Gazprom Neft’s output of the first oil produced on the Russian Arctic Shelf showed a 2.5-fold increase in 2016

Gazprom Neft has met annual production targets at its Prirazlomnaya offshore platform (the first and, thus far, the only project on the Russian Arctic Shelf at which commercial hydrocarbon production is currently ongoing), with a total 2,154,000 tonnes of “ARCO” (Arctic Oil) being produced at the Prirazlomnoye field in 2016 — an over 2.5-fold increase on 2015 volumes, which saw 800,000 tonnes of oil despatched to customers in North West Europe.

Oil produced at the Prirazlomnoye field is characterised by its high density (at approximately 906 kilogrammes per cubic metre), high sulphur content, low carbon residue, and the high volume of fractions that can used in lubricant production. Unique chemicals used in road construction, tyre production, and in the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries can be produced from ARCO oil.

Oil production at the Prirazlomnoye field commenced in December 2013, with the first consignment of the new Arctic oil despatched in April 2014 — the instruction to commence loading being given by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. Oil transportation from the field is being handled by two shuttle tankers — the Mikhail Ulyanov and the Kirill Lavrov. Safety is foremost in all operations, with loading commencing only once 30 separate safety requirements are all complied with. The offloading line for the pumping of oil to tankers is equipped with an emergency shut-down system, allowing offloading to be terminated instantaneously.


The Prirazlomnoye field is the first — and, thus far, the only — field on the Russian Arctic Shelf at which oil production is being undertaken (commercial production having begun in December 2013). The first consignments of a new Russian “Arctic Oil (ARCO)” were despatched from the platform in April 2014. The licence to develop this field is held by Gazpromneft-Shelf LLC, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft.

Initially discovered in 1989, the Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometres from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 million tonnes. The “Prirazlomnaya” ice-resistant offshore rig was designed specifically for development of this field, and is designed for use in the most extreme environmental and climatic conditions, as well as meeting the most stringent safety requirements and withstanding maximum ice loads.

All wells at the Prirazlomnoye field are 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 metres around the field. In addition to which, 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, preventing the ingress of oxygen and 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 will be 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 (“drilling sludge”) and other production waste all pumped into a special re-injection well.

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