Integrity Insight Blog

Diving Deeper into Subsea Data Management

Clarus Subsea Integrity has designed a visually intuitive web portal that can overlay on existing systems or databases. This web portal is aimed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of integrity management programs and reinvigorate document management.

Over an asset’s lifecycle, project stages change, personnel and contractors change, but data shouldn’t. Yet, valuable time and resources are often spent searching through vast amounts of information due to the complexity in designing, fabricating, installing, and operating a subsea development. This can lead to multiple data sources that can compromise overall quality and control.

Clarus has spent over a decade performing subsea integrity management plans, risk assessments, and engineering analysis. During this time, Clarus has seen many of the above problems cost operators hours of inefficiency and, in some cases, unnecessary action, while further driving up monetary costs in other cases due to delayed reaction time.

In order to combat these challenges, Clarus combined its strong integrity engineering experience with an effective graphical user interface to create ICUE. A web based portal that provides one access point for all of an operator’s subsea integrity management needs. What sets iCUE apart is the fact that it is designed specifically for integrity management by engineers who have completed over 2,000 subsea component risk assessments, 500 anomaly assessments, and a 100 subsea inspection campaigns.


iCUE brings key information about an operator’s particular asset to the foreground in a visual and user-friendly format. It allows quick and intuitive paths to data on a graphical user interface that can interface with any existing electronic document system. These paths enable users to obtain all of the integrity management data, on any of their components, within 5 clicks. Operators can obtain meaningful component status overviews and dig deeper into matters such as risk position, visual assessments, KPIs, inspection history, and as-built data.

Laying out data in such a way can demonstrate compliance through auditable performance history and improve operational readiness through visibility of component condition across one or multiple assets. In addition, operator’s integrity data management costs can be reduced by up to 15% with effective data mining.

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Flexible Riser Integrity Assessment Approach

A lot has happened with flexible risers lately! Clarus has been asked by several clients to support assessment and evaluation of flexible riser integrity, including the independent review of annulus testing results and processing of riser monitoring data.

Click on the image to see our general approach to Flexible Riser Integrity. Clarus delivers forward-looking plans to verify the fitness for purpose and potential for life extension for flexible risers.

For more information please contact us at (832) 664-7620

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Do You Have Confidence in Your Data Management?

Finding the information you need about your offshore asset can be complicated. It is often stored in different places and managed by different people, making asset management challenging and time-consuming.

We highlight some of the challenges that we have seen time and again in this infographic, and provide a simple approach on steps you can take to get your data under control, making it accessible, accurate, meaningful and useful. 

Click image to zoom in.

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What’s the hype about HIPPS? An integrity management perspective.

The predominant topic in the oil and gas industry at the moment is cost reduction; a sharp change from a year ago when most conversations centered around technology development for today’s harsh, deepwater environments. There is one technology, however, that can help meet both of these criteria, and that is subsea HIPPS.

High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems are safety instrumented systems (SIS) and have predominantly been used in the North Sea. They have yet to be implemented in the GoM, but offer significant advantages for operators in the region. The subject was among various technologies discussed during the 7th Annual Teledyne Oil & Gas Technology Focus Day, which Clarus attended on 19th November 2015 at the Westin Memorial City. Here’s an overview of what we learned.

How do HIPPS work?

HIPPS protect downstream equipment from exceeding design pressure limitations, allowing for high pressure wells to tie in to flowlines and risers with lower pressure ratings, ultimately reducing cost. They also allow new, higher pressure wells to tie into existing, lower pressure production systems preventing the need for a new facility altogether. HIPPS monitor upstream pressure by using multiple sensors, and close the barrier valves as soon as an increase in pressure exceeds the preset level. This increase can occur due to a number of different reasons. One example could be a malfunction of the subsea tree choke, which during normal operations provides control of production pressures, resulting in an unplanned opening. Another example could be a hydrate blockage downstream of the HIPPS that causes a rapid surge in pressure upstream.

Why have HIPPS not been used in the GoM?

Actually, a subsea HIPPS is currently being developed for the Julia project in the GoM. However, they do remain a non-conventional production technology and therefore require additional approval from BSEE.  Since regulatory approval depends on historical safety data, which is lacking, the current regulatory requirements can result in a stringent qualification process.

What are the integrity considerations if I am considering a HIPPS?

The reliability of safety valves is a common challenge in the industry, with malfunctions that often result in lost production, repeated troubleshooting and, in some cases, costly intervention operations. Valve redundancy should be carefully considered during design as it can allow you to continue production operations if one valve was to malfunction.

Valve condition monitoring can establish historical safety data and operational KPIs that increase confidence and provide leading indicators before a shut-in.  
The design of the zero burst or fortified zone downstream of your HIPPS, which must be designed to allow for sufficient time for the HIPPS valves to close. The zero burst zone depends on a variety of parameters such as reservoir properties, downstream pressure rating, flow assurance design and field architecture.  Early involvement from your integrity team is crucial in ensuring quick access to reliable data and providing engineering support, especially when designing HIPPS for existing fields where there could be more limitations.

In summary, subsea HIPPS can facilitate newer wells at existing facilities to overcome technical challenges at a lower cost. Nonetheless, early involvement of your integrity team is vital in addressing the added complexity that comes with adding a HIPPS to your field and ensuring the long-term health of your asset.

Special thanks to Robert Hernandez, Sr. Technical Advisor at Granherne, whose presentation “Design and Use of Subsea High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems” at the Teledyne Oil & Gas Technology Focus Day was the motivation for this article. 


Subsea HIPPS Illustration

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Things to consider if your pipelines are spanning

Things to consider if your pipelines are spanning!

Here are a few things your should take into account if you find that your pipelines are spanning:

Pipelines and flowlines are typically designed to handle spans up to specified lengths. Checking your original design documents may show your spans are within design tolerances. No further action is required!

Driving factors for spanning integrity concerns are inspection data reliability, bottom current speeds or ultimate limit state stress. Be sure the right data is gathered and evaluated before declaring a span an integrity threat.

If pipeline spans are outside of the limits, an engineering assessment can be conducted to confirm whether the spans are integrity issues (DNV-RP-F105 and DNV-OS-F101)

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Are your strakes foul? 9 commonly asked questions.

Having spent the past 11 years or so working on integrity management projects as part of riser engineering experts 2H Offshore, we have encountered a lot of strakes and have seen it all. Here are the most common queries that we have received from clients over the years, along with some guidance on what to keep in mind.

1. The risers were designed for VIV, so why should I worry?

- ​​Most riser designs assume perfectly clean strakes with little to no marine growth.

- Marine growth has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of VIV strake suppression efficiency in high current regions.

- In recent months loop currents in excess of 4 knots have been observed in the GoM – on the order of a 100+ yr event. Can you remember what your design current speed was?

2. What about anti-foul strakes?

Unfortunately, the design premise that ‘anti-foul strakes will be used to mitigate VIV’ just does not hold up. In similar marine environments, ships have to regularly maintain and renew their anti-foul coating and, in our experience, significant marine growth even with anti-foul strakes does occur – albeit at a slower rate than strakes without anti-fouling.

3. Is marine growth a problem?

Maybe not. Some risers are less susceptible to VIV anyway and strakes were only added as additional insurance. The engineering design, specifically the predicted fatigue life, can be used as an indicator of whether VIV will be an issue when strakes lose efficiency due to marine growth.

4. Does the marine growth roughness help reduce VIV (like golf ball dimples)?

No, quite the opposite. Hard marine growth reduces a strakes ability to stop VIV as the depth of marine growth approaches the height of the strake fin. According to a study done by MARINTEK [OMAE2008-57587], strake efficiency reduced inversely to increased marine growth. The simulated hard marine growth took more height (>60%) compared to soft marine growth (>35%) to reduce the efficiency, but both have their limits.

Riser strakes

5. How much is too much marine growth?

If the actual growth is more than predicted in the original design calculations, then your design predictions are no longer valid and you should consider cleaning. Marine growth over 1/3 of the fin height is a good rule of thumb for deciding when to clean. When the fins can no longer be distinguished from the growth, they are past due for cleaning.

6. But isn’t VIV analysis conservative?

Maybe. Riser specialists 2H Offshore [OMAE2008-57046] and others have written papers on the topic which indicate that analysis predictions are conservative. However, VIV is not a linear phenomenon and system specific responses are based on the structural natural frequency and damping in a particular current profile.

7. What can I do?

First off, gather information regarding the extent of marine growth coverage during the next inspection, specifically the height of the growth compared to the height of the fin. Secondly, confirm if the design evaluated the effect of marine growth on VIV fatigue performance, or commission a short engineering study to do so. Finally, review the current data that is collected at the facility via the ADCPs. Evaluating current speed against the design predictions will at least give an indication of over or under conservative design. If after doing all the above, you’re still worried or the analysis suggests there will be a problem, then a strake cleaning program can be implemented, or a monitoring system can be retrofitted to determine if VIV is occurring.

8. How do I clean the strakes?

Cavitation blasters seem to do less damage to the strakes (or strake bands) than water jets but both have been used effectively. Try and plan the cleaning with your UWILD inspections as the tools will already be onsite.

9. But the risers have fairings; is this still an issue?

Fairings also suffer from degradation of VIV suppression due to marine growth [OTC 19373]. But fairings seem to perform better overall than strakes until the marine growth restricts the ‘weather vaning’ of the fairing. Fairings that are stuck perpendicular to the current flow increase the apparent diameter and may lead to galloping. Make sure the fairings are not only clean, but also free rotating during inspections.

In summary, keep an eye out for marine growth on your strakes, maintain and clean when necessary, and this should help secure the long-term integrity of your system.


John-MacDonaldJohn MacDonald is vice president at Clarus Subsea Integrity. He holds a BS in ocean engineering from Texas A&M University and is both a Chartered Engineer and a certified project management professional. He has accumulated 14 years of engineering experience in riser analysis, naval architecture, verification, acceptance testing and integrity management.

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Internal Corrosion Management Tips

When was the last time you updated your Corrosion Management Strategy Document?

Ideally, it should cover the following elements: data collection, data validation, retrieved components, scope, relevance and quality.

Take a look at our infographic below for some more guidance.

For advice on your existing corrosion management strategy, or for help preparing a new one contact us!

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Are you planning for subsea control system failure?

subsea control system failure infographic

A majority of time, effort, and money in asset management is spent on subsea control systems. Failures with SCMs are typically handled reactively, causing long downtimes or quick, expensive solutions.

We asked ourselves: "Can we take existing SCM data and variables and predict, with a certain level of accuracy, when a failure will happen?" Our goal was to give operations teams the ability to forecast failures, and plan properly and efficiently for them. 

As a result, Clarus has developed a robust set of subsea KPIs which help do just that. Our algorithms are configured to predict issues with DCVs, hydraulic fluid leakage and communication before they become downtime.

To learn about how our KPIs can help you take preventative steps with your subsea control system, contact us!

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Splashzone Corrosion - Do you have the complete picture?

Here is what to look out for to get a clearer picture of what’s going on in your splashzone:

  • Corrosion and damage around entire pipe (on close up visual inspection).
  • Water build up at transition of splashzone and standard pipe coating layers.
  • Blisters over time, which can form excessive wear and damage in localized areas.
  • Disbondment of the splashzone coating layer.


Click image to expand.

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Integrity Checklist for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season officially starts today! NOAA has predicted 3-6 hurricanes during the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Use our integrity checklist to make sure you’re prepared!

  • Prepare your post-hurricane inspection workscope
  • Be aware of existing anomalies and issues
  • Confirm that your back up monitoring system works
  • Communicate your response plan

Click image to enlarge.

For help preparing your hurricane plan, get in touch!

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Clarus Subsea Integrity, Inc.
15990 North Barkers Landing, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77079

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