Drilling Risers: Protecting your Investment by Asking the Right Questions
They are the most expensive equipment on your rig – requiring proper inspection, maintenance and storage to ensure their functionality and lifespan. However, if you’re using a drilling riser storage company that is in an exposed location, uses improper handling and storage practices or who charges you for their convenience, you aren’t getting the level of service and protection you should be. Knowing what to consider when selecting a riser maintenance and storage provider will help protect your investment.
1. Where are you located?
Coastal access is often the primary consideration when choosing a riser storage facility. The convenience of shorefront storage is obvious, but it carries greater risk than areas further inland.
- Natural disasters like hurricanes or extreme weather can produce flooding and place your most precious assets in harm’s way.
- The corrosive effect of the salty air can damage your drilling risers and weaken their components.
When these additional concerns are accounted for, storing risers “on the beach” carries greater risk than storing them further inland.
While initial costs to transport risers further inland may be higher, there are offsetting values to consider over the long-term:
- Land is more affordable and available as you move inland, reducing overall storage costs.
- As long as the facility has waterfront access, the option exists for risers to be transported by barge, often avoiding the higher cost of truck transport.
- Hurricane exposure and storm risks are lower in more protected inland areas.
- The air is less salty and therefore less corrosive further inland.
A good recommendation is to look for a riser facility at least 20 miles from the coast to ensure ease of transportation and accessibility while also reducing environmental risks.
2. How are risers organized in storage? Will mine be kept separate from others?
Once your risers are in the care of a storage facility, do you know where and how they are kept?
Storing risers properly often takes additional time and resources. But when it comes to your investments, why would you settle for less?
Some riser facilities store risers at their own convenience – in the place and manner that is easiest for them. This can result in multiple customers’ risers being stacked together or stored in multiple locations throughout the yard. What’s more, they often charge you for the time and expense of moving your risers within their yard. These companies are passing on the cost of their inefficiency and poor organization to you, the customer.
Instead, look for a facility that will take care of your risers the way you would – carefully and methodically.
- Ask if your risers will be segregated and stored separately from other customers’ risers.
- Ask about hidden or unexpected fees, such as costs associated with relocating your riser on site.
By choosing a riser facility that puts the customer’s convenience first, you can feel confident that your risers are in good hands.
3. How do your testing, maintenance and repair programs compare?
Deepwater riser repair companies should be able to perform the full range of tests, inspections and preventive maintenance to ensure your equipment’s longevity. Ask what intervals are available, and whether they include full teardown, blasting, painting and reassembly.
- How do they handle traceability?
- Can they conduct offshore inspections?
- What technology do you employ to preserve the risers?
Don’t settle for a riser storage and maintenance company that provides only some of what will be needed. Look for one that offers the most robust monitoring, maintenance and repair process possible.
- Look for a facility that has earned ISO 9001:2008 and API Q1 registrations for their quality management system (QMS). These certifications demonstrate that the facility’s QMS meets the relevant industry standards and can be trusted by customers.
- What level of Quality Control and NDT inspectors do they employ? (Level II and III Inspectors eliminate the need for third-party inspection after installation and trained Quality Control/Quality Assurance personnel give confidence that the proper checks and balances are in place and adhered to before delivery.)
- Consider the company’s safety record.
- Is the facility OEM-certified or an approved repair and maintenance vendor for your brand of riser? Are they certified to perform OEM repairs on your riser? By choosing a facility that has been qualified to meet OEM requirements, you can be confident that the work done on your riser will meet or exceed industry standards, now and in the future.
4. Can I inspect my risers and make sure they are being handled properly?
Assurances of company representatives are good to have, but how do you know your risers are being properly handled? Does the facility allow you, the customer, to visit and inspect the status of your risers? Surprisingly, many do not. Look for a yard that is clean, well-organized and transparent in their services. If they are taking proper care of your risers, they will be happy to have you visit and see for yourself.
Want to know more?
Chet Morrison Contractors offers deepwater riser services from our Houma, La.-based facility. Thanks to our waterfront access, we can handle loading and offloading of rig equipment by barge or vessel. More importantly, with only a 12 hour tow and 1.5 hour drive from Port Fourchon, our convenient inland location offers a safe harbor for risers, minimizing the risks associated with storm impacts as well as additional environmental advantages. Unlike other companies, we designate storage areas for segregation by asset, keeping each customer’s assets properly organized, thus eliminating unnecessary riser relocation.
Our deepwater riser team is led by John Deblieux who has assembled a veteran crew focused on customer service and continual improvement practices. He and his team provide comprehensive services throughout the lifecycle of the drilling riser. Whether it’s inspection, transportation, maintenance, repair or storage that is needed, Chet Morrison Contractors delivers expertise, experience and customer satisfaction every time.