The Fast Ice Drilling System (FIDS) is a concept to extend the season for Ice Island drilling and to move it into deeper water as an alternative to bottom supported drilling units, such as the Steel Drilling Caisson (SDC). As currently conceived, the FIDS can support drilling of up to four wells during the course of one winter season.
The FID System is designed to overcome one of the limitations of current ice island drilling, i.e. the requirement for shore access via an ice road. Building of ice roads can delay season start and shore leads and over-flooding in the spring can make the ice road unusable while the ice island platform is still stable and intact. The FID System is based on using marine logistics and supply which obviates (or minimizes) the need for shore access via ice roads.
The FIDS concept uses a marine vessel(s) for early construction of spray ice islands and provides support for construction of ice roads and additional man-made ice islands.
The use of logistics vessel(s) within the FIDS concept to position construction and drilling equipment, camps, fuel and other supplies in the vicinity of the target well locations improves overall efficiency and allows for an extended drilling season. This approach allows for the earliest start of ice island construction and correspondingly maximizes the time available for drilling a deep and complex well at this location.
After completion of drilling and well testing, all drilling equipment and remaining supplies on the islands are returned to the logistics vessel, which remains in the ice until break-up the following summer, when it can sail to a southern port for replenishment.
While the original FIDS study was based on the use of Russia SA-15 arctic logistics ships, it is possible to foresee construction of similar special purpose ships, perhaps with increased capacity which could support the FIDS concept and which might also act as support or wareships for te open-water drilling season in areas such as the Chukchi Sea.