The Arctic region holds vast amounts of extractive energy resources. Most of the arctic resources lie offshore beneath thick ice and deep water in environmentally very sensitive areas. Weather and distance from existing infrastructure and centers of population add additional operational and logistic challenges.

Oil and gas operations in the high north are likely to entail the remote and distributed control of assets – leading to heavy demands on the communication links and information flow. Connecting and integrating business processes and information sources across disciplines, geographical locations and organizational boundaries add to the complexity. Further, operations in the high north require particular sensitivity to environmental aspects.

In order to meet all the requirements and at the same time maintain profitable operations, the industry has to create new field development and operation concepts that include heavily instrumented facilities. There must also be put a significant focus on the transfer of real time data between fields and operation centers located elsewhere, and on automated key work processes to handle the large volumes of data. A prerequisite for this development is a robust digital infrastructure and a platform for effective and efficient information exchange. This is what the Norwegian Oil Industry Association has called Integrated Operations Generation 2. Central to this vision is a much higher degree of functionalities being distributed geographically and organizationally based upon a digital platform that is distributed to a higher extent than what is common today. The platform defines interfaces and employs data transfer and distributed intelligence based on open standards, allowing for a much higher degree of interoperability across applications, disciplines, geographic locations and organizations than is common today.

The main aim for the "Integrated Operations in the High North" project is to build and demonstrate a digital platform for Integrated Operations Generation 2. The project is a unique collaboration between the ICT, defense and oil and gas industries, as well as university research groups. During a four year period starting May 2008, the 26 participants in the project are working together to develop a demonstrated platform for Integrated Operations Generation 2. Pilots defined for drilling, production and operations and maintenance, are used as a basis to generate the requirements early in the project, and at later stages in the project to demonstrate the value of the platform.

The project is also relevant for gaining experience with where and how cutting edge ICT technologies, like semantic and agent technologies that target the "Internet of things", may generate value within the oil & gas industry.

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