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Patent: A Better Offshore Drilling Platform
Patent: A Better Offshore Drilling Platform | hou_txbz, oil, Michael E. Beard, Spring, David J. Cole, Katy, Christoper S. Caldwell, The Woodlands, Michael B. Foley, Humble, patent, 8100437, Marine riser assembly,

Michael E. Beard of Spring, David J. Cole of Katy, Christoper S. Caldwell of The Woodlands and Michael B. Foley of Humble received U.S. Patent 8,100,437 for “Marine Riser Assembly.”

Texas Business Patent Of The Day:  Four Texans have devised an improved ocean drilling platform.

Michael E. Beard of Spring, David J. Cole of Katy, Christoper S. Caldwell of The Woodlands and Michael B. Foley of Humble received U.S. Patent 8,100,437 for “Marine Riser Assembly.”

Drilling, production and completion of offshore wells from a floating platform such as a vessel or tension leg platform is typically conducted through a riser assembly which extends from the platform to the wellhead on the sea floor, according to the patent document.

The riser assembly typically comprises a series of pipe sections connected end to end. The prior art abounds with numerous methods to connect the individual pipe sections making up the marine riser assembly and includes threaded connections and weld-on connectors.

 While the platform from which the wellbore activities are being conducted is maintained as nearly as possible in the fixed position above the wellhead, there is always some variation in this relationship, such that there is relative lateral and vertical shifting between the two.

Accordingly, the riser assembly must accommodate this relative movement between the platform and the wellhead as well as forces acting on the riser assembly from waves, currents and the like.

Since the riser assembly is made up of various individual pipe sections, the connections between the pipe sections are required to withstand whatever flexing and moving forces occur in the riser assembly and still maintain sealing integrity. 

In one preferred aspect, the present invention provides a riser assembly comprising a first tubular member having a first end face and an external surface with a first set of formations thereon. There is a second tubular member having a second end face and an external surface with a second set of formations thereon.

A segmented ring is in surrounding relationship to the first and second tubular members, the segmented ring having an inner surface with a third set of formations engageable with the first set of formations and a fourth set of formations engageable with the second set of formations.

The first and second set of formations have engageable surfaces to urge the first end face towards the second end face when the segmented ring is under radially inwardly directed compressive force.

The second and fourth set of formations have engageable surfaces to urge the second end face toward the first end face when the segmented ring is under radially inwardly directed compressive force. An annular sleeve is in surrounding relationship to the segmented ring. The segmented ring and said annular sleeve have inner and outer surfaces, respectively, the engagement of the inner and outer surfaces exerting the compressive force. There is also a seal assembly that seals against external and internal pressure.