A formal ceremony marking the first year-round shipments of Yamal oil via the Arctic Gates oil-loading terminal took place today at the Cape Kamenny settlement in the Yamal Peninsula (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug). Gazprom PJSC CEO Alexey Miller and Gazprom Neft PJSC CEO Alexander Dyukov were both present at the event.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin gave the instruction to commence the loading of Novoportovskoye oil onto the tanker, by video link.
The Novoportovskoye oil and gas-condensate field — the most significant in Yamal, in terms of reserves — is located 700 kilometres from onshore pipeline infrastructure: the reason for the first ever shipments of Yamal oil in the history of Russia’s oil and gas industry being made by sea.
The use of the very latest technologies in the construction of production, transportation and, most importantly, shipping (despatch) infrastructure has allowed commercial production to commence within just four years. Production of 6.3 million tonnes of crude per year is expected as early as 2018. Plans for the further development of the field will be confirmed before end-2017.
Oil from the Novoportovskoye field is transported by pipeline (of more than 100 kilometres in length) to the coast of the Gulf of Ob: this offers a critically low depth for sea navigation (at just 11 metres), as a result of which the oil-loading terminal is located directly in the sea, 3.5 kilometres from the shore. The terminal has capacity to load up to 8.5 million tonnes of oil per year, allowing the year-round despatch of Yamal oil by tanker for onward transportation via the Northern Sea Route.
The Arctic Gate offshore oil terminal is a unique facility, designed to operate under extreme natural and climatic conditions: temperatures in the region can drop below —50oC, with ice reaching thicknesses of up to two metres. With a two-tier protection facility, the terminal meets the most stringent environmental and safety standards.
All equipment at the terminal is fully automated, with a built-in hydraulic-impact protection system. A special system allows a tanker’s immediate disconnection from the terminal, while maintaining the hermetically-sealed integrity of the two components. “Zero-emissions” technology eliminates any risk of contaminants reaching the waters of the Ob Sea — an issue of overriding importance in protecting the ecology of the Arctic. In addition to which, the underwater pipeline connecting the terminal with the onshore storage facility (tank farm) is covered with an additional protective concrete casing.
Alexey Miller, Chairman, Gazprom PJSC, commented: “Gazprom is committed to the ongoing development of the Arctic. Successful oil production is ongoing at the Prirazlomnoye field — the only upstream development project on the Russian Arctic shelf. Development of a gas production centre — unparalleled anywhere in the world — is now running at full tilt on the Yamal Peninsula. Here, together with the gas centre, we are now developing a new oil province. The ‘Arctic Gates’ are now open for the despatch of Yamal oil to European customers via the Northern Sea Route, all year round.”
The Novoportovskoye oil and gas-condensate field is located in the south—east of the Yamal Peninsula, some 250 kilometres north of Nadym, and 30 kilometres from the coast of the Gulf of Ob. Recoverable C1 and C2 hydrocarbon reserves are estimated at more than 250 million tonnes. Field development is being management by operator Gazprom Neft PJSC.
The new “Novy Port” oil is classified as “medium-gravity crude”, and has a lower sulphur content (of around 0.1 percent) than Urals-blend crude.
The possibility of despatching oil by sea during the winter season was confirmed by Gazprom Neft as early as 2011, following a pilot voyage by a nuclear icebreaker from the port of Sabetta (in the north—east of the Yamal peninsula) to Cape Kamenny. Russia’s first ever experience of despatching oil from Yamal by sea took place in the summer of 2014.
Total investment in developing the Novoportovskoye field currently stands at RUB180 billion, with tax revenues generated over the course of the project expected to exceed RUB1.5 trillion.
A programme to increase the populations of commercial fish species in the north is being implemented throughout the development of the field. In particular, 2015 saw the release of approximately four million whitefish and other small fry into the Ob River and the Ob-Irtysh basin. A further 24 million small fry are expected to be released between 2016 and 2018.
- Novy Port photo gallery