The drilling rig Sunkar, owned and operated by Parker Drilling under contract to Agip KCO, was the first drilling rig in the North Caspian Sea. In this area sea ice may occur between November and April. The original ice protection concept of the drilling rig was based on the fact that ice loads were partly taken and/or reduced by two rows of heavy piles. As an alternative concept ice model tests for Sunkar with installed ice barriers (Ice Rubble Generators) around the rig were carried out in the Large Ice Model Basin of HSVA in order to establish the design ice loads and to prove that the design forces can be reduced significantly by using these ice barriers. The test series were carried out in 1.3 m thick level ice with a bending strength of 770 kPa. Ice drift angle, ice drift speed, spacing between the ice barriers, as well as the angle of the ice barriers were varied. The design water level simulated in the model tests was about 4 m. As maximum measured ice load values are a result of coincidental ice failure occurrences these values are much more scattered than the mean values of ice model tests. Even if an individual model test could be repeated exactly, i.e. exactly within measurable limits, the maximum load would be different. Therefore the design load needs to be obtained by using a sophisticated statistical approach. To establish the design load an extreme value distribution, a Gumbel-Probability-Distribution (GPD) for each individual model run has been applied. The ice model tests have shown that a significant ice force reduction can be achieved if the drilling rig Sunkar is protected with ice barriers. The reduction of the maximum horizontal global ice load amounts to approx. 63% when Sunkar is protected by ice barriers. The ice barriers initiate ice rubble and areas of rafted ice as well as ice accumulation between the barriers, which lead to ice bridging with a spacing of 60 to 80 m between the ice barriers. As a final result it was found that the stability of Sunkar will be sufficient under any angle of drifting ice if ice barriers are installed.

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