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Efficiency of Ice Management for Arctic Offshore Operations

[+] Author Affiliations
Badr El Bakkay, Edmond Coche, Kaj Riska

Total E&P, Paris La Défense, France

Paper No. OMAE2014-24038, pp. V010T07A041; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 10: Polar and Arctic Science and Technology
  • San Francisco, California, USA, June 8–13, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4556-1
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The exploration and production of polar oil and gas fields, which are technologically challenging due to extreme weather conditions, are also constrained by strong environmental issues. Safe and economical activities in such hostile and fragile regions require very insightful engineering. The presence of sea ice is representing a triple challenge: economical, technological and environmental. This makes the Arctic exploration and production activities complex.

Ice Management (IM) is one of the tools that could efficiently assist to develop Arctic reserves. However, for each project that uses IM operations, a preliminary study is required to evaluate the efficiency of these support operations and to estimate the possible extension in the season of operation of a field.

Efficiency of an IM philosophy can be estimated in a global view based on the extension in the operability window. In a more detailed view, it can be assessed taking into account the optimal number of icebreakers, the IM patterns, the available time for eventual disconnection, and the floe size reduction (leading to ice load reduction). For this study, we will focus on the ice floe size and loads reduction.

The most common approach for physical management of sea ice is the one where icebreakers reduce floe size of the drifting ice upstream the floating platform (ref. Moran et al. [1], Coche et al. [2]). This paper describes this philosophy and demonstrates based on real-time simulation that its benefit is limited to mild ice scenarios such as unidirectional ice drift. A more efficient way to manage sea ice is (1) to identify the most hazardous events (e.g. big ridges); (2) prioritize these events; and (3) deal with them starting by the most hazardous one.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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