As stated in our national technology strategy, OG21, most of the "easily" recoverable hydrocarbon (HC) resources on the Norwegian continental shelf have been produced. The discoveries are smaller, and the activity moves into new areas with new challenges i.e. developments that are closer to the coast and vulnerable areas, deeper waters and Arctic conditions. In fact, 20-25% of the total remaining undiscovered HC resources in the world are believed reside to in Artic regions. These resources require further technology advancement to be technologically and political feasible to explore and to produce.

The Norwegian petroleum sector has adopted a policy with strong social responsibility and has developed the field of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) to high industrial standards. For the above-mentioned reasons, OG21 identifies particular HSE challenges to petroleum exploration and production in Arctic regions. Operations in these regions will be much delayed and hindered if the same HSE level cannot be proven for Arctic conditions.

The Norwegian oil and gas (O&G) industry, whose operation and activity is founded on the NORSOK standard (covering temperatures down to -14 °C), have 40 years of experience from operations the North Sea. Compared to NORSOK, operations in Arctic regions pose a number of additional material challenges e.g. low temperature embrittlement of materials, relatively large deformations or loads may be encountered merely due to large temperature variations and components and structures may be subject to tough loads by icing or moving ice. Several technology gaps have been identified in OG21. In particular TTA2 "Special arctic exploration technology" and in TTA4 "Integrity management and risk reduction". Hence, to enable a continuation of Norwegian HC production in this area, and in way which is in the spirit of the current high HSE standards and world leading technology level, it is essential with a further national emphasis on R&D. An Arctic materials technology platform is deemed necessary for:

  • Risk assessment and management
  • Development of design tools and design codes
  • Tailoring of new materials for structural or functional (e.g. ice phobic) properties
  • Innovation and design of cost-effective, safe, lightweight, multi-material, structural solutions.


Published January 8, 2010