The Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometres from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 million tonnes. The Prirazlomnoye field is the first — and, thus far, the only — field on the Russian Arctic Shelf at which oil production is being undertaken, and the only project in the world in which Arctic production is being undertaken from a stationary platform (rig).
ARCO oil is distinguished by its high density (roughly 24 API) and sulphur content (c. 2.3 percent), as well as its low paraffin content. Relatively heavy compared to typical Russian export oil, ARCO is well suited for deep oil processing at refineries in north—western Europe. Unique chemicals used in road construction, tyre production, and in the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries can be produced from this oil.
Production — under pilot testing — commenced in December 2013, with the new ARCO oil being launched on the international markets in April 2014. More than 800,000 tonnes of oil were produced at the field in 2015. Total volumes shipped from the Prirazlomnoye field in 2015 reached more than 1.1 million tonnes.
Field development has required the construction of a unique ice-resistant platform, designed and constructed in Russia and intended for use in the most extreme climatic conditions, as well as being able to withstand maximum ice-loads. The platform is anchored to the seabed, and the safety standards thereon far exceed any requirements likely to arise, in real terms.
With the platform walls some three metres thick, the drilling of wells within this will ensure full isolation from the surrounding environment. A “zero emissions” system has been integrated into the platform to prevent the discharge of any production or drilling waste into the sea: these will, instead, be redirected to a special absorption well or, where necessary, into containers to be transported onshore for recycling.
The sale and distribution of ARCO oil on the international markets is being handled by Gazpromneft Trading GmbH.
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