There are large oil and gas resources in the shear zone region of theBeaufort Sea. Development of these resources would entail many factorsfor consideration. One of the most important is the ice load on drillingand production platforms. However, there is very large uncertainty on theice loads in this region due to a clear lack of knowledge of the pack icedriving forces. This pack ice driving force is one of the primarymechanisms that dictate how much force the ice can exert on an offshoreplatform, even if large multi-year ice floes are present. Improvedknowledge of this force would significantly reduce uncertainty in the designice loads, provide essential baseline engineering knowledge and a more reliablestructure, leading to greater regulatory certainty and safer and moreeconomical offshore operations.

The pack ice driving force, as a function of width, can be calculatedthrough an equation in the ISO Arctic Offshore Structures Standard. However, a relevant parameter is still poorly defined for this equationand spans a large range. As a result, calculations of driving forces arevery uncertain, yet it is the key limiting force mechanism for the BeaufortSea. This paper presents the results of a study that investigated meansof refining uncertainty when calculating pack ice driving forces. Anoverview of the standard method of determining these forces is given, as wellas a discussion of the historical development of, and implications ofuncertainty in, calculating the pack ice force. Methods for refining theuncertainty are presented and comparisons are discussed. Numericalmodelling studies offer the greatest potential for refining the uncertaintybased on cost, usefulness, confidence in the results and studyopportunities. The information provided in this paper has applicationsfor refinement of pack ice driving force calculations in current engineeringstandards. A clear understanding of the magnitude of pack ice drivingforces would help to reduce the risk of failure of engineering structures andimprove their safety, by enabling a significantly better definition of theanticipated ice loads and the upper limit of the loads for the BeaufortSea.

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