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  • Writer's pictureRaid Attir

30 - Water Depth vs Harsh Environment...Offshore Drilling Categories

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

As we have discovered most, if not all, of our shelf Oil & Gas deposits, we begun to push the limit of offshore drilling to new frontiers with drill ships, as well production with FPSO. What was impossible few decades ago, became the norm of today's oil and gas offshore exploration. This article will discusses different categorizations of offshore drilling conditions.


What are the Water Depth Categories?Offshore drilling is divided into 4 categories in regards to water depth:

  • Shallow Water: 0 m - 150 m

  • Mid Water: 150 m - 500 m

  • Deep Water: 500 m - 1,500 m

  • Ultra Deep Water: > 1,500 m

Subject to regulators, Mid Water can be found as part of Shallow Water or Deep Water


What are the Weather Condition Categories?

Offshore drilling can also be categorized according to weather conditions:

  • harsh environment: Arctic and Cold Weather (with icing conditions)

  • normal environment: anything other than harsh environment

Offshore Newfoundland & Labrador in Atlantic Canada is an example of harsh offshore environment


What Are the Standards that Governs Harsh Offshore Environment?

ISO 19906 is the international standard for oil and gas Arctic offshore structures that specifies the requirements and recommendations for the design, construction, transportation, installation and removal of offshore Oil & Gas structures.


What Does Harsh Environment Requires?

The ISO 19906 requires an Ice management plan for offshore installations which includes:

  • the means for ice detection

  • the risk evaluation of an ice berg hitting the offshore installation

  • the decision tree of whether to break the ice or tow it away from the offshore installation


Also, We will be happy to share more details on this post, so please don't hesitate to contact one of our team members.

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