Gazprom Neft delivers tenth consignment of ARCO oil to Europe

The Mikhail Ulyanov oil tanker has delivered the tenth consignment of ARCO oil for customers in Europe, with offloading having been completed in August at the Port of Rotterdam. The total volume of crude exported by the company since the start of commercial production at the Prirazlomnoye field amounts to 4.6 million barrels, or 670,000 tonnes.

The Kirill Lavrov and the Mikhail Ulyanov are both double-hulled ice-class (Arc6) oil tankers, able to guarantee the safe delivery of crude produced at the Prirazlomnaya stationary platform in the Arctic Sea. Both were built at the Admiralty Shipyards, St Petersburg, specifically to ensure the year-round transportation of oil produced at the platform under Arctic conditions.

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 at which this is being handled on a stationary platform.

Gennady Lubin, Executive Director, Gazpromneft Shelf, commented: “Production volumes at the Prirazlomnoye field are steadily increasing. The project is progressing on schedule, and the despatch of this special tenth consignment from Prirazlomnoye is further evidence of the effectiveness of development on the Arctic Shelf — both in terms of technology and economics.”

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The Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometres from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 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.

Production — under pilot testing of the Prirazlomnaya platform — commenced in December 2013, with the first consignments of the new Russian “Arctic Oil (ARCO)” being despatched from the platform in April 2014.

In total, around 300,000 tonnes of crude were produced at the field in 2014 — a volume expected to double in 2015 as injection and absorption wells are brought on stream. One production well is currently operating at the field, with drilling of a further four planned in the future.

The project is being managed by Gazpromneft Shelf, with export of ARCO oil handled by Gazpromneft Trading GmbH — both of which are subsidiaries of Gazprom Neft.