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Kvaerner and Conoco formed an alliance in 1995 to investigate developing composite products for oilfield use. Two main products resulted: composite riser joints and composite tethers. These products are now marketed and produced by a new Conoco / Kvaerner joint venture company, Deepwater Composites. Only riser joints are discussed herein.
The Deepwater Composites drilling-riser program involved designing, manufacturing, and testing four, full-diameter 22-in. composite joints under static, fatigue and impact loading conditions prior to finalizing the joint design for offshore use. The composite riser joints, developed for both production and drilling operations in deep waters, have a fiber-composite body with metal end connections made of carbon fibers and epoxy resin. The weight is less than half that of a steel riser. The production-riser program involved testing four, full-diameter 10-3/4-in. composite joints that were instrumented with fiber optics. These tests confirmed that current, state-of-the-art composites are strong enough to allow reliable design and manufacture of composite risers.
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