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Big Barriers to Building a New Generation of Arctic Vessels

Photo courtesy of Kulluk Unified Command.
While returning to winter harbor, Shell’s drillship Kulluk ran aground in Alaska on New Year’s Eve 2012 during a storm after losing connection with its tow ship.

The industry’s experience thus far drilling offshore the Arctic is a powerful argument to build a new generation of vessels and drilling rigs purpose built for operations in heavy ice. Many of the new exploration concepts that seek to overcome challenges in the Arctic were presented at the recent 2014 Arctic Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. Alexander Brovkin, a facilities and logistics adviser at the Chevron Arctic Center, agrees that while new vessel technology is needed for exploration drilling in the Arctic, first the resource must be proved by the drill bit. “An operator must first have a portfolio of Arctic wells before making a significant capital investment to design or build something new,” he said, adding that companies will be pushed to make decisions soon in order to comply with the terms and deadlines set by their offshore leases.

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Big Barriers to Building a New Generation of Arctic Vessels

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

01 May 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 5

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