Fatigue analysis of subsea jumpers due to slug flow

Bob Van Der Heijden, Henk Smienk, Andrei V. Metrikine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Rigid steel jumpers are used in a subsea flow line system to connect subsea components. They provide a certain flexibility with respect to installation and operating conditions. This flexibility makes the jumper susceptible to slug flow induced vibrations. Slug flow can be described as an alternating flow of long oil and gas bubbles which flow at the gas velocity. The alternation between oil and gas density causes loads on the jumper which causes the jumper to vibrate. Two excitation mechanisms can be identified; 1) The variation in weight along the straight sections and 2) the difference in impact loads on the bends. Due to the cyclic nature of these loads fatigue can cause the jumper to fail. As a main contractor of SURF-projects (Subsea Umbilicals Risers and Flowlines) Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the entire project scope, including the design of the subsea jumpers. Hence this paper has been set up by HMC and the Delft University of Technology to study slug flow induced fatigue in subsea jumpers and in order to find new design considerations. In the early design phase of a subsea jumper the offshore industry commonly uses, to authors knowledge, a static analysis to predict the fatigue damage caused by slug flow. Since the vibrations caused by slug flow are not incorporated in a static analysis an accurate tradeoff between flexibility and fatigue lifetime cannot be made during the design phase. As this tradeoff during the design phase is desirable, a new dynamic and more accurate analysis method has been developed which takes these vibrations into account. A comparison between this new methodology and the common industry method is made in order to quantify the difference in analyzed fatigue damage due to slug flow induced vibration. Additionally the effects of a pressure drop over a passing slug is also investigated to determine if a pressure drop should be incorporated as a design factor for slug flow induced fatigue. The new dynamic method will also be used to investigate the relation between jumper configuration and high slug flow velocity. It will show what excitation mechanisms are dominant and how this affects the fatigue behavior. Since is be the first time, to authors knowledge, such an extensive analysis of geometries and velocities is undertaken it will provide new insights into slug flow induced fatigue in subsea jumpers in general. The newly found amplification and attenuation of the vibration by the successive impacts on the bends of a subsea jumper are investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPipeline and Riser Technology
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic) 978-0-7918-4546-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering - New York, San Francisco, United States
Duration: 8 Jun 201413 Jun 2014
Conference number: 33


ConferenceASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
Abbreviated titleOMAE 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


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