The Mikhail Ulyanov tanker has delivered the third shipment of Arctic oil (ARCO) produced at the Prirazlomnoye field to consumers in northwestern Europe. Crude shipments from the field totalled approximately 200,000 tonnes in 2014. A fourth tanker is expected to be loaded with the new oil before the year-end.
Prirazlomnoye is the world’s first project involving oil extraction on the Arctic shelf using a stationary platform. Extraction as part of pilot production started in December 2013. The new type of oil, ARCO, was first delivered to the global market in April 2014.
A new oil drilling platform designed in Russia specifically for the Arctic’s climate and weather patterns was constructed specifically for the Prirazlomnoye field in Russia. The platform is designed for operation in extreme Arctic weather conditions, meets the strictest safety requirements and is capable of withstanding maximum ice loads.
One production well is currently operational at the field, with work on an absorption well expected to be completed by the end of 2014, and several more development wells drilled in 2015.
The Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea is located 60 km off the coast. Recoverable reserves of oil at the field are in excess of 70 million tonnes. The project operator and subsurface licence holder is Gazprom Neft Shelf LLC.
The Prirazlomnaya is a unique platform designed and built in Russia. The platform ensures the safety of all technical operations, including drilling, extraction, storage, preparation and loading of oil.
Extracted oil is held in tanks located in the platform caisson with its 3-metre thick concrete walls lined with a two-layer sheet of corrosion- and wear-resistant plated steel. The caisson's safety margin vastly exceeds actual loads. The platform’s "wet” oil storage method prevents oxygen from entering containers, thereby avoiding the formation of explosive mixtures.
The facility has a zero discharge system that prevents drilling and production waste from being dumped into the sea. Waste is pumped into a special absorption well or, if required, collected in containers and transported to shore for subsequent disposal.
Oil is loaded onto tankers by means of direct loading facilities located diagonally on opposite sides of the platform (south west and north east). Safety is a primary concern and oil is only loaded if all 30 of the required criteria are met simultaneously. The tanker loading line is equipped with an emergency shutoff system that has a maximum response time of seven seconds.
Enhanced ice-class Arc6 arctic oil tankers Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov with a deadweight of 70,000 tonnes, built specifically for transporting oil from the Prirazlomnoye field, allow for year-round delivery of oil from the field. Both vessels are equipped with the dynamic positioning (DP) system. They operate on the double action principle: they are capable of navigating through ice with the stern side forward, providing additional manoeuvrability in challenging ice conditions. The vessels, wearing the Russian flag, are owned by Sovkomflot.
Prirazlomnaya photo gallery