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Artificial Islands to Protect Offshore Rigs

Artificial IslandsArtificial islands are formed by humans versus natural means. It is usually constructed on an existing reef or an expansion of a natural island. Traditionally, artificial islands were created by land reclamation to gain more agricultural lands. The Aztecs created a massive system of man-made islands where they grew foodstuffs. Another type of artificial island is when canals isolate a piece of the mainland and create an islet.

For the petroleum industry, artificial islands have allowed companies to access remote areas. An artificial island was built in the Caspian Sea to combine multiple wells. The rig was recently modified in order to skid over all seven existing well slots, taking into consideration the very congested island. The use of artificial islands in Canada is increasing especially in the Artic. Offshore drilling can be done from drill ships or reinforced ice islands. In shallower water dredged artificial islands or steel structures filled with dredged materials can be used as islands for the rig and the workers to live on. In the 1960s, exploration got underway in the Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea region where artificial islands were built to support drilling in shallow water, while drilling ships and floatable caissons were used for deeper water drilling.



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