Norway’s far north projects should address ice impact, says PSA

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway – Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway is examining potential threats of icebergs and sea ice as field development offshore Norway moves farther north.

Ice cover in Norway’s far north varies in extent with the seasons and from year to year. Due to the effects of the Gulf Stream, the southern Barents Sea is normally ice-free year round, but icebergs and sea ice can cause problems to installations if they collide.

According to PSA’s ice specialist Arne Kvitrud, ice could theoretically occur at Eni’s Goliat field, although the likelihood is so small that disconnection of the floating platform is not a requirement. Farther north, however, the future Johan Castberg facilities will need to be disconnected if ice gets too close.

“The best solution is to avoid ice hitting the platform at all. It could damage risers or other structures. So the aim is to keep well clear,” Kvitrud said.

“The most recent drilling jobs have had to be 50 km (31 mi) from the marginal ice zone. Should that get any closer, the rig must disconnect. No operations have been so close to the ice edge.”

Icing occurs when sea spray, super-cooled rain or wet snow freezes to vessels or facilities. The extreme Narve storm in 2006 caused heavy icing at the Melkøya gas liquefaction plant outside Hammerfest in northern Norway, receiving production from the offshore Snøhvit field.

Spray is the chief cause of icing on units close to the sea surface, such as supply vessels or lifeboats. On a rig or platform 20-30 m (65.6-98.4 ft) above the surface, atmospheric icing will be the main contributor, Kvitrud said.

“Super-cooled rain or other types of precipitation can eventually build up layers of ice on the structure,” he added.


Share your news with Offshore at

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


The Time is Right for Optimum Reliability: Capital-Intensive Industries and Asset Performance Management

Imagine a plant that is no longer at risk of a random shutdown. Imagine not worrying about losing...

Going Digital: The New Normal in Oil & Gas

In this whitepaper you will learn how Keystone Engineering, ONGC, and Saipem are using software t...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...