The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has completed a study that examined the ability of existing offshore structural designs to survive sea ice demands under extreme Arctic conditions, in collaboration with the University of Alaska.
Entitled ‘Reliability-Based Sea Ice Parameters for Design of Offshore Structures’, the study was aimed at producing additional sea ice information to supplement ISO 19906 standard, which covers Arctic offshore oil and gas structures, and other current standards and recommendations.
BSEE said that the study identified critical keel depth and provided an assessment of suitability of the ISO 19906 recommendations. Its objective was also to provide additional sea ice information for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Researchers collected data from 16 seasons of ice measurements from both the seas for two years to provide sufficient comparisons of various sea ice parametres.
The parametres include first and last ice occurrence, level of ice, rubble fields, ridges and ice movement.
After completely evaluating data, the research team analysed a range of annual values to develop averages and draw conclusions, as well as reviewing recorded events.
They concluded that the current standard of practice cited in ISO 19906 is conservative for current structural design parameters.
In order to support these efforts, BSEE has provided a dedicated programme coordinator in Alaska who will assist with identifying research that advances its regulatory objectives in the Arctic.
At present, there are seven ongoing studies that assess offshore engineering technology and conditions faced by operators in harsh Arctic conditions.
These studies assist the agency in understanding the way conditions in the Arctic impact future regulatory standards.
Image: The objective of BSEE’s study was to provide additional sea ice information for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Photo: courtesy of the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.