly.

#2 Hydrodynamic Analysis

Anything in a marine environment is bombarded by waves, tidal forces, inclement weather, high pressures, corrosion and electrochemical processes. These forces cause wear and stress on marine structures and equipment, leading to increased maintenance requirements, higher operational costs and structural failures or safety issues. Engineer consultants use hydrodynamic analysis tools, like OrcaFlex, to model the hydrodynamic forces at work on your structure, allowing you to improve the design, increasing durability and reducing maintenance costs. Hydrodynamic analysis improves the performance of equipment and marine structures, including:

  • Drilling rigs
  • Production platforms
  • Mooring systems
  • Anchors
  • Anchor points
  • Mooring lines
  • Anchoring hardware
  • Underwater pipelines
  • Floating pipelines
  • Risers
  • Tankers

Engineer consultants can help your marine equipment and structures perform as expected, and keep workers safe.

#3 Fluid Dynamics Analysis

Systems designed to store and transport fluids like oil must be designed to avoid leaks, eliminate bottlenecks that reduce transfer efficiency and move fuel safely. Engineer consultants use software like OrcaFlex to model the behavior of liquids in equipment like risers, pipelines, pumps, swivels and tanker ships, leading to improved designs.

For pipelines, risers, and swivels, the software determines where there are impediments to flow, allowing you to create a design with higher flow rates. It also shows the forces at work on the seals, allowing you to design seals that are more resistant to leaks and other failures.

An analysis of fluid dynamics can also be used on pumps to increase flow rates and to make them operate more efficiently, reducing energy usage and costs. In tankers, it can help design holds that minimize the movement of oil and prevent sloshing, leading to greater ship stability during transit, increased safety and reduced fuel costs.

#4 Other Areas

In addition to these basics, there are other ways engineer consultants can improve your oil and gas operations:

  • Risk Assessment: Engineer consultants can examine your overall operations and suggest improvements to increase safety, efficiency and financial health. They can also report to insurance agencies to evaluate your operation and so that a project can move forward.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Engineer consultants can design safety systems, equipment and strategies that keep employees protected and minimize liability during emergency events, like inclement weather or fire.
  • Marine Simulation and Training: Engineering consultants can design training programs, software and equipment that helps employees learn to use marine equipment safely, effectively and efficiently, including systems like jack-ups or liftboats.
  • Forensic Analysis: Engineer consultants use tools like hydrodynamic and finite element analysis to determine the cause of an accident, and how to prevent it in the future.
  • Oil Cleanup: Engineer consultants can develop effective oil cleanup procedures and equipment that minimize costs and environmental damage in the event of a leak or a spill.

Engineer consultants offer a wide range of valuable knowledge and skills that help your oil and gas operation design better structures and equipment, improve operations, enhance safety and increase profits.




5 Ways Oil and Gas Software Can Help Your Business

Published  by Stewart Technologies on April 20, 2016

There are hundreds of software solutions for the oil and gas industry that can make the job of finding, drilling for, and producing oil and gas much easier, safer, and cost-effective. The software solutions range from programs that automate control systems or provide safety solutions, such as man overboard warnings, to software that is designed to map out and determine the viability of a formation, or to analyze the structure of marine systems and the effect of hydrodynamic forces on them.

Oil and gas software such as Orcaflex, Orcina, Saic, or Atkins can be used to design and analyze marine systems such as oil rigs, liftboats, jack-ups, anchors, pipelines, single-point moorings and other marine systems, making sure that they will operate safely in the chosen environment and have decent lifespans. GIS, or geological information systems software, can help to collate available geological data, such as maps, well logs, mud logs, and other data, and use it to determine the overall make-up and viability of a formation, including cross-section generation and analysis. Other types of software can manage production, logistics supplies, or specific hardware systems.

Here are just a few of the ways that oil and gas software can help to improve your company’s operations:

#1 Design Analysis

Whether you are designing a semi-submersible rig, a jack-up or floating platform, the right oil and gas software can help you to perfect the design long before it goes into production, and put it through its paces virtually, with thorough software-based testing and analysis.

This allows you to make sure that your design will work as expected in the worst conditions, such as when the wind is blowing in hurricane-force gusts, or the waves are hitting the rig with incredible force. Using the information from the virtual testing and analysis, you can improve the design of the right to withstand wave action, sub-sea pressures, tidal forces, and the worst weather conditions to be expected at the site.

Once you are sure that your design meets all of your needs and specifications, you can then put it into production. By analyzing the design with oil and gas software such as OrcaFlex first, you can avoid costly production mistake that costs thousands or more to fix, as well as tedious maintenance issues further down the line.

#2 Hydrodynamic Analysis

From the largest oil rigs to the smallest mooring points and clamps, every marine system is prone to structural damage through the forces of wave action, tidal forces, inclement weather, large sub-sea pressures, corrosion and other issues unique to marine environments. In order to be cost-effective, any system used in a marine environment must strike a balance between longevity and total cost of ownership. Structures built to handle the worst forces in a marine environment may be too expensive to be cost-effective, while less expensive structures may cost your more over their lifetimes due to increased maintenance costs.

Oil and gas software such as OrcaFlex can help you perform an accurate hydrodynamic analysis on just about any type of marine system, allowing you to study how the forces of the marine environment will affect the system. By doing a thorough analysis, you can improve the design of your mooring system, pipeline, riser system or other marine equipment. This will help you to design components that stand up to the unique stresses of the marine environment better, reducing maintenance costs, extending the lifespan of the equipment, and keeping your total cost of ownership reasonable.

#3 Financial Assessments

Oil and gas software can help your company plan your oil and gas exploration and production operations from start to finish. This includes estimating the required investment in equipment, such as oil rigs, drilling risers, pipelines, mooring systems, to analyzing geological data and estimating well viability and output. It can help you to determine the total costs associated with the operation and the potential profits.

It can also help you to determine possible risks, such as oil spills, environmental damage, injuries and accidents, and help you to determine the best courses of action in each situation and possible costs associated with them. With oil and gas software, you can have complete control over every aspect of your burliness, with instantaneous access to detailed information, analysis and reports that are critical to your operations.

#4 Marine Simulations

Oil and gas software can also help during training and certification of employees and other staff. Software simulators, such as jack-up or ballast control simulators can help new operator become familiar with the control systems in such equipment without risk to the physical equipment or crew. This reduce liability and overall training costs, and allows you to safely train your crew with fewer risks.

Jack-up simulators can mimic nearly any step in the operation of a jack-up rig, including how the system responds to problems such as a broken leg, a punch through, or poor contact with the sea floor. Ballast simulators allow the operator to empty or fill the ballasts of a ship or rig in accordance to weather conditions, preventing the system from sinking or tipping over in rough seas.

#5 Forensic Analysis

If there is an accident or oil spill at one of your sites, oil and gas software can help you to determine the cause of the accident, who is responsible and how to prevent such problems in the future. Software tools such as hydrodynamic analysis can be critical in the analysis of the problem and in finding a solution, and software like OrcaFlex can make the process much easier.

By making your equipment safer through hydrodynamic analysis and by preventing accidents in the future, you can reduce your company’s liabilities and increase long-term profits.

Oil and gas software, such as OrcaFlex, GIS software and training simulators, can help your business run more efficiently, safely and smoothly. It can help you to design better structures that can easily withstand the unique forces in a marine environment, it can help you to improve your training processes, it can prevent accidents and it can analyze financial risks to your company and help reduce operational costs.



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