ABS Works on R&D Needs through Arctic Workshops

ABS Works on R&D Needs through Arctic Workshops

ABS, the leading provider of classification services to the global offshore industry, continues to help industry push back the technology barriers to Arctic operations through a series of Arctic workshops that are defining the region’s most pressing research and development (R&D) needs.

“In the last few years there has been increasing interest in floating, drilling and production operations in the Arctic and cold regions,” says ABS Manager of Harsh Environment Technology Han Yu. “ABS is taking a leadership role in meeting the industry’s needs for guidance in this frontier area.”

Part of the process of providing practical and valuable guidance is inviting industry experts to share their insight. Over the last year, ABS has organized a series of invitational workshops where technology leaders from industry and academia have gathered to chart a way forward together. The ABS 2013 Arctic program builds on the successes of the four-session Arctic series held during 2012.

The next workshop on the agenda takes place 19-20 March in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where approximately 70 Arctic specialists from industry and academia will brainstorm challenges and potential solutions to operating in harsh and frontier areas and identify new joint research opportunities.

The most recent 2012 event in the Arctic workshop series was held in Houston during the SPE-ATCE Arctic Technology Conference in December. Research subjects identified by participants include the need for a global ice load model and full-scale measurement, more R&D on ice load management and mooring in ice, and Arctic regulations and standards development.

The Houston event was preceded by a winterization workshop in St. John’s in October where the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center (HETC) presented its risk-based approach to winterization and invited group discussion on winterization issues, including environmental criteria, existing experience, training and human issues.

At a workshop held mid-year in Houston, participants identified three topics of special interest for further study: the role of ice management in mooring system design; disconnection and reconnection devices; and practical guidance on global ice load prediction. ABS used the workshop forum to present results from its study on mooring systems in ice that included a state of technology survey on current industry standards, ice loading predictions, current industry designs and practices, mooring hardware and operation philosophy.

The inaugural 2012 Arctic workshop in St. John’s last March gathered experts to tackle corrosion issues such as coatings requirements, including current IMO (SOLAS) Regulations on the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings (PSPS) and the potential need for additional guidance and the subject of how coatings could help reduce maintenance costs to increase uptime on offshore assets operating in Arctic conditions.

Today, the ABS team at the HETC is working on several projects in cooperation with Memorial University of Newfoundland. Researchers recently published a study on the effects of cold environment work on human reliability and risk assessment, and plans are in place for the ABS HETC team to work with industry on the design ice loads for open propellers and nozzled azimuthing thrusters.

“ABS will continue to collaborate with our industry partners to define new R&D projects that address Arctic drilling and production operations so we can move more rapidly into this frontier,” says James Bond, ABS Director of Shared Technology.

“As exploration and production activity move into more harsh environments, it is even more important for us to work with industry,” he says. “Together, class, industry and academia can break down the technology barriers that constrain Arctic operations.”


Press Release, February 26, 2013