Building an oil or gas project in the Russian Arctic is one of the most challenging projects to complete successfully. The project team must overcome extreme conditions in a region which is environmentally sensitive, ecologically fragile, extremely remote, and with little or no infrastructure. Frequently tasks must be scheduled to be completed in narrow weather windows. Even after the facility is built, the operational phase poses at least as many challenges in keeping the facility running safely and efficiently at design capacity in very cold temperatures and far away from technical support and spare parts.

Getting men and materials to site and exporting the crude oil or gas is a particular challenge due to the remote location and extreme distances. Road and rail transport is near non-existent. Ice roads can be used during the winter, but sea transport is frequently only possible during the summer months.

Special design and construction techniques must be used to ensure that the facility can operate at extremely low ambient temperatures.

This paper provides:

  • A brief discussion on different concepts for field development and highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts.

  • A review of some of the projects that have been executed in the Arctic and other extreme environments, both onshore and offshore, and describes some of the challenges they faced and how these were overcome.

The paper will be of interest to anyone new to or with limited experience of executing projects in the Russian Arctic region, either onshore or offshore.

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