The main goal of the 10 years Arctic Materials KMB project run by SINTEF (2008–2017) and supported by the industry is to establish criteria and solutions for safe and cost-effective application of materials for hydrocarbon exploration and production in arctic regions. The objective of the arctic materials project guideline (PG) is to assist designers to ensure safe and robust, yet cost-effective, design of offshore structures and structural elements in arctic areas through adequate material testing and requirements to material toughness. It is well known that when the temperature decreases, steel becomes more brittle. To prevent brittle fracture in the Arctic, the structure needs adequate toughness for the loading seen at low temperatures. None of the common offshore design codes today consistently address low temperature applications. In this respect, arctic areas are defined as minimum design temperatures below what current international standards have considered per today, i.e. −10 °C to −14°C. For practical applications, the PG defines arctic areas as minimum design temperature lower than −10 °C.
It is acknowledging that design standards to a certain degree are based on operational and qualitative experiences gained by the offshore industry since the 1970’s. However, for arctic offshore facilities, limited operational experiences are gained by the industry. The basis of the guideline is that safe and robust design of structures and structural elements are ensured by combining standard industry practice today with learnings and findings from the 10 years Arctic Materials project.
This paper is concerned with the rationale behind the material and test requirements provided in the arctic material guideline. The material requirements will be discussed in detail with emphasis on toughness requirement, constraint effect, thickness effect, acceptance criteria and material qualification criteria.