Earth Observation

Kashagan Marine Access Channel Revealed

Marine Access Channel to Kashagan through shallowing waters has made a great progress last autumn.

The high resolution image has captured the moment when ice cover has just deteriorated enough to see through clear waters underneath before they became mirky with disturbed sediment. The darker horizontal straight line is the channel.

The bright spots on either side of the channel (indicated with rectangle) are ridged fields anchored and possibly grounded on soil disposal berms. These are supposedly additional protection from ice drift for transiting vessels. Rubble formation on seabed obstacles tend to form vast immobile features stabilizing ice cover in surrounding area and building natural protection from drifting ice across the channel ,thus, increasing safety of navigation.

Map with satellite image showing clear waters above Kashagan Marine access channel right after clearance
Sentinel-2 image acquired February 24 2022

It is always nice to see things work out as they were designed… The design prepared by Witteveen+Bos Caspian LLP on the access channel works completely according to plan with disposal berms providing additional protection for vessel navigation against moving ice.

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