The Novy Port project
The development of the Novoportovskoye field on the Yamal Peninsula is one of Gazprom Neft’s strategic projects — this asset, specifically, being scheduled to become the centre of a major production cluster being developed by the company on the Yamal peninsula.
Novoportovskoye was the first hydrocarbon field discovered on the Yamal Peninsula. Major oil and gas reserves were proved to be present here as early as 1964, but the absence of transport infrastructure, coupled with the complex underlying geology, remained insurmountable obstacles to the Novoportovskoye field going into full-scale development.
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.
Low-permeability reservoirs, multiple tectonic abnormalities leading to significant fragmentation of deposits), and a significant gas cap all contribute to making development of the Novoportovskoye field difficult.
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.
Gazpromneft-Yamal’s subsoil usage rights to the Novoportovskoye field were extended to 2150 in 2016, making this 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 developed 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.
The company has put in place its own icebreaker fleet to service the Novy Port project, including six Arctic tankers, and two diesel—electric icebreakers.
These «Shturman» Arc7-class tankers, built to order specifically for Gazprom Neft, have a cargo-bearing capacity of 42,000 tonnes, and a maximum draught of 9.5 metres, enabling them to operate at shallow depths in the freshwaters of the Gulf of Ob. The vessels can independently negotiate ice of 1.4 to 1.8 metres thick, and are equipped with turret-type terminal crude bow-loading equipment.
The Alexander Sannikov and Andrey Vilkitsky icebreakers have been built to order for Gazprom Neft at the Vyborg Shipyard, St Petersburg. These are currently the most technologically advanced vessels of their kind in the country, able to operate independently for 40 days at temperatures as low as −50°C. These icebreakers can accelerate to up to 16 knots (30 kilometres per hour) in open waters and, thanks to their steerable propellers, can complete a full turn within a minute, while their 22 MW propulsion power provides icebreaking capacity of up to two metres, comparable to that of nuclear icebreakers.
Crude offloading to tankers is undertaken 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 pipelines, through which warmed oil circulates, between shipments.
The Arctic Gates terminal is a unique piece of engineering, standing at more than 80 metres in height, and designed for year-round operation under extreme climatic conditions: temperatures here can drop below −50°C, and ice can be up to two metres thick.
The facility is equipped with a two-tier protection facility, and meets the most stringent environmental and industrial 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.
per year Transhipment capacity at the Arctic Gates terminal
The high-capacity Arctic Gates terminal, together with the implementation of the «Yamal Gas» project, involving the construction of extensive infrastructure to transport gas from fields in Yamal, opens up opportunities to develop a whole range of new assets in the south of the Yamal Peninsula.
Gazprom Neft is developing a major hydrocarbon production centre here. The company has already acquired licenses for geological prospecting at the Yuzhno-Novoportovskoye and Surovo license blocks, confirmation of the potential resources of which will allow optimum utilisation of production and transport infrastructure installed at the Novoportovskoye field.