Abstract

The hydrocarbon reservoirs offshore North East Greenland are found in one of the most challenging environments in the world. Rigs will have to cope with, amongst others, short to non-existent open water seasons and large amounts of multi-year ice transported directly down from the North Pole, causing year around multi-year ice presence in the area.

Several potential solutions for unlocking these reservoirs are being discussed, ranging from dedicated arctic rigs, to winterized and ice classed open water rigs.

The paper will present an evaluation of four different rig designs comprising a turret moored arctic drillship, two winterized and ice classed open water drill ships and a winterized and ice classed drilling semi-submersible. The evaluation will address both the requirements to drilling operations offshore North East Greenland as well as the resulting capabilities for each rig design. In addition off-season usage possibilities will be addressed as part of the evaluation.

The winterization and ice class requirements for the open water rig designs will be specified in a way which allows the rigs to operate offshore North East Greenland during the summer season. Capabilities of all designs will be determined on the basis of in house and publically available ice-load data. The consequential operability offshore North East Greenland will be determined on the basis of available ice data allowing for a comparison of the operational window lengths for the different units.

As it is unlikely that any of the designs will be able to operate year around offshore North East Greenland in an economically attractive way, off-season usage possibilities will be evaluated as well, considering relevant areas in or near the Atlantic basin.

The results of the offshore North East Greenland evaluation will be combined with the off-season usage possibilities in an overall comparison of the four rig designs.

As a final result the paper will present a rationalized comparison between several potential solutions to unlock the hydrocarbon reservoirs offshore North East Greenland. As a consequence the paper eliminates to a large extent the subjective part in the design selection process for this specific application. Thus providing a valuable overview that has been missing until now.

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