Offshore Technology Research Center


OTRC Project Summary

Project Title:

Composite Riser Experience and Design Guidance

Prinicipal Investigators:

Ozden Ochoa


Minerals Management Service

Completion Date:

October, 2006

Final Report ID#

A176(Click to view final report abstract)


Develop a summary and critical assessment of the lessons and best practices learned in significant recent (since 1995) industry efforts to develop composite risers for deepwater oil and gas drilling and production. Use this information to develop guidance that the MMS can use in evaluate future deepwater projects that involve composite production or drilling risers.


In recent years there have been a number of significant efforts to develop composite production and drilling risers. The interest in composite risers results from the high strength to weight ratios inherent in composite materials, and the benefits of lighter risers for deepwater drilling and production. Examples of these efforts include the NIST ATP projects on drilling and production risers, a drilling riser for the Heidrun project, and production risers for the Magnolia project in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, there have been studies by organizations such as OTRC and DeepStar as well as other studies by industry.

This project will seek to compile the design, fabrication, testing, and inspection protocols developed for these and other relevant projects, and then review these protocols and actual project experiences in forums with key players involved in these projects to identify key features and consequences, lessons learned, and significant remaining challenges. Class society guidance and recommendations will also be reviewed.

This information will be summarized and documented in a monograph that is available to the MMS and industry, and will be used as the basis for developing guidance that the MMS can use in evaluating composite risers proposed for future projects.


This project will provide the MMS and industry with a convenient and comprehensive summary, in the form of a monograph, of recent efforts on composite risers, a critical assessment of lessons and best practices learned from these efforts, and remaining significant challenges in the use of composite risers in deepwater developments. The guidance developed from this information will be useful to the MMS in evaluating key aspects of composite risers proposed for future projects.

The results will preserve the lessons learned to date, and allow subsequent projects to build upon this knowledge and experience to expedite the further development and application of composite risers.


The monograph will be available to the MMS and industry. The guidance report will be provided to MMS for their use and distribution.


Scope and Plan: The duration of the project is one year. The project is scheduled to begin in September 2005 and be completed by September 2006. The plan, tasks, and anticipated schedule are described below.

Task 1 - Information Gathering - Gather all available information on significant projects since 1995 and complete a critical review.

Task 2 – Plan Technical Forums - Define a set of issues and for each phase of riser design and manufacturing [e.g., design, material and process selection, fabrication, inspection, & testing). be addressed in forums that will be held in the 2nd Quarter. Generate a list of key players involved in recent (since 1995) composite riser projects and form teams for each phase.

Task 3 - Technical Forums - Conduct separate forums for the various phases. Discuss project information gathered and identify experience, learnings, and key issues for further review and critical assessment.

Conduct a final forum with team leaders to establish agreement on issues and challenges; assess risk and reliability constraints; and use constraints to identify most significant design, fabrication, inspection, & testing issues.

Task 4 - Complete first draft of monograph, issue to MMS and industry representatives for review, revise as necessary, and publish.

Task 5 - Develop guidance that will integrate design, material and process selection, fabrication, inspection, and testing issues from initial design to installation stages. Document guidance in a final report for the MMS. Conduct a one-day briefing for the MMS.

Related Publications: Kim, W., Ochoa, O. O. and Miller, C. A., “Axial and Burst Analysis of Offshore Composite Risers,” Proceedings of the American Society for Composites, Philadelphia, PA, September 7-9, 2005.

Kim, W., Ochoa, O. O., Ward, E. G. and Miller, C. A., “Structural Response of Composite Production Risers,” Fourth International Conference on Composite Materials for Offshore Operations, Houston, TX, October 4-6, 2005.


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