Permafrost Engineering

Dr. Oswell has wide experience in many aspects of cold regions geotechnical/permafrost engineering.  He has provided onsite inspections and supervision during the construction of an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea, and conducted investigations and prepared geotechnical reports for projects in the Canadian and Russian arctic.  He was the principal geotechnical/ per­mafrost engineer for a 76 km offshore pipeline crossing in the Russian arctic.  He was involved in assessing the geotechnical performance of the Norman Wells pipeline for over 15 years.  In addi­tion he has provided senior and expert-level permafrost engineering on the Mackenzie Gas pro­ject, the Alaska Pipeline Project, the Alaska North Slope Gas Project and the Denali Gas Pipeline Project.  He was also technical manager for the rehabilitation and re-commissioning of a full scale, large diameter pipeline test facility in Fairbanks, Alaska.  He was responsible for routing and cost estimates for an export gas pipeline near Tambey, Yamal Peninsula, Russia and sev­eral other northern oil and gas development projects. He also provided a peer review of a foundation design on ice-rich permafrost and on-site technical review and knowledge transfer during a geotechnical investigation for a new research facility in Antarctica. Other project work includes developing detailed scope and specifications for geotechnical investigations to support design work for an iron ore mine in Greenland, geothermal anal­yses for numerous lagoons in Nunavut, peer review of a foundation design for wind tur­bines in Antarctica and the refurbishment and recommissioning of a deep water naval port in Nunavut, foundation design for mine processing facilities in ice-rich permafrost and field supervision of geotechnical investigations for an all-season road in the Northwest Territo­ries.

Specific project experience is provided below:

Scott Base Redevelopment, Ross Island, Antarctica: Subject matter expert providing on-site quality assurance and technical knowledge transfer for the geotechnical investigation for a new research station, input to foundation design and foundation design option review.

Sewage Lagoon Assessment, Kugluktuk, Nunavut: Senior permafrost engineer assessing municipal engineering team in the evaluation and assessment of leakage from a synthetically lined waste water lagoon. Observed distress in the lagoon included seepage from the perimeter berm, subsidence of portions of the berm and longitudinal cracking.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, Yukon: Provided expert permafrost engineering review of several development applications for mining projects in Yukon. Tasks included review of proponent documentation, development of information requests, assessment of responses and other technical support as requested.

Iqaluit Aquatic Centre, Iqaluit, Nunavut: Permafrost engineer providing geothermal modelling and related input for the design of the proposed aquatic centre in Iqaluit.  Developed geothermal input parameters and boundary conditions for the geothermal modelling that examined the feasibility of thermosyphons to maintain the subgrade soils in a frozen state over the life of the structure, including the impact of climate warming.  The geothermal modelling was complicated by the proximity of an existing structure that would adjoin the proposed aquatic centre.

Raglan Mine, Nunavik, Quebec: Senior permafrost engineer providing on-site and office based support to the expansion of the Xstrata Nickel Mine, including foundation design for a 40 kTPA expansion of ore processing.  The mine site is located in the zone of continuous permafrost and is characterized by ice-rich surface sediments and ice-rich igneous bedrock to depths of 8 m.

Nanisvik Naval Facility, Baffin Island: Review engineer assisting geotechnical consultant on issues related to permafrost for the proposed redevelopment and enlargement of an decommissioned deep water port in northern Baffin Island.

Alaska Gas Project, Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia: Permafrost and geotechnical engineer within the strain based design team responsible for characterization of route soils and determination of strain demand on the pipeline arising from frost heave and thaw settlement.  Geotechnical coordinator for Project Management Team responsible for interaction and technical support to project engineering consultant.  Responsibilities included coordination with environmental and regulator teams in Alaska and Canada, evaluation of geotechnical contractors to conduct intrusive field investigations, selection of field testing sites, documentation of permafrost disturbance and consultations with regulatory agencies.

Iron Ore Mine, Greenland: Senior permafrost engineer providing input and support to the feasibility stage work related to development of an iron ore mine in central Greenland. Developed detailed scope and specifications for geotechnical investigations to support design of the mine facilities, open pit mine, excavation through an existing glacier and over 50 km or support roads and railway to a deep water port facility on the Greenland coast.

Denali Pipeline Project, Yukon, British Columbia: Lead permafrost and geotechnical engineer responsible for developing and executing geotechnical scopes of work to advance the initial design phases for a 48” natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48 states, passing through Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta.  Work included planning field programs, undertaking liquefaction evaluations, routing input and other tasks to support the preparation of a project cost estimate.