The Arctic Sea is covered in ice nine months of the year. Despite the widespread public perception that Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, managing, breaking and evading ice remains a major concern for exploration and production operations at high latitudes. Transportation and support logistics also are extremely challenging.
Unlocking the vast potential of the Arctic will mean venturing out of the familiar shallow waters just offshore, where platform-based and extended-reach drilling has been shown to be safely achievable, to deeper prospects where floating drilling and production units are needed, but which are frequented by icebergs as well as sea ice.
Offshore exploration has been accomplished, but the short drilling window (three months to as little as six weeks) significantly amplifies risk and cost.