It has been discussed that about a quarter of the world untapped oil and gas reserves are located in the Arctic. Development of such prospects has faced challenges, both operational and design-related. Operational challenges include geographic location and associated working conditions, such as remoteness, prolonged darkness, communications and equipment reliability; climate conditions, such as low temperatures and ice coverage; unique characteristics of arctic development, such as high reliability requirements and extremely long tie-backs; and environmental conditions and regulations due to the extremely sensitive Arctic ecosystem. The design related challenges include design conditions, loadings and material issues that are unique to the area and environment and that arise from unique arctic operational and environmental conditions.
Due to those challenges, the design of pipelines in the Arctic area requires the consideration of design conditions that do not apply elsewhere, such as ice gouging, frost heave and permafrost. Advanced numerical analysis is apt to play an important role in addressing these challenges and to bridge the technology gaps that still exist in order to enable optimized developments to proceed.
This paper opens with a review of the main arctic challenges for pipeline design followed by the benefits of using advanced numerical techniques to address problems relevant to the design of pipeline in the arctic environment.