This paper presents a concept of an icebreaking supply vessel specifically designed to meet the needs of both onshore and offshore Arctic drilling operations. The ship has been developed for use in the Norwegian Arctic, i.e., Svalbard and the Continental Shelf of the Barents Sea. It is designed to be able to operate in the area on a year"' :round basis.
The design considerations are reviewed bearing in mind the operating, icebreaking, and classification requirements. A description of the ship is given and its operating modes as well as expected capabilities are discussed.
The first exploration drilling on Svalbard started in 1965, when Caltex put up the first rig. Since then, most of the oil potential areas have been claimed by Norwegian and foreign oil companies.
Drilling so far has only been taking place during the summer. Equipment and supplies are being brought in from Norway by ice-strengthened cargo ships. Unloading is carried out by landing crafts and helicopters. The shipping season usually lasts from May to October, but this depends very much on the ice conditions.
So far a dozen wells have been drilled, but no commercial fields have yet been discovered. There have, however, been interesting traces of oil and gas. The future development will probably be that, as soon as commercial discoveries are made, the drilling season will be extended and year-round operations will commence. As more advanced offshore drilling technology becomes available, exploration of the ice-covered waters around the Svalbard islands will probably also begin. These waters are very promising with large sedimentary basins, and them may well turn out to contain major oil fields.
In anticipation of such a development, the shipyard Kaarbp's Mek. Versed and the supply organization Nor service, both of Hardstand, Norway, have decided to analyze some of the problems involved in the transportation of equipment and supplies needed for these activities. Part of these studies have been carried out in cooperation with The Ship Research Institute of "Norway, and as one of the results of this cooperation, a concept of an Arctic supply vessel has been developed. The ship is intended to serve both onshore and offshore oil drilling and will, in addition to carrying supplies and passengers, be able to do towing and anchor-handling, as well as act as an icebreaker.
Even if an Arctic supply vessel should be able to operate in ice-filled waters worldwide, it appears that the wide range or ice and - -weather conditions that egoist in the Arctic. itself will necessitate different types of vessels. It was therefore decided to construct the vessel for one particular area, the Norwegian Arctic.