During the winter of 1980–81, Exxon built about 16 km of floating ice roads in the Beaufort Sea off the north slope of Alaska. These roads were used to haul gravel and other materials for the construction of four offshore drillsites and to provide logistical support to subsequent exploration drilling operations. Ice roads over tundra and grounded lake or sea ice have been used for many years in the Arctic. Over the past three years, exploration activities have progressed offshore to water depths where the sea ice is floating. This paper summarizes the procedures, equipment, and production rates achieved during the construction of our 1980–81 winter floating ice roads. Also presented are the results of performance tests on some of the various auger pumping systems presently available.

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