Altair and Cray Collaborate to Improve Component Engineering for the Oil and Gas Industry

“[The] Riser is therefore considered as a vital element for offshore oil platforms, as a failure in the riser will result in stoppage of oil production and can also lead to pollution and spillage. Eventually, risers which are normally slender, experience major fatigue damage like cracks along the pipes, under cyclic load when in deepwater due to the fact that they are prone to vibration under shifting winds, waves and water currents.  Consequently, the impact of a riser failure involves a high risk of human injury leading to death, a considerable amount of pollution in the environment as well as very high economic and political consequences.”  –Bibi W. Kaudur, Sciences360

Subsea riser systems are pipes that safely transport hydrocarbon products from subsea wells and equipment up to fixed and floating structures operating on the ocean surface. The riser systems continue to increase in complexity as the oil and gas industry enhance drilling techniques and improve subsea equipment performances. The reliability and fatigue life of the riser system depends heavily on subsea currents and the risers’ response to them.


Although oil and gas companies have been successfully conducting small-scale analyses of risers, large-scale simulations are more challenging to many computational facilities. Fortunately, simulation software developers like Altair and high-performance computing (HPC) hardware providers like Cray continued to advance their technology for scalable and realistic simulations; and scalable HPC architecture from Intel® increases the performance and reliability of these solutions. As a result, Altair, Cray and Intel have come together and developed a solution for improved oil and gas component engineering.

Altair’s HyperWorks® suite includes all the software applications required for full-scale riser simulations, with a leading general purpose computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver, AcuSolve®; structural design and optimization solver OptiStruct®; pre- and post-processors HyperMesh®, AcuConsole® and AcuFieldView; and HPC workload management tool PBS Works™. This software operates in collaboration with the Cray XC30 supercomputer, a node-interconnect architecture design for maximum scalability and performance.

small riser model

Altair and Cray benchmarked the solution recently on Cray XC30 systems running powerful Intel® Xeon® E5-2600-v2 “IvyBridge” processors. Read about the project in our published benchmark paper. Cray, Altair and Intel are also hosting a webinar on this subject in October – stay tuned for details!


The benefits include a faster solver-neutral computer aided engineering (CAE) environment for high fidelity modeling, a powerful CFD solver, rapid structural design and optimization development, maximum performance, and reliable HPC management. In addition, simulation results are ready in less than 5.5 hours compared to a day with other providers. Moreover, users are able to reach expert support from the leaders in HPC and CAE. With the Cray-Altair-Intel solution, engineers now have the ability to successfully conduct simulations on subsea riser systems while still maintaining their development schedule.

Click here to register for the live webinar on this project.

Rick Watkins
Rick Watkins

About Rick Watkins

Rick Watkins is the Altair Business Development Manager for the energy industry. He received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from University of Texas at Austin. His professional interests include Enterprise Solutions with data analytics, numerical optimization and high-performance computing. He has spent the last 8 years working with customers to implement innovative design processes and leverage high-performance computing in their engineering environments. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, two kids and two dogs.