Structures for the production of oil and gas placed in relatively shallow offshore waters are generally fixed structures which are piled to the seafloor. With increasing water depths these structures tend to become more sensitive to dynamic response and fatigue. When entering water depths exceeding approximately 300 meters these conventional fixed platforms are generally not capable to cope with the offshore environment and being replaced by floating platforms. As under certain functional design considerations bottom founded platforms may be preferred over floating platforms the industry developed the so called ‘compliant tower’: a bottom founded platform capable of carrying topside loads up to 30,000 t in water depths ranging from 300 meters to approximately 500 meters. This paper describes the basics of conventional bottom founded fixed platform design followed by the fascinating design and installation aspects of compliant towers and will conclude with the challenging statement that, contrary to the belief of many in the industry, under certain conditions conventional fixed bottom founded platforms may be feasible in water depths up 400m.
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