Russia is Developing its Own Subsea Production Technology
Russia has announced the development of its own subsea production technology. The move is part of the nation's plan to reduce dependence on imported products in its oil and gas industry in the face of sanctions enacted in response to its annexation of Crimea.
Domestic subsea production systems are currently being developed under an order from the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade with the support of Gazprom and Russian research institutions. A prototype is expected in 2019 and comprehensive testing in 2020.
Subsea production makes it possible to produce hydrocarbons in severe climatic conditions, even under ice, with no platforms or other above-water facilities required. Currently, Kirinskoye, part of the Sakhalin III project, is the only field on the Russian continental shelf where hydrocarbons are extracted by a subsea production facility. Plans for a second subsea production system in the region are under development.
Russia is also evaluating proposals aimed at reducing the requirement for the import of offshore drilling equipment. Tests are already underway for offshore seismic and electric prospecting equipment prototypes. Domestic producers have already started to manufacture spiral heat exchangers and cold-resistant steel for LNG reservoirs, as commissioned by Gazprom.
A national engineering center and a specialized foundry complex to produce turbine blades for imported industrial gas turbines, is envisaged to eliminate the need for importing spare parts.
Russian pipe companies are also introducing pipes, associated equipment and structural materials for natural gas liquefaction and offshore development projects.
In the past, Gazprom has claimed to be largely unaffected by Western sanctions including with respect to the conclusion of new contracts for gas supplies with foreign parties. One of its mitigation measures is continuing comprehensive efforts towards technological independence and import substitution. Foreign equipment currently accounts for about five percent of total procurements, said Gazprom.