The growing size of BOPs, longer drilling campaigns on wells, and operations in harsher environments has resulted in increased challenges in properly documenting wellhead fatigue during planned or executed drilling operations. The industry has started directing its efforts toward the calibration of analytical tools which are typically adopted for predicting wellhead fatigue. The ultimate goal for achieving this ambitious scope is to identify a benchmark set of analytical results that will predict field measurements. Early on Statoil identified a major obstacle: the absence of a good and comprehensive dataset of field measurements to serve as point of reference. Statoil and Aker Solutions cooperated on a pilot project with the intent of collecting a dataset of full scale measurements during drilling operations to be used to validate and calibrate the theoretical wellhead fatigue calculation methodologies. The main objective of the instrumentation campaign was to measure sectional forces as close as possible to typical wellhead hotspots by the use of three sets of strain gauges installed on the outside surface of the conductor and on the outside of the surface casing. With the objective of collecting an exhaustive dataset of measurements, accelerometers and inclinometers were installed on the BOP, the riser adapter, the riser below the upper flex joint and on the rig. An additional set of six strain gauges was installed on the riser to record riser tension variations. Environmental conditions were logged on board the rig and by the hindcast data provider. Operational events were carefully logged. This paper presents the following:
• Data processing used for quality assurance and calibration of the measured data and the associated data challenges
• Highlights of the instrumentation system capabilities to capture salient events of a typical drilling campaign and of ad-hoc performed rig operations to calibrate and validate the measured data
• Effect of a controlled rig cross motion test, performed to evaluate quasi static loads on the well and calibrate strain gauge sensor orientations
• A riser pull test, performed to validate strain gauge functioning
• Several landing and disconnecting of the LMRP
• Manipulation of the preload between the high pressure housing and the low pressure housing to investigate the effect of the preloading on the load sharing between the casings
Since King and Soloman , the industry is still lacking quality field data to be used in order to validate the various analytical models used in the analyses of subsea conductor and wellheads. The results will confirm the quality of the measured data and will represent a first data point of comprehensive measured field data. This data will be used for future required work in calibrating the different building blocks pertaining to the analytical tools dedicated to well head fatigue predictions .