First Successful Subsea Pipeline In The Arctic: Northstar
According to literature review, BP Exploration Alaska’s Northstar pipeline has set a baseline by operating safely for the last 13 years and has demonstrated that offshore arctic pipelines can provide safe and reliable oil and gas transportation system. Northstar is the first Arctic offshore development connected to shore by subsea pipeline. This is located about 10 km (6 miles) northwest of Prudhoe Bay in about 12 meter of water. Northstar oil flows to the Trans- Alaska Pipeline System through a subsea pipeline. The primary load conditions controlling Northstar pipeline design and trenching requirement were ice gouging and permafrost thaw.
The industry can apply this experience on other pipelines in arctic that has potential ice load conditions. The paper reviews main challenges in the Arctic, design criteria and lesson learned relating to the Northstar offshore pipelines for protection from ice gouging that can be considered for future offshore Arctic pipelines.
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