Specific risks to offshore oil and gas operations manifest in the Arctic and other harsh environments. Such extreme operating conditions can disrupt the offshore infrastructure and cause major accidents, posing a great challenge to operators. A thorough investigation of past incidents helps to learn lessons to ensure that a recurrence of serious accidents affecting workers and the environment can be prevented.
The analysis of past incidents is divided into two parts. First, we offer a statistical analysis of offshore incidents triggered by natural events in the Arctic and in similar harsh environments. The analysis, organised by location, cause, and type of damage, failure mechanisms, and consequences, is based on data from the World Offshore Accident Database (WOAD). Second, we analyse a selection of accidents that occurred in the recent past in ice-prone seas, with particular attention to potential deficiencies in safety measures, design requirements and design methodologies, operations planning and component reliability.
Based on the analysis, important lessons were identified which stress the need for further efforts to ensure the safety of workers and of assets and to get all actors involved in offshore operations engaged towards achieving a safer future for the exploitation of oil and gas resources.