[Posted on July 9th, 2014 by Bill Stewart]
Steel catenary risers (SCR) are well-known tools used for uniting an ocean pipeline to an oil production platform. SCRs enables the movement of liquids such as water oil, and gasoline. When combined with anchor analysis, SCRs can be used precisely to improve the efficiency of virtually any drilling operation.
Steel Catenary Risers
There are several, basic components which all SCR’s have in common. First off, the SCR is connected to the platform via a coupling known as a flex joint. The riser may lie on the floor of a body of water, hundreds of feet below the surface, for this reason several buoyant must be attached so the SCR will remain buoyant. Increased buoyancy reduces the stress put upon the flex joint. If the joint was forced to support the entire weight of the riser, it would be far more likely to come undone. The riser must also be held in place on the floor of the body of water. Riser anchors must be strategically placed along the length of the riser so currents don’t move it from the desired position.
Why are SCRs Used Underwater
Many people are familiar with the oil production in the Persian Gulf and in the US in states like Texas. However, 3/4 of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, which means most of the viable drilling spots in the world lie beneath the sea. The dry land drilling sites would never be able to satisfy the world’s petroleum needs, which is why off-shore drilling is being discussed so heavily by the governments of the world. Even those who protest the use of fossil fuels still support off-shore drilling. This is because the vast majority of the world’s natural gas also lie beneath the surface of large bodies of water. Steel Catenary Risers can help to improve the world for everyone by making natural gas more accessible to replace harmful fossil fuels.
Other Benefits to Off-Shore Drilling
The US still has a volatile relationship with many of the world’s top oil producing countries. However, the US is also the country most dependent upon the fossil fuels from these countries. Off-shore drilling could make the US less dependent upon all foreign fuel sources, by providing ample petroleum and natural gas. Independence from foreign energy sources is certainly a great incentive for off shore drilling. Many European countries are also exploring off-shore drilling as a means of freeing themselves from dependence upon Russian natural gas. The Moscow based company Gazprom has been accused of using Russia’s natural gas reserves as political weapons which has countries such as Germany seeking more viable solutions. As off-shore drilling becomes more common, the need for steel catenary risers will increase as well.