The oil and gas industry is increasingly focusing its interests andactivities on areas that are prone to ice cover, in the form of sea ice andicebergs. The authors have noticed two significant trends with respect to theice charting to support operations in oil and gas operations:

  • At present, companies who require ice information are developing their owninternal practices based on different experiences.

  • No industry-wide standards exist for ice charting in this sector.

As a consequence, the authors have embarked on a project to address thisdeficiency by identifying minimum standards and best practices for theprovision of ice information derived from satellites for companies operating inthe polar and sub-polar regions. The development of a guideline governing icecharts is the primary focus of this project. The project has identifiedrequirements through the oil and gas project lifecycle, has matched these todifferent regions and has categorised satellite-derived ice information byservices and products. The project has reviewed current practices and willestablish a guideline with input and validation from the industry, taking intoaccount current constraints and future opportunities. Ice charting guidelineswill provide clear options to industry. Companies will be able to buildprocesses and systems around guidelines and can be assured that compliantservice providers will be compatible with their systems. Guidelines will alsoincrease access of the market to service providers, leading to increasedcompetition and lower costs. Ultimately, the knowledge of ice chartingcapabilities will be well documented so that they are not lost with staffattrition. This paper presents an overview of the ice charting guidelinesproject and its objectives, schedule, status and deliverables. This project isbeing coordinated through the Oil and Gas Earth Observation Group (OGEO) of theInternational Association of Oil and Gas producers (OGP) with initial seedfunding from the European Space Agency and Shell E&P International.

Index Terms—ice charting, ice information, sea ice, icebergs, guideline


The oil and gas industry are increasingly focusing their interests andactivities on areas that are prone to ice cover, in the form of sea ice andicebergs. At present, the approach being taken by companies who require iceinformation is to develop their own internal practices based on differentexperiences. No industry-wide standards exist. In this project, we aim toaddress this deficiency, by identifing minimum standards and best practices forthe provision of ice information derived from satellites for companiesoperating in the polar and sub-polar regions

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