The Arctic Handbook

This project aims at contributing to internationally accepted standards and guidelines for Arctic operations.

This Joint Industry Project aims to identify and carry out the necessary investigations to enable the formulation of guidelines for specific Dutch offshore contractors’ skills. The project also aims at contributing to internationally accepted standards and guidelines for Arctic operations. The operational restraints in the Arctic environment and best practice limitations will be defined, so that working seasons can be better assessed and hopefully increased, and overall risks reduced.

The Dutch offshore industry has the ambition to execute operations at a large scale in Arctic areas, for instance for installation and operation of oil- and gas production facilities and pipelines. The term Arctic refers to areas where ice, permafrost and low temperatures may influence offshore operations and field development. The areas can be found in e.g. the Beaufort Sea but also the Caspian Sea.

Currently, there is no standard for safe operations by service companies in Arctic offshore areas. To support this industry and to ensure development steps towards minimum environmental impact for the service capabilities to be available, it is proposed to develop guidance/standards for such operations, focused on dredging, trenching, pipe lay, installation and decommissioning activities. Detailed design of facilities & equipment is not covered as it is already supported through ISO 19906 for Arctic Structures.

The development of guidelines and regulations in modern industry is functional (goal based) and depends on methods and technology used, in this case for Arctic operations. International accepted standards and guidelines require links between the subject project initiative and i.e. Class Societies, Arctic Governmental Authorities and international standards organisations like ISO and IMO. It is the intention to link with these through a EU Coordination action, referenced below.


The mid-term results are:

  • Standard procedure for EIA
  • Cumulative Impact Assessment & Ecosystem Effect Chain
  • Effects are a function of the intensity of pressures and the sensitivity of ecosystem components
  • Interactions of ecosystem components are included
  • Both negative effects as positive effects
  • Qualitative approach as scoping for semi-quantitative and quantitative approach
  • Semi-quantitative approach results in relative effects
  • Quantitative approach results in actual effects