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Advance research foundation finalizes design of Arctic subsea complexes

December 03, 2017, 11:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Iceberg project is aimed at making autonomous subsea and under-ice complexes for development of deposits in the Arctic seas

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MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. The Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects (FAR) has adopted design for the project dubbed Iceberg, under which Russian specialists developed unmanned subsea systems for the Arctic developments, the Foundation’s head of the project group Viktor Litvinenko told TASS.

"FAR has received the design from Iceberg’s developer - the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering," he said. "Now, we plan making pilot samples."

Cost-effective variant

The Iceberg project is aimed at making autonomous subsea and under-ice complexes for development of deposits in the Arctic seas. The project is approaching another stage - financing. The work on the system featured experts from the Russian Academy of Sciences, industry and the oil and gas sector.

"The price is rather low, but if made abroad, those complexes could have been worth dozens of billions dollars. Our technologies are of high quality and intellect, but they cost less," the expert said.

A key priority of the work on the complexes was the ecology aspect, he continued. "All technical solutions were focused on ecology security. Including use of the nuclear energy. We have considered those processes from the point of view of not allowing oil pollution, as well as preventing emissions of radioactive products."

Sub-sea complexes for the Arctic

The technologies used in the Iceberg project are unique. The autonomous drilling subsea complex (can work both in the water and on the ground) may replace any existing drilling complex in the world.

The project’s second part is a seismic-exploring vessel, which may be used also in geology exploration in complicated weather conditions and at any place of the World Ocean, including remote passages under the Arctic ice.

The third complex is a subsea transporting vessel of a catamaran type, which may be used in the water to transport large-size cargo, including nuclear energy systems, drilling complexes and any other big elements of deposits’ infrastructures. It is also a transporting-installing service complex, which is equipped with devices for servicing subsea facilities.

"The vessel does not have analogues in the world," the expert said. "It may deliver cargo to any point of the World Ocean, to any depth with high accuracy, including installation of equipment onto a well. This vessel will have a high-precision underwater navigation system."

The fourth component is the subsea energy complex, which may work on the bottom without an operator there. "It will produce about 21 megawatts of electricity, which may be collected inside modules according to the required outgoing energy - this would be sufficient for the shelf developments," he said.

Iceberg’s technological heritage

Specialists have received three patents. "Another ten would be presented soon," Litvinenko said.

Under the regulations, adopted by the Russian government, the designers "will give gratuitously results of the intellectual work to the federal authorities, and, later on, the ministries would be able to give these technologies to the organizations, which will implement the projects - making the samples."

The State Program on Development of the Arctic Zone included making a prototype of a drilling complex. "It is an intermediate stage prior to production of the complex’s samples," the Fund’s expert said. "Realistically, it will be practiced on the ground, and later on - inside the water. It would be a practice sample. We also plan a stand to practice elements of the seismic-exploration vessel."

Earlier, the expert said pilot samples of sub-sea automatic complexes for studies and development of the Arctic shelf, would be ready in Russia in ten years’ time.

The Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects was established in 2012 to support scientific research and design in the defense industry.

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