World consumption of hydrocarbons continues to increase as developing nations join the developed world. Yet, easily accessible energy sources are becoming increasingly rare. This supply and demand dynamic is leading to exploration for oil and gas in increasingly challenging environments, particularly within the Arctic Circle. The challenges of operating in the Arctic are significantly different than elsewhere and society demands that companies take every step possible to insure that operations are conducted in a safe, reliable, and low risk manner - for both the crew and the environment. Within this paper the authors discuss some of the challenges of operating in the Arctic, the influence of these challenges on Arctic exploration and production vessel design (Figure 1), and how the design and subsequent operation of these vessels must manage potential deteriorations in functionality as a result of the cold climate operations.

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