Offshore pipelines in an Arctic or ice-covered environment face unique challenges different from traditional subsea pipeline design. In 2018, Intecsea as lead consultancy delivered a report to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Alaska Region which provided a comprehensive review and gap analysis of the Status of Arctic Pipeline Standards and Technology. The objective of this study was to provide BSEE with a comprehensive review and gap analysis of current offshore Arctic pipeline design standards, codes and regulations pertaining to design and development of offshore pipelines in the Arctic, and to report on the state-of-the-art and emerging technologies for offshore pipelines in Arctic applications. Project development information from nine existing offshore Arctic pipelines in the U.S., Canada, and Russia was summarized, as well as guidelines and industry best-practice for monitoring and leak detection.
This paper provides an overview of the results of this study; what offshore Arctic-specific pipeline design and construction challenges may entail, how they have been overcome in past projects, perceived gaps in regulations, and technology advancements that may help with future developments. This paper also summarizes the results of a comprehensive review and gap analysis of Arctic pipeline standards, assessment of the suitability of a single-walled versus pipe-in-pipe system for Arctic applications and presents information on some of the advancements in pipeline design, installation, operations and repair solutions that may be applicable to an Arctic environment.