Technology

With solid preparation, modern technology, and strong oversight, current exploration and development of Arctic resources is safe by any reasonable measure. With over half a century of oil and gas development in regions across the globe with challenging conditions – from Gulf of Mexico hurricanes to ice flows in the Canadian Arctic to the storms of the North Sea in Europe – the proven technology and expertise to safely explore Americas Arctic already exists. To date, the federal government has produced over 1,000 technical reports and peer-reviewed publications analyzing the U.S. Arctic. This data serves as a strong foundation for robust federal oversight to ensure Arctic exploration will be done safely.

The following reports and studies give greater detail to the long history of technological advancements and developments in scientific understanding from modern Arctic exploration.

Exploration to Development

Digital image processing for sea ice observations in support to Arctic DP operations (2012)
Various types of remotely sensed data and imaging technology will aid the development of sea ice observation to support estimation of ice forces that are critical to Dynamic Positioning (DP) operations in Arctic waters. The use of cameras as sensors on mobile sensor platforms such as unmanned aerial vehicles in Arctic DP operations will be explored for measurements of ice statistics and ice properties.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Ice Observer System for Ice Management Operations (2011)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can be equipped with sensors that provide important information about the surrounding environment, including temperature, wind velocity, ice-floe distribution, ice velocity, and other ice parameters.
Dept. of Engineering Cybernetics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Alaska’s Arctic offshore activity (2010)
An oil discovery would help fill the unused capacity in the Trans Alaskan Pipeline, currently flowing at only 1/3 of its capacity. Property tax revenue from onshore infrastructure and pipeline tariffs would add significantly to North Slope and State government receipts.
Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement), Anchorage, AK

Radargrammetric SAR image processing (2009)
Thanks to the signal processing applied to radar signal (pulse compression and synthetic aperture), radar systems can provide images with a very high resolution (for example, Radarsat-2 has an ultra-high resolution mode of about 3 meters for resolution). So, radar images are considered as additional information to optical images. With regard to these properties, one can estimate that radar images are used to get elevation terrain
Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications of Rennes, France

BEDMAP: A new ice thickness and subglacial topographic model of Antarctica (2001)
A new digital model provides consistent, real-time and high-resolution surface elevations in Alaska.
National Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK

Validation of low level ice forces on coastal structures (2001)
Coastal structures in northern and central European waters as well as offshore structures for exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Arctic have to be designed to withstand the forces of moving ice. These forces govern the design in most cases, where ice is present. The largest ice forces are caused by pressure ridges and by level or rafted ice.
International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers

Geology and Stratigraphy of Fluvio-Deltaic deposits in the Ivishak formation: Applications for development of Prudhoe Bay Field, Alaska (1999)
Nonconventional wells planned and completed with the benefit of detailed correlations currently are recovering millions of barrels of previously bypassed oil.
Atlantic Richfield Company

Scientific Advancement

Biodegradation of dispersed oil in arctic seawater at-1 C (2014)
As offshore oil and gas exploration expands in the Arctic, it is important to expand the scientific understanding of arctic ecology and environmental impact to mitigate operational risks. Our study reveals that microorganisms indigenous to Arctic seawater are capable of performing extensive biodegradation of chemically and physically dispersed oil at an environmentally relevant temperature (−1°C) without any additional nutrients.
Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Managing for the future in a rapidly changing Arctic: A report to the President (2013)
The U.S. Arctic is a vast area that is changing rapidly while economic and social expectations are growing. This combination of factors is adding stress to a largely balkanized management system already straining to address many competing issues and priorities. The sheer number of federal agencies alone presents challenges and underscores the need for a more coordinated approach. That said, however, there are many efforts at the local, regional, state, federal, and international levels that endeavor to improve coordination among the region’s stakeholders. These promising approaches can provide a foundation for a more holistic, integrated approach to management in the region.
Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska; US Dept. of the Interior- Chair

Lab tests on the biodegradation of chemically dispersed oil should consider the rapid dilution that occurs at sea (2013)
Measurements from spills and wave basin studies support these calculations. Published laboratory studies focused on the quantification of contaminant biodegradation rates have used concentrations orders of magnitude greater than this, as it was necessary to ensure the concentrations of hydrocarbons and other chemicals were higher than the detection limits of chemical analysis. However, current analytical methods can quantify individual alkanes and PAHs (and their alkyl homologues) at ppb and ppm levels.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada

Net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) of dispersed oil on nearshore tropical ecosystems derived from the 20 year “Tropics” field study 1 (2005)
This paper showed that the use of dispersant in the nearshore environment is a sound strategy for both minimizing environmental damage to tropical ecosystems and for providing the best opportunity for recovery and repopulation in this environment. Results of this work should be applicable to similar tropical ecosystems.
API- Miami Beach, Florida