Case study

ICEFLEX™ meets the Arctic challenge

    Shipboard & Offshore/Onshore applications

Flexing your cables in freezing conditions: a high-performance cable for the high Arctic

Climate change and global warming will drastically impact daily life in the coming years and make it possible to work, travel, and safely extract and transport raw materials in the Arctic.

Recent US Geological Survey studies estimate that the Arctic accounts for about 13% of undiscovered oil, 30% of undiscovered natural gas, and 20% of undiscovered liquefied natural gas. Alaska-based mining is a $1 billion dollar business (largely from zinc), while Canada produces half a billion dollars of zinc, gold, lead, silver and iron ore. A new Canadian mining project will build 150 km of railways and two new ports to access some $23 billion worth of iron ore 300 miles inside the Arctic Circle. Meanwhile, Northwest Russia continues to mine 25% of the world’s known minerals in hundreds of deposits.

Accessibility to resources via northern shipping lanes requires a new generation of tankers, containerships, LNG carriers, deep-sea drilling and FPSO ships, supply ships, prospect and scientific vessels and even cruise ships for tourism. Also, oil & gas and mining needs rolling stock and port facilities which can function safely and reliably under extreme cold conditions.

Iceflex ultracold cable
Meet the Arctic challenge

The Nexans Research Center has already developed various rubber-based cable products to operate at very low temperatures for shipbuilding, offshore, rolling stock, and wind turbine applications. Understanding and mastering the factors determining the low-temperature resistance of halogen-free flame retardant rubbers was the key to success.


To meet the Arctic challenge, Nexans introduced the innovative ICEFLEX™ technology for ultra-cold cables. This is the first marine energy cable on the market qualified for use at -50°C. Normally cables become stiff and brittle in intense cold. However, this rubber-based cable remains highly flexible and resistant, while ensuring advanced fire performance.

ICEFLEX™ operates reliably in icy, snowy conditions for a variety of technical applications. It can survive in exposed conditions onboard, topside or in frozen ground or permafrost, and can adapt to abrupt temperature changes during the spring and autumn period, while protecting crew, platform workers and personnel from fire, smoke and corrosive gases.

The ability to comply with impact and bending tests at very low temperature, to withstand the aggression of chemical substances (from gear, hydraulic fluids to mineral oils) and not propagate fire are other outstanding achievements.

ICEFLEX™ will ensure that resources are extracted and transported safely to assure the sustainable development of the Arctic North. Nexans has already helped ice-protect  the Prirazlomnaya stationary oil platform in the Barents Sea with ICEFLEX™.

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