The efficiency of developing new oil and gas resources on the Arctic shelf is substantially dependent on how perfect the drilling techniques and technologies are. The paper presents the results of the research and development carried out over the last few years by a consortium of marine and geophysical instrument engineering companies led by Concern CSRI Elektropribor (St. Petersburg, Russia). The discussion is focused on the original engineering approaches to designs, algorithms, and methods applied to solve the main problems encountered in offshore drilling of oil and gas wells and, in particular, at high latitudes.

Oil and gas deposits in the Arctic shelf are one of the major world energy resources, the exploration of which is among the main strategic objectives of Russia. One of the most critical problems to be solved within the Arctic project is creation of equipment for hole-making position control and monitoring of earlier drilled oil and gas wellbores. This is a challenge, as the designers should keep in mind such different kinds of problems as

  • the unique natural conditions of the Arctic and a specific character of navigation at high latitudes, which makes control and monitoring intricate problems;

  • shelf-typical problems of hole-making position control associated with specific configurations of the holes as well as hydrology and geology of the stratum separating the hole bottom and the day surface;

  • world trends in hole-making position control technologies.

The engineering approach presented in the paper is concerned with most of the urgent problems encountered in drilling wellbores on the Arctic shelf. The research combines and develops alternative and traditional approaches but in both cases, the problems are resolved in a novel original way.

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