Extending the Life of Subsea Fields: The Potential of Flexible Riser Reutilisation 

In the ever-evolving landscape of the oil and gas industry, the quest for efficiency and cost reduction remains a constant pursuit. A pivotal focus within this sector is extending the design life of flexible risers, integral components of subsea infrastructure crucial for offshore exploration and production. While traditionally seen as single-use assets with a finite lifespan, industry experts are recognising the untapped potential for reutilising flexible risers. This not only aids in extending the life of aging assets but also opens up opportunities for optimising exploration in new and diverse oil and gas exploration areas.


A Comprehensive Approach 

To unlock the full potential of reutilising flexible risers, a comprehensive and integrated approach is imperative. This approach involves considering various factors that influence reutilisation, spanning from the initial design phase to assessing operational history and implementing stringent quality control measures. 


Design Considerations: Key to Reutilisation 

A crucial aspect of facilitating the reutilisation of flexible risers lies in design considerations. Incorporating intermediate connections during the initial design phase proves essential, providing the flexibility needed for safer and more convenient reuse, especially in scenarios where the original riser does not perfectly align with new requirements. This forward-thinking design approach sets the stage for adapting flexible risers to diverse operational needs. 


Cost-Effective Alternatives and Sustainability 

Field developments can explore the use of retired flexible risers as a cost-effective alternative for early production systems. This approach not only minimises capital expenditure but also reduces lead times associated with manufacturing new risers, thereby enhancing project efficiency. Additionally, integrating retired flexibles into a spares philosophy supports the life extension of aging flexible assets, promoting a more cost-efficient and sustainable approach to subsea operations. 


Feasibility Assessment and Quality Control 

The feasibility of reutilising flexible risers is contingent upon a thorough examination of the asset’s condition and operational history. Scrutinising past applications, maintenance records, and any previous modifications provides crucial insights into the riser’s integrity and structural soundness, informing decisions on adaptability to new requirements. Rigorous testing and inspection processes are paramount, ensuring that the riser meets necessary standards and safety requirements before reutilisation can proceed, thereby mitigating the risk of operational failures. 


Operator and Exploration Area Variability 

The practicalities and advantages of reutilisation can vary based on the operator and specific exploration area. Varied regulatory requirements and operators’ willingness to explore reutilisation opportunities underscore the importance of a flexible and adaptable approach tailored to the unique circumstances of each project. A customised strategy is essential for navigating the diverse challenges presented by different regions and operators. 


Cost and Time Savings for a Sustainable Future 

Embracing the reutilisation of flexible risers positions the oil and gas industry to achieve significant cost and time savings. By repurposing existing assets, the need for new riser manufacturing is eliminated, streamlining procurement, fabrication, and installation processes. This not only enhances cost efficiency but also contributes to the overall sustainability of offshore operations, aligning with the industry’s commitment to achieving environmentally and economically viable subsea operations. 



While extending the design life of flexible risers remains a primary industry focus, the untapped potential of reutilisation offers an innovative and sustainable approach to subsea field development. By integrating design considerations, assessing operational history, and implementing rigorous quality control measures, operators can unlock the possibilities of flexible riser reutilisation. This not only optimises operational efficiency but also contributes to significant cost savings, reinforcing the industry’s dedication to achieving sustainable and economically viable subsea operations.