Design of tension leg platforms: A knowledge based approach
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Tension leg platforms (TLPs) are floating compliant platforms designed for deep water offshore hydrocarbon production. Only a few TLPs have actually been built, but others are currently being designed and constructed. Important field experience about their response behavior due to the environmental loading is not generally available, although many technical articles on analysis methods have been published. The knowledge based computer approach can compensate for missing design information through either the introduction of best estimates, simplified mathematical models, empirical models or the use of existing computer models. The preliminary design model developed in this study focuses on general aspects of the TLP platform configuration and its tethers. A constrained optimization model developed by Nordgren (1987) is incorporated into the knowledge based computer model. TLP response behavior, tether characteristics, and the requirement of minimum cost are combined in a strategy to identify the optimum TLP configuration for a given offshore site. The computer model is interactive and the results at any point can be viewed in a detailed spreadsheet and there is an option to plot an engineering drawing of the corresponding TLP. The example presented illustrates the promise of this approach for use in the design process.