To produce hydrocarbons economically from an arctic deepwater discovery, development drilling operations will need to drill a large number of wells over a relatively short time span, leading to a requirement for year-round operations. Such a development drilling system would operate in some of the most severe winter ice conditions occurring in the arctic seas, combining available technology elements and balancing stationkeeping capability with ice management capability. Core design considerations are outlined, involving fabrication, transportation, installation, stationkeeping and disconnection issues, and the impacts of drilling and re-supply operations are assessed. Key technical challenges and associated research and technology development needs are identified.

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