Stewart USA – Flexible Risers for Off-Shore Drilling

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[Posted on January 8th, 2014 by Bill Stewart]

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The Off-shore oil and gas industry continues to need flexible risers to build  new structures.  The debates continue over off-shore drilling. No matter who makes the most valued point, the fact remains that it is a lucrative business with more lobbyists than gas stations, so will continue for a long while. Deep water deposits of  raw materials continue to  promise rewards, and the rising fuel cost puts pressure on all governments to go to more deep water to drill.  Oil and gas companies realize a very strong financial drive to pursue more and more off-shore oil rigs.

Risers are in Demand

Continued off shore rig development kept high demand for components that are used to build rigs high.  Among the most needed are flexible risers.  They connect platforms with oil and gas below the ocean, and then transport fuel to where it is packaged and transported. If we did not have risers, much of the oil and gas the world is mining would remain inaccessible.

 Steel Catenaries

The steel catenaries are risers that give benefits others simply do not. These risers are  steel pipes, flexible, and follow the ocean floor to the oil platform above.  They are meant for deep water drilling and often hundreds of meters long.  The first one built was by Shell twenty years ago.  It reached a depth of 872 meters.  These powerful risers operate at pressures between 2,000 and 5,000 psi. Not exactly like the pressure washer you use around your home! The flexible risers are less costly and really reliable, known for resistance to high temperatures, ability to take high pressures and flexible movement.

Technology and Development

Flexible risers s are primarily used in fragile marine settings and  transport hazardous materials through these ecosystems. Cable dynamics are used daily in the operations of oil rigs. Much of the research and development that has gone into flexible risers actually focused on safety and creating these to be as safe as possible. Fluid dynamics, mechanical technology professionals, soil mechanics technology professionals and many other professional personnel work to design the best flexible riser possible.


Flexible risers are not the only type of riser used when for off-shore oil and gas platforms. Another way which is better suited to some specific situations, is the bottom-weighted riser. This is technically not a flexible riser but has commonalities with them. Two distinctive characteristics  of the bottom-weighted riser are (1) its rigid elbow and(2) horizontal section made of titanium.

Flexible risers are usually the best solution but each platform needs a specialized evaluation.  They are each unique.

Stewart Technologies helps companies design platforms and determine which type of riser is best for each individual off shore  platform. STA continues to be the go-to authority for off-shore rigging and its production.