The Prirazlomnoye field is currently the only field on the Russian Arctic Shelf already under development. April 2014 saw a new kind of Russian-produced oil — Arctic Oil (ARCO) — despatched from the field the first time, with a total 300,000 tonnes of oil being produced and despatched in 2014.
The Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometres from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 million tonnes — an area of severe Arctic conditions, with wind and sub-zero temperatures prevailing for almost five months of the year, ice cover in place from November to May, and under polar night (darkness of 24 hours’ duration) for almost two months.
Development of the field has demanded the construction of the ice-resistant “Prirazlomnaya” rig, designed and produced in Russia. Anchored to the seabed, the rig is designed for operation under the most extreme climatic conditions, and able to withstand maximum ice loads. With the platform walls some three metres thick, the drilling of wells within this will ensure full isolation from the surrounding environment: a “zero discharge” system integrated into the platform will also prevent the discharge of any production or drilling waste.
Safety issues are an overriding priority for Gazprom Neft in its development of the Prirazlomnoye oilfield. Taking account of both international best practice and the requirements of Russian legislation, a detailed plan has been put in place for the prevention and control of potential oil spills. Comprehensive emergency training and response drills are regularly undertaken in the area in which the rig is located, to ensure maximum team responsiveness in the event of any emergency arising — both at sea, under freezing conditions, and onshore, to protect the coastal strip around the Varandey settlement.
The operator on the project is Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft.