Arctic Project Challenges

Arctic Project ChallengesHalliburton has been completing successful operations in the Arctic for over 50 years, in spite of a number of conditions that are unequaled in other regions of the world.

When considering any project in the Arctic or sub-Arctic, one must first be prepared to deal with the remote location. Supply chain networks become an immediate factor. They are simply not as extensive as in traditional operating areas.  The local area network that exists will, in most cases, have to rely on an international network for its supply. As a result the base cost for project execution is relatively high due to cost of procurement and the expense of getting equipment, materials and people to the location. Certainly reaction time of the supply chain will be longer. Such conditions may mean moving all needed equipment and materials to the location at the beginning of the project, particularly when dealing with locations restricted to seasonal operations.

The cost of unplanned events is very high because appropriate support may be a considerable number of days or even weeks away from the project site and therefore cost quite a bit to mobilize. Waits will always be longer than those in more traditional areas. Given the uncertainties of Arctic weather, circumstances may delay the arrival of necessary material in a timely fashion. If the weather is too severe, it may prevent materials from arriving at all. The end result could be the need to move the entire operation from one year to the next because of the limited duration of the working season.

A list of the most often mentioned challenges that the industry may face in exploration of the Arctic are given below:

Social and Cultural
  • Engagement
  • Education
  • Gaining Trust
  • Wildlife and Fisheries protection
  • Pollution prevention
  • Noise abatement
  • Spill prevention
  • Leak detection capabilities – over and under ice
  • Equipment and materials rated to Arctic cold temperatures
  • Drilling rigs and vessels capable of withstanding the ice loads
  • Iceberg movement monitoring
  • Icebreaker assistance
  • Seasonal operations – limited work time so things need to be done right the first time
  • Quick and safe disconnect ability in case of emergency
Harsh Environment
  • Polar lows and wind chill
  • Harsh wind and wave conditions
  • Hard and heavy ice formations
  • Ice fog and icing
  • Uncertain weather forecasts
  • Seasonal operations
  • Darkness
  • Low temperatures
  • High winds
  • Remoteness
  • Self-sufficient evacuation and rescue operations
  • Winterization for health, safety and operability
  • Polar conditions rated PPE
  • Closed loop working environments on rigs – explosion hazards need to be considered for closed environments and risks mitigated
  • Length of supply line
  • Response time
  • Absence of facilities and support infrastructure
  • Transportation of people, equipment and materials
  • Increased manning levels required for working in severe conditions
  • Seasonal operations
  • Construction of arctic facilities

Exploration for oil and gas in the Arctic is more technically, physically, socially, and environmentally challenging than any other environment. Nevertheless, the Arctic’s rich oil and gas resources will be developed. This development can and will be based on the use of technologies and methodologies that reduce environmental and social impact. Companies that approach the Arctic with creative, long term thinking, plus the ability to work with local communities, industry partners, stakeholder organizations, and academia, will generate the most effective solution for developing Arctic resources safely and responsibly.

5 thoughts on “Arctic Project Challenges

  1. AvatarPhillip

    I have done sure work in the Mckenzie Delta (NWT). I had introduced Casing drilling to speed up the surface hole which has melting issues with the permafrost. You can see the job in License to drill.

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