Offshore oil and gas operations in the arctic poses large challenges for the design of dynamically positioned vessels intended to perform these operations. In general, extreme temperatures, harsh environmental conditions, severe ice loads, a vulnerable ecological environment, lack of infrastructure and stringent but regionally different regulatory requirements are amongst those challenges. In particular, dynamically positioned vessels will be confronted with a new and complex factor: sea ice. Current dynamic positioning systems and control models do not incorporate the influence and prediction of sea ice on vessel movements and therefore have difficulties in applying thruster compensation. Although significant knowledge is available from various sectors in the offshore industry and the commercial shipping industry there are numerous technology gaps which need to be addressed to be able to enable the use of dynamically positioned offshore units for the arctic. A three year systematic research and development program has been initiated to develop the knowledge and technologies needed and to apply them to typical designs to be offered to the offshore industry for arctic operations. This program is initiated from the complete range of required design input and technology required for designing a dynamically positioned offshore unit rather than focus on individual technology subjects. It aims to integrate all individual technologies to enable design and construction dynamically positioned vessels for arctic operations. This paper presents the outline of the program.

Maritime Innovation Program

The Maritime Innovation Program (Maritiem Innovatie Programma, MIP) is a program to support innovation and technology development in the Dutch maritime cluster and is sponsored by the Dutch government. Offshore oil and gas operations in extreme conditions is one of the key strategic areas presented in this program. Research on the Arctic environmental conditions for new developments in the Arctic, as well as installation and maintenance technology for Arctic conditions are mentioned as key priorities within the strategy agenda of this Program in 2009.

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