Gazprom Neft further enhances reliability at its Prirazlomnoye project with a new icebreaking vessel

The Sayan Polaris multipurpose icebreaker will further enhance safety and reliability in operations on the Prirazlomnoye project in the Barents Sea

The Sayan Polaris, built in 2018, is owned by Sevnor Management AS and has been leased to Gazprom Neft Shelf. It will be used as a supply vessel, a floating hotel and, when necessary, will undertake emergency response and rescue operations.

The vessel has been modernised by specialists at JSC Marine Arctic Geological Exploration (MAGE) to operate under the challenging environmental and climatic conditions of the Prirazlomnoye project, with icebreaking capacity having been enhanced, passenger capacity increased, and a special crane and emergency oil-spill-response (OSR) equipment installed. Its reinforced hull means it is able to operate in northern waters, even under record low temperatures, while its innovative propulsion system and cutting-edge dynamic positioning system, able to hold the vessel at any point, without anchoring or mooring, will improve safety, reduce operational costs and minimise environmental impacts.

Multipurpose icebreaking vessels deliver freight from supply bases in Murmansk to the rig, ensure technological and environmental operational safety and, where necessary, secure shuttle tankers during cargo handling. Forming part of the project’s support group, the vessels are “double-acting”, meaning they can move both forwards and backwards in ice — with the result that they have greater manoeuvrability in icebound conditions.

The Sayan Polaris can accommodate up to 100 people onboard. A range of functional facilities have been built into the ship — including a conference hall, two mess rooms, an infirmary, a recreation room and a gym — to provide comfortable long-term accommodation for specialists involved in work on the Prirazlomnaya platform.

«Our plans include developing a logistics base to service offshore projects. We are in negotiations on this with Federal ministries and, of course, it’s of major importance to us to secure an order from a direct customer. As you see, the first ‘green shoots’ are already here. But we need to make sure that as many exploratory and offshore-project servicing vessels as possible come to Murmansk, and are moored here. In line with instructions from the President, the Federal Government is willing to allocate additional resources to this. Our task is essentially an economic one, connected with developing services and shipyard repairs in line with the base we already have, and actively developing this. We need new clients, new investments, new jobs and new tax revenue».
Andrey Chibis Governor of the Murmansk Oblast
«It’s no accident that the handover of the new vessel is taking place in Murmansk, where Gazprom Neft has established an onshore supply base supporting operations on the Prirazlomnaya platform. Russia’s first oil-production project on the Arctic Shelf is actively developing, which demands strengthening our operational fleet. The Sayan Polaris is equipped with the latest technology, and has the wide-ranging functionality essential for developing the Prirazlomnoye field. The unique competencies and experience the company has built up in working in icebound waters means we can qualitatively expand our offshore portfolio, undertake planned seismic works at license blocks accurately and on time, and consolidate Gazprom Neft’s leadership in developing the Arctic».
Sergey Chigay Acting CEO, Gazprom Neft Shelf
«Involvement in offshore projects is one of the most important aspects of our work. This new vessel is a genuine source of pride. We did a great deal of work in improving the Sayan Polaris for the Prirazlomnoye project. This is currently the only vessel of its class in the Russian fleet meeting all the unique criteria required for year-round operation in the Arctic».
Alexei Kazanin Chairman of the MAGE Board of Directors
Notes for editors

The Prirazlomnoye field is the first — and, thus far, the only — oil-production project on the Russian Arctic Shelf. The field went into commercial production in 2013, with a new oil blend — ARCO — launching on the global market in April 2014.

The Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the south—east of the Barents Sea, 60 kilometres offshore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 79 million tonnes. The licence to develop this field is held by Gazpromneft-Shelf LLC, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft.

The ice-resistant Prirazlomnaya offshore rig was designed and constructed in Russia specifically for development of this field, and is capable of handling all technological operations — drilling, production, storage, and processing and offloading of the finished product. The Prirazlomnaya rig was designed in line with the characteristics of the Arctic region, and is designed for use under the most extreme environmental and climatic conditions, meeting the most stringent safety requirements and being capable of withstanding maximum ice loads.

The full-service continuity and safe operation of the Prirazlomnaya rig is made possible by the project’s transport and logistics system which, in addition to two shuttle tankers, includes two multifunctional icebreaking vessels, the Vladislav Strizhov and the Yuri Topchev.