Abstract

The primary goal of this paper is to present the historical significance of the The Drake F 76 program. After about 10 years of drilling onshore and offshore in the Arctic Islands region of the Canadian North, Panarctic Oils Ltd decided that it was time to prove one way or another if completing wells subsea and carrying out subsea tie-ins of flowlines and control systems was feasible This paper describes some of the thinking that went into developing the first under-the ice offshore pipeline as well as the first under the ice subsea connection system, well completion with trees/manifolds on the seafloor, some of the many specialized equipment developed for the project, summarises the construction of the flowline and control bundle system, and discusses the well testing program.

The primary significance of this paper is its historical value. It shows that what was done in the past is useful today as some of the ideas implemented then (industry firsts) have been developed further and are in use offshore today. The overall test program, of which the Drake F 76 well, the floating ice platform, the subsea tree, and the subsea diverless connections of flowlines and controls, and the subsequent production test were a part, proved that offshore production of gas in the Arctic region was feasible. By extension, oil could also be produced.

Introduction

This project, because of its uniqueness, has been the subject of at least 29 papers; one as recently as April 2010. Because the project resulted in a drilled, completed, and produced well under the ice, north of the Arctic Circle, and because some of the " firsts?? tried on that project have grown in importance since 1978, it is worth some discussion here at the first Arctic Technology Conference.

The Drake 76 well is located in 55m water approximately 1200 m offshore Drake Point on the Sabine Peninsula of Melville Island in the Canadian Arctic. Drilling in the Canadian Arctic began onshore in 1920. Forty one years later, drilling in the Arctic Islands began (1961).

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