By Bret Montaruli, Vice President - Offshore Technology, ABS Dynamic positioning (DP) capability is considered almost standard equipment for deepwater drilling newbuilds. And it is no longer unusual to see offshore support vessels and shuttle tankers outfitted with DP systems. Nearly 80% of the newly built floating mobile offshore drilling units in the market today have DP systems, and the industry has come to rely on this capability. While the fundamentals of DP systems have remained the same since the technology was introduced, today’s systems are much more advanced than those deployed several years ago. They have expanded and become more flexible, featuring improved station keeping, robust redundancy design concepts, and rapid automatic blackout recovery. In addition to their enhanced capabilities, the new systems are more reliable, which translates into safer operations. That reliability is critical to drilling contractors, fleet owners, and operating companies. Failed DP systems can not only compromise operations, but they can lead to pollution events or spills, and they can endanger offshore personnel. In frontier areas where drilling is reaching greater depths and operations are becoming more complex, station keeping becomes even more critical. Operating conditions are changing. The front line of exploration and production operations is constantly moving as new technical capabilities allow activity to take place in previously inaccessible areas. And the criticality of systems like DP is growing in importance. Industry needs are changing, and it is important that the rules and guides provided by classification societies reflect those needs. If they are to be applicable, relevant, and helpful in assisting the industry in its quest to improve operational safety, rules and guides have to be built on experience and a willingness to work to find answers to challenging questions together. Putting the best minds together leads to better solutions. With industry guidance and input, classification societies can move more swiftly to develop the guidance needed to safely operate in new and challenging areas. As E&P activity continues to move into frontiers, class needs to move in lock step. Because today’s frontiers will be tomorrow’s front-line operations, safe operation in those areas has to be nonnegotiable.