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For the operator, predicting foundation behavior is crucial to understanding the risks associated with placing a jackup rig at a designated location. For independent leg jackup rigs, this is even more important, as the legs serve as the foundation for the rig on location. To confirm a suitable foundation, the base of each leg is fitted with a spud can, a plate or cone designed to transfer the vertical loads into the seabed to the point of refusal by means of preloading. Spud cans are can be circular, square or polygonal, and they vary in size. The largest spud can being used, to date, is more than 20 m wide.
Spud cans apply pressures that vary from about 165 to 525 kilo-Newtons per square meter (kN/sq m), and the soil resistance must be known before a jackup can be placed safely on location. This allows the drilling contractor and operator to know how the spud cans will behave, as they follow the slope of the predicted penetration curve, and how deep they’ll penetrate.
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