The Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is employed to structure and prioritize the criteria (issues) that most strongly affect pipeline routing decisions for Arctic and sub-Arctic offshore projects. An AHP model is created incorporating these criteria and the pair-wise comparisons technique is used to establish weighting of the criteria. The collaborative pair-wise comparison approach allows all team members to explore and sound out each other's perspectives on the importance of each of the routing assessment criteria in a disciplined way that builds consensus around the model adopted for the cases under investigation.

This AHP model can then be tagged to a geomatics database automatically linking expertise in the pipelining disciplines with advanced geomatics capabilities for assessing export pipeline routing schemes to directly account for key considerations like flow assurance, geohazards, on bottom stability, bottom roughness, bathymetry, seabed morphology, sediment types, existing infrastructure, economics, public use regions, and environmentally sensitive areas. The paper describes how this linkage allows an automated scoring procedure that is then tested for robustness by sensitivity checks and demonstrates the methods via case studies.

When this method is applied to offshore Arctic pipelines, information can be incorporated that reflects the engineering, environmental, social, administrative, and infrastructure input that must be considered in routing/design. The model is then applied to challenging pipeline planning cases with sensitivities investigated in a way that confirms the robustness of the routing recommendations.

The paper clarifies how the issues and key technical information can be efficiently captured and applied within Arctic or sub-Arctic full field development planning studies that reflect real-world information (geomatics). The ability to easily accommodate changes in the engineering/technical basis and/or corporate priorities is highlighted, as well as the consensusbuilding strengths of this advanced methodology.

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