Oil and gas exploration in the Arctic is technically, physically, socially, and environmentally more challenging than in any other environment in the world due to its extreme cold, considerable darkness, mobility limitations, and remoteness, all of which increase operating costs. However, because this region contains approximately 24% of the world's hydrocarbon reserves, the industry will expend whatever effort is needed to overcome the challenges. Since methodologies that reduce environmental and social impacts will also be required, companies must develop strategies that will employ creative, long-term thinking; the disciplines to work with local communities, industry partners, and stakeholders; and the ability to generate safe technical solutions to enable hydrocarbon development.

To protect the personnel and environment will also require stringent adherence to regulatory standards. Therefore, a significant part of planning for this region also must be dedicated to dealing with these issues.

The difficulties specific to this environment and their mitigation, the merits and limitations of various solutions, and the basic considerations for equipment philosophy will be discussed in this paper. Lessons learned from actual cases will highlight the importance of adequate preparation.

Efficient operation in hostile and environmentally sensitive regions is only possible with the proper application of appropriate technologies. This paper explains why particular methods and equipment should be used and why others are less desirable. It lists the lessons learned by one service-company that has operated in arctic conditions for over 50 years. Those lessons involve:

  1. Logistics

  2. Health and Safety

  3. Protection of the environment

  4. Sustainability

  5. Human factors.

The extreme environmental conditions make the discovery and exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves considerably more difficult, and the purpose of this paper is to identify proven solutions to help ensure that operations are safe and efficient. Case histories of the successes achieved and how they were facilitated will be discussed.

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