With increased interests in oil and gas exploration in cold climate regions, it is not realistic that all construction activities can take place during the short summer and work will continue into the early fall and possibly later. The offshore contractors must, therefore, be ready to participate in construction work in these regions during an extended season, i.e. outside the summer season with milder weather conditions. It is also important that some key work-intensive activities (e.g. pipe laying) can start as early as possible in the season.
This paper will discuss the challenges associated with construction work in cold climate regions with emphasis on the physical conditions, in particular with reference to Polar Low Pressures and the potential for icing, as well as the logistics of working long distances from established supply bases.
Large uncertainties in weather forecasts call for proper management decisions accounting for the specifics of the area. Long periods of “waiting on weather” might result and management must have the patience to wait until safe operations can commence.
Emphasis will be on the Barents Sea where recent hydrocarbon findings have proven very encouraging and where a huge area soon will be opened for exploration, following the agreement on the border between Norway and Russia, potentially calling for joint Norwegian–Russian construction projects (Bulakh et al., 2011).