Development of the Novoportovskoye field on the Yamal Peninsula is one of Gazprom Neft’s strategic projects. In 2016, following the commissioning of the Arctic Gates oil loading terminal, the company began full-scale oil production at the field
Novoportovskoye was the first field discovered on the Yamal Peninsula, with the presence of major oil and gas reserves here having been proved as early as 1964. The absence of transport infrastructure, however, together with the complex underlying geology, remained insurmountable obstacles to starting full-scale development of the field.
While 117 exploratory wells had been drilled by 1987, proactive development of this asset did not begin until after 2010, when Gazprom took the decision to transfer it to Gazprom Neft. Gazpromneft-Yamal LLC is currently operator on this project.
The complexity of developing the Novoportovskoye field is the result of low-permeability reservoirs and multiple tectonic abnormalities, leading to the significant disconnection of deposits segregation of deposits, together with a significant gas cap.
The viable production of high-quality, low-sulphur oil in Yamal has been achieved through the use of cutting-edge technologies, including the construction of horizontal and multilateral wells, and the use of multistage fracking.
Now running to 2150, this represents the longest license term in Gazprom Neft’s asset portfolio.
The challenge of shipping oil from the field was resolved by Gazprom Neft specialists, together with academics from the Krylov State Research Centre , who came up with a route for the year-round transportation of crude by tankers, supported by nuclear icebreakers.
The feasibility of this project was confirmed by the company in 2011, following an experimental passage by a nuclear icebreaker through the shallow-water ice of the Gulf of Ob, from the port of Sabetta (north—east of the Yamal Peninsula) to Cape Kammeny.
The first consignment of Novy Port oil was despatched to European consumers via the Northern Sea Route in summer 2014, with winter shipments commencing in 2015.
Sending crude to Northern Europe from Novy Port is an optimum solution in all sorts of ways: it is, geographically, the nearest field to this import-dependent region — which, moreover, specialises in refining light (low-sulphur) oils such as Novy Port oil (which has a lower sulphur content than both Russian Urals blend and Brent crude).
A special fleet has been created to service the Novy Port project, with new support icebreakers and Arctic-class tankers, able to overcome ice up to 1.8 metres thick. The tankers have a nine-metre draught and loading capacity of 35,000 tonnes, and are equipped with bow-loading gear to allow the crude to be shipped directly from terminal towers.
Until May 2016, oil was loaded onto tankers from onshore infrastructure, using temporary lines (hoses). Today, shipments are undertaken all year round from the Arctic Gates terminal. Due to the shallow waters around the coast, together with constant alluvial currents, siting the terminal onshore proved impossible. Ultimately, the choice was made in favour of a single-point mooring, 3.5 kilometres from the shore, where very large crude tankers (VLGTs or “super-tankers”) can be loaded safely.
Based onshore, the terminal connects the automated combined feed-and-fibre-optic-cable system and the crude-delivery pipeline. In order to maintain the specific pre-set temperature of the crude, the system comprises two heat-insulated (cold-proofed) pipelines, through which warmed oil circulates, between shipments.
The Arctic Gates terminal — a uniquely engineered structure standing at more than 80 metres high — is designed to operate under extreme environmental and climatic conditions: local temperatures can drop as low as —50oC, and ice can be more than two metres thick.
The facility is equipped with a two-tier protection facility, and meets the most stringent environmental and safety standards. Zero-emissions" technology eliminates any risk of contaminants reaching the waters of the Gulf of Ob.
Oil from the Novoportovskoye field reaching the central gathering point (CGP) on the coast of the Gulf of Ob and, subsequently, the terminal, passes through a pipeline more than 100 kilometres long. Infrastructure installed at the field and on the shores of the Gulf of Ob allows transhipments of up to 8.5 million tonnes of oil per year.