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An AI tool to avoid iceberg impacts on oil installations

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec27,2023

An AI tool to avoid iceberg impacts on oil installations

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Icebergs in the Arctic Ocean, near Greenland. (Archive photo)

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An expert at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador is using artificial intelligence to protect oil facilities from icebergs.

The tool developed by postdoctoral researcher, Hamed Azimi, makes it possible to predict the size of the submerged part of the iceberg when it drifts towards oil pipelines and submarine cables.

It can also predict the potential extent of damage if the iceberg runs aground and scrapes the seabed.

My team decided to predict the size and shape of the submerged ice based on the visible characteristics of the part above the surface, including the height, width, length and shape of the iceberg, explains the researcher at the department of civil engineering.

It's the first application of its kind, he emphasizes.

About 90% of the iceberg is below the ocean surface.

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Hamed Azimi recalls that oil companies in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland, spend considerable sums each year to tow icebergs floating too close to their installations.

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Using a long rope that resembles a giant lasso, a boat tows an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland.

The attacks Icebergs can cause serious damage to pipelines, which are essential for transporting oil from platforms, explains Hamed Azimi.

The latter adds that by better assessing the importance of the size of the submerged portion of the iceberg, companies will be able to make more informed decisions on ice management.

The machine learning tool used by Hamed Azimi relies on a database that includes information on about 200 icebergs and historical data on seafloor scouring.

Most data comes from the Center for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering (C-CORE) at Memorial University.

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Hamed Azimi is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil Engineering at Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland Labrador.

Hamed Azimi intends to set up an online platform allowing oil companies to model the importance and possible impacts of all the icebergs floating quietly towards the south after be detached from Greenland.

If the goal is to protect underwater pipelines and cables, why not just bury them? Hamed Azimi explains that most of these installations are installed below the surface of the earth or in a trench, at present, but this work tens of meters below the surface of the ocean entails expenses significant.

The researcher also points out that when icebergs or pieces of pack ice scrape the seabed, a phenomenon observed in Arctic and subarctic waters, they can leave furrows from 50 cm to 5 m deep.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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