MOSCOW, August 26 (Itar-Tass) — The Unique marine ice-resistant stationary oil platform Prirazlomnaya on Friday will be delivered to the Prirazlomnoye offshore oilfield in the Pechora Sea.
This is the first Russian project for the extraction of hydrocarbons on the Arctic shelf and the world’s first platform that will operate in extreme climatic conditions in the Arctic: in the pack ice and temperatures dropping to 50 degrees Celsius below zero.
Captain of the oil platform Sergei Kostromskoi told Itar-Tass by telephone that the platform with the help of tugs has covered nearly 1,000 kilometres during an eight-day voyage from Murmansk: “Contrary to the traditional for this time of year weather the Barents Sea was almost calm – the wind force did not exceed 5 metres per second, which allowed the caravan to move at a speed of 3 knots on the average.”
“After the arrival to the point (Prirazlomnoye field) we will need another 1.5 to 2 days for anchoring and ballasting,” Kostromskoi specified. Then the platform will be put on the seabed at a depth of 20 metres, and its base will be strengthened with a berm – an underwater bank of 100,000 tonnes of rubble in addition to 122,000 tonnes of concrete ballast that has already filled the underwater caisson structures.
“The transportation is being completed as planned, without any remarks and incidents. A team of 96 people that are now on the platform is testing the life support systems and is preparing the platform for the key personnel accommodation,” Valery Borodin, Deputy Director General of Sevmash Shipyard that built the platform, said.
This platform is the main element in the development of the Prirazlomnaya oilfield with recoverable reserves of 46 million tonnes. Shifts teams of 200 workers will produce oil and pump it into tankers in the harsh conditions of the long Arctic winter with gale-force winds, and the platform created with the use of the world’s best technologies and domestic ideas will have to withstand highest ice loads.
The production at the Prirazlomnoye offshore oilfield is planned to be started in the first quarter of 2012. The oil platform is to attain full capacity – 7 million tonnes annually – in seven years.
The offshore platform will allow year-round required technological operations: drilling and exploitation of up to 40 wells, production, storage and shipment of oil to tankers in, to produce heat and electricity.
Prirazlomnoye is an Arctic offshore oilfield located in the Pechora Sea, south of Novaya Zemlya, Russia. The field was discovered in 1989. In 1993, the development license was issued to Rosshelf, a subsidiary of Gazprom, and the field was to be operational by 2001. In June 2000, Gazprom and German energy company Wintershall signed a memorandum on cooperation in developing the Prirazlomnoye field. Also Rosneft wanted to join the project. In 2002, the license was transferred to Sevmorneftegaz, a joint venture of Gazprom and Rosneft. Later Sevmorneftegaz became a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom. There is a plan to pass the Prirazlomnoye development to Gazprom Neft, an oil arm of Gazprom.
Prirazlomnoye field has reserves of 610 million barrels. The field development concept is based on the single stationary Prirazlomnaya platform. The oil platform, constructed by Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, is expected to be completed by 2011 and after that the drilling will start. The Prirazlomnaya platform would be equipped with the topsides of the former Conoco’s Hutton field TLP platform, which was the first production Tension Leg Platform ever built. Produced oil will be transported by ice breaking shuttle oil tankers Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov, built in Admiralty Shipyard and operated by Sovcomflot, to Floating Storage and Offloading vessel Belokamenka, located in Kola Bay near Murmansk. Gazprom considers to build an oil refinery in Teriberka at the location of the LNG plant of the Shtokman’s development for processing oil from Prirazlomnoye and Dolginskoye fields. The concept of the development was designed by Vniigaz Institute, a subsidiary of Gazprom. The estimated maximum annual oil production volume for is expected to be 6.6 million tonnes. The total investment is expected to be about US$1.03 billion.
Drilling plans envisage up to 40 directional wells (19 producing, 16 injection and five reserve). All wells will be drilled from the single rig on the platform, with simultaneous drilling and production. Perimeter water flooding of horizontal injection wells will occur at near-fracturing injection pressures. This will result in a maximum annual plateau production volume of 7.55 million tonnes by the fifth year. Production is expected to last for 22 years.
Oil transfer will be carried out in two stages. The 360,000t floating platform Belokamenka will be installed in an ice-free part of Kola Bay, up to 1,100km away. Oil from Prirazlomnoye will be transferred to Belokamenka by ice breaking shuttle tankers of up to 220,000t. The crude will then be exported by up to four 150,000dwt to 170,000dwt super tankers. There will also be two 16MW multifunctional icebreakers for assisting the tankers as well as carrying out safety and environmental tasks. The platform will be supported by a supply base at Arkhangelsk.