This paper builds on the experience of managing and supervising marine seismic, sites and geotechnical surveys in Arctic regions over several years. Projects are reviewed for the purpose of highlighting technical issues peculiar to operating in extreme latitudes. Data examples are taken from operations offshore Greenland and in the Russian Arctic carried out since 2008.

Technical aspects discussed include: issues with project planning/ ice monitoring; geodesy; the limitations of satellite navigation systems in high latitudes; variation in sound propagation velocity; seismic streamer compass performance and magnetic dip/ field strength issues. The relative impact of these issues in different high latitude operating environments is compared and contrasted via experiences from Greenland and from the Russian Arctic, using data acquired during 2010 to 2012.

It is concluded that although Arctic operations may appear superficially similar independent of location, several technical aspects of the work, such as seismic streamer positioning, have a significant longitude component as well as a latitude component which must be taken into consideration when planning and executing operations. Mitigation proposals for future operations are suggested where feasible.

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