10-millionth barrel of oil produced at Prirazlomnoye field

March 2016 saw the 10-millionth barrel of oil produced at the Prirazlomnoye oilfield — located on the Russian Arctic Shelf in the Pechora Sea and currently under development by Gazpromneft Shelf. Shipment of this landmark barrel was completed by the Mikhail Ulyanov tanker on 10 March, the 22nd consignment since commercial production started at the field.

The transportation of products from the Prirazlomnaya rig is effected by two double-hulled ice-class (Arc6) oil tankers, the Kirill Lavrov and the Mikhail Ulyanov, able to guarantee the safe delivery of crude produced. 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 and launched in 2009.

Gennady Lubin, Executive Director, Gazpromneft Shelf, commented: “The 10-millionth barrel of oil is a major landmark, proving that oil production on the Arctic Shelf can be both safe and viable. We are pushing ahead with opening up the Prirazlomnoye field, with the production and shipment of hydrocarbons running to schedule.”

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Initially discovered in 1989, the Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometres from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 million tonnes. Its development has required the installation of a the “Prirazlomnaya” offshore rig, designed for use in the most extreme climatic and environmental conditions, fully compliant with the latest safety standards, and able to withstand maximum ice-loads.

Prirazlomnoye is the only project on the Russian Arctic Shelf at which commercial oil production is currently ongoing. Active development of the project commenced in mid‑2013 with the drilling of the first well in the summer of that year, and the Prirazlomnaya ice-resistant offshore rig commencing production in December 2013. This new Russian oil has been named “Arctic Oil (ARCO)”, with the first consignments from Prirazlomnoye commencing in April 2014.

All wells to be drilled at Prirazlomnaya will be located within the platform, the base of which then acts as a buffer between the well and the open sea — which can reach depths of up to 20 metres around the field. In addition to which, all wells are specially equipped to prevent the possibility of any uncontrolled emission of oil or gas. Oil storage at the platform involves “wet sump” methodology, preventing the ingress of oxygen into storage tanks (located at the base of the platform) to prevent the creation of potentially explosive conditions.

The offloading line for the pumping of oil to tankers is equipped with an emergency shut-down system, which is activated instantaneously. Emergency icebreaking vessels will be on permanent emergency standby around the platform, equipped with the latest oil-spill recovery equipment.

A “zero-emissions” system is in operation at the Prirazlomnaya rig, with drilling fluid, bit cuttings (“drilling sludge”) and other production waste all pumped into a special re-injection well.

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