Meeting the safety challenges of seismic projects in extreme cold
Working in remote, sensitive and operationally challenging environments is complex, and Western Canada during winter is no exception. On a recent 4D seismic program, the weather dropped to -51
oC (-60 oF). Brrrr! But our deep expertise in safety planning and seismic project management ensured our client avoided costly delays and, most importantly, kept everyone onsite safe.
The Polar Vortex
Seismic operations during winter are very common in Western Canada, with policies and procedures designed to keep our teams safe under ‘normal’ winter conditions. However, on February 4th 2021, a Polar Vortex swept across the Saskatchewan Prairies bringing extreme cold temperatures, even by Canadian standards. Temperatures plummeted from seasonal norms to an average of -43oC (-45oF), and the coldest day reaching a dangerous -51oC (-60oF).
At the time, RPS was actively managing a 4D seismic program east of Saskatoon. As with all of our projects, worker safety is paramount, and working outside in frigid temperatures for 9-12 hours a day poses serious health and safety risks. And with the initial weather forecasts predicting these cold temperatures would last 7-10 days, the stand-by costs incurred could easily have exceeded the overall project budget.