Abstract

This paper details the preliminary design of a patent-pending arctic production island. The system utilizes modularized sections assembled together as a stable, ice-resistant production platform. Details are incorporated into the system to provide ice resistance and minimize the effects of wave action. The platform will be supported by a combination of buoyancy and steel piles embedded into the seafloor below. Batter piles are incorporated into the foundation to provide increased lateral ice load capacity. The piles are also outfitted with specialized, fabricated SPIN FIN® pile tips to increase the vertical capacity and resilience of the pile.

The island components can be constructed with the topsides facilities in a dry dock and shipped to the site for assembly to minimize in-field offshore construction. Offshore assembly would consist of connecting the barge modules to assemble the island platform and then installing the piles through the prefabricated pile ports in the hull of the barge modules to anchor the island. Larger structures would likely best be installed and attached to the island in the fabrication facility. Smaller structures could be installed in the fabrication facility or in the field after the island foundation has been installed.

Introduction

Advances in engineering are required in order to develop resources in the offshore arctic. The Arctic represents the new frontier, and methods to access and extract resources will play heavily in future endeavors. Various types of structures have been proposed and employed to access offshore petroleum reserves in arctic waters. Previous design and construction has included artificial islands, floating drillships, spray islands, caisson retained islands (CRIs), and gravity-based structures (GBSs). This paper presents the preliminary design of a new alternative: a modularized pile-supported production island. Modularized arctic production islands would provide a cost effective, yet durable means to develop hydrocarbon facilities in the offshore arctic. This patent-pending "Arctic Island" consists of barge modules connected together and anchored by steel piles. The barge components may be composed of steel, concrete, or a combination of both.

The Arctic Island offers advantages over previous designs utilized to extract offshore petroleum resources in the Arctic. For example, artificial islands and CRIs have required substantial construction and facility development on site. The modularized sections of the Arctic Island allow partial to full assembly of the topsides structures in a temperate, easily accessible fabrication facility. The Arctic Island also allows year-round resource development. Floating drillships have limited facilities and may be limited to operational timeframes. Spray islands are created by building an ice pad on landfast ice sheets; therefore, these islands are also temporary and only available in winter months.

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