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TitleSeabed geo-environmental constraints to offshore hydrocarbon development, Canadian Beaufort Sea
AuthorBlasco, S
SourceProceedings, United States and Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum; 2008 p. 138
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20080397
MeetingUnited States and Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum: Current Status and Future Directions in the Beaufort Sea, North Slope and Mackenzie Delta; Anchorage, Alaska; CA; October 28-30, 2008
Mediaon-line; digital
ProvinceNorthern offshore region
AreaBeaufort Sea; Baffin Bay; Lancaster Sound
Subjectsenvironmental geology; marine geology; hydrocarbons; hydrocarbon potential; environmental analysis; environmental studies; environmental impacts; arctic geology; climate, arctic; marine environments
AbstractThe seabed of the Canadian Beaufort Shelf presents unique challenges to Arctic offshore hydrocarbon development. The impact rates of extreme ice scours/gouges need to be understood to determine trenching and burial depths for subsea pipelines. The extent and engineering properties of ice-bearing permafrost to depths of 700 m below seabed must be clearly defined to constrain production well design. Seabed foundation conditions including soft sediments and slope stability need to be assessed for stable gravity based structure emplacement. The distribution of seabed geohazards including over-pressured shallow gas zones, mud volcanism, diapirism, pockmarks and faulting have to be determined to mitigate exploration drilling risks. Knowledge of the distribution of ecologically and biologically sensitive benthic ecosystems is necessary to avoid conflict with development plans. With renewed vessel traffic, navigation hazards such as submerged abandoned artificial drilling islands from the first phase of exploration in the 1970's need to be investigated. Adequate knowledge of these geo-environmental impediments to offshore hydrocarbon development is required to set appropriate and timely codes, standards and regulations as well as to feed engineering design scenarios for offshore structures. Survey technologies such as multibeam sonar and high resolution multichannel reflection seismic profilers combined with seabed sampling are well suited to investigate geo-environmental issues. Knowledge gained from this type of research will allow development to proceed while minimizing the risk to the environment and ensuring human safety.