Experts from the oil and gas industry are sure that the " easy oil" is nearlygone. Due to that the oil and gas industry has to face more and morechallenging deposits like those in ultra-deep waters or in the Arctic. To copewith these challenges, thinking out of the box will be required in some cases. To find the most effective solution, to shorten development time and to avoidunnecessary failures technology transfer from other industries can be ashortcut to unlock the Arctic reserves in a safe and economic way.
A potential technology provider can be the military submarine industry. Thispaper postulates submarines and their technology portfolio as a potentialsource of solutions for some of the future oil and gas challenges in the Arcticenvironment. Todays' non-nuclear submarines operate in a cost efficient waywith minimum risks to the crew, the operator and the environment.
To prove this, after a short introduction into the submarines historyshowing their development and today's capabilities, the not obvious parallelsbetween the vessels and systems from oil and gas industry and the conventionalmilitary submarines will be carved out by comparing their basic designrequirements. A selection of technologies developed for conventional militarysubmarines will be introduced and the potential usage of these technologies tofulfill the oil and gas needs, occurring especially but not only in the Arcticenvironment, will be presented afterwards. Finally submarine concepts will beintroduced providing the ability to perform operations for the oil and gasindustry weather independent and beneath the ice in the Arctic Ocean.
Harsh weather conditions, ice in a variety of forms: permanent darkness, remoteness, often reduced range of sight, a very sensitive and fragileecological environment; these are some of the aspects of the Arctic challenge. They will enforce modifications and in some cases a change of technologies awayfrom those usually applied within the oil and gas industry elsewhere. Especially the ecologically sensitive and fragile Arctic environment with itsharsh and misanthropic conditions requires safe and reliable technologies as akey to safe and economic operations.
The level of safety and reliability achieved by today's submarines issuitable to comply with the oil and gas standards. The technology itself hasthe potential to solve some of the problems the oil and gas industry has todeal with when it comes to the Arctic challenge, making operations safer, morereliable or even just possible.
From the beginning - 400 years ago - submarine technologies have beenimproved with focus on safety, reliability and performance but also with theaim to operate in a clandestine manner within the environment - a question ofsurvival for the submariners. Air independent power generation, for instance, is one of these technologies. On board of conventional, non-nuclear, submarinesthis technology is used to operate the submarine submerged over long distances. This technology could be used to enable remote subsea operations, during an icecovered period, without power supply from land or a ship.