Imperial drilled their first well in the Mackenzie Delta area in 1968 and since that time an additional 50 wells have been drilled at a cost in excess of $100,000,000. Fifty-five percent of the total cost is related to the support side of the drilling operations, or Logistics.

Over the past three years Imperial's Logistics group have procured and arranged transportation for over 110,000 tons of supplies into the Mackenzie Delta area, and provided all the necessary roadways and lease facilities for the drilling program. A peak staff of 450 Imperial and contract personnel is required to handle the operation, together with a fleet of 250 units of transportation and construction equipment.

The remote location of the McKenzie Delta area, environmental considerations, and the Arctic climate all combine to impose severe restrictions on the general operation of the exploration program. New technology is being developed in the fields of transportation, materials handling, inventory control. drilling and lease preparation, environmental protection, cost control and long range planning.

The McKenzie Delta activity has now expanded to offshore locations. Two islands have already been built and more are planned. New techniques are being developed for island construction and transportation and supply. As the drilling locations move into deeper water, many new challenges are posed for the Logistics staff.


Imperial drilled its first well in the McKenzie Delta in 1968. Since that time, fifty wells have been drilled at a cost in excess of one hundred million dollars (Figure 1). During this time the well costs have escalated from one to nine million dollars as the wells are drilled deeper, and move offshore into the Beaufort Sea. More than 50% of the cost is related to the support side of the drilling operation, or Logistics.


Logistics can be defined as "The Procurement, Maintenance and Transportation of Materials, Facilities and Personnel". Before reviewing the details of our Logistics, a look at the working conditions and manpower requirements will be helpful in understanding the restraints under which we operate.

Working Conditions And Manpower

Since there is very little daylight in December and January, construction activity is impeded (Figure Z). Also, helicopter flights are severely restricted as they can fly only in daylight hours. However, the prolonged daylight in the summer allows unrestricted operation around the clock and this is especially helpful in the busy barging season. The daily average temperature is −30 ºF in the winter months, however temperatures as low as −55 ºF for a period of a few days are not uncommon as well as wind velocities up to 70 m.p.h. While the severe cold is hard on men and equipment, it is essential or adequate ice for winter transportation. Most of the transportation is on frozen rivers, lakes, and the Beaufort Sea. The winter program starts in mid-November when heavy trucking is permissible over the snow covered frozen tundra. Drilling rigs and supplies are transported overland from staging areas which have been stocked during the barging season.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.