Production Milestone for Russia's Prirazlomnoye Field
This month, the 10-millionth barrel of oil was produced at the Prirazlomnoye oilfield located on the Russian Arctic Shelf.
Shipment of the landmark barrel was completed by the Mikhail Ulyanov tanker on March 10, the 22nd consignment since commercial production started at the field.
According to Gazprom Neft Shelf, the company plans to double production at the field in 2016. Peak production is planned for about 2020.
The transportation of products from the Prirazlomnaya rig is done by two double-hulled ice-class (Arc6) oil tankers, the Kirill Lavrov and the Mikhail Ulyanov. 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.
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.”
Prirazlomnoye is the world’s first project involving oil extraction on the Arctic shelf using a stationary platform.
Initially discovered in 1989, the Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometers from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 million tons. Its development has required the installation of 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 meters around the field. 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 are 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 and other production waste all pumped into a special re-injection well.
The platform has drawn criticism from environmental organizations, and in September 2013, two journalists and 28 activists from Greenpeace, later dubbed “the Arctic 30,” were arrested and imprisoned in Murmansk for over two months, following a protest against Arctic drilling.