Gazprom Neft has successfully conducted oil spill response exercises in ice conditions

At the end of March 2018, in the area of the sea ice-resistant stationary platform Prirazlomnaya, planned tactical and special exercises on search and rescue of people and oil spill response in ice conditions were successfully conducted.

The event was organized by Gazprom Neft Shelf, involving shuttle tanker Mikhail Ulyanov, towage vessel Aleut, multifunctional icebreaker supply vessel Yuri Topchev, rescue vessel Murman, icebreaker Vladivostok, as well as helicopter support by Gazprom Avia.

The exercises held under extreme hydrometeorological and ice conditions typical for the Arctic region of the Barents Sea: the wind reached in 13 m/s, temperature up to —24° C, ice thickness up to 70 cm (ice deformation 1.5–2 m), ice pressure 1–2 points, concentration of 9/10ths to 10/10ths.

The purpose of the exercise is to respond to 10 tonnes oil spill, occurred during the shipment of oil to the tanker Mikhail Ulyanov at the Prirazlomnaya platform. In addition, there was an external communication downtime at the rig. Thus, the Emergency Response Management Group for emergency recovery at the rescue vessel Murman had a chance to work out such kind of situation for the first time.

There were several stages of the rescue operation, including people rescue and first aid practices, simulated oil spill response at the sea, taking necessary measures to protect the shorefront of Varandey village from the oil pollution as well as Prirazlomnaya rig personnel evacuation to the rescue vessel.

The exercises were headed by Ralif Gilfanov, Deputy CEO on Operation Activity Gazprom Neft Shelf, Chairman of the Emergency Prevention and Control and Fire Safety Commission.

According to the results of the exercises, the participants managed to cope with all the tasks, demonstrated high professional training to perform essential operations to search and rescue people, response to oil spills in Prirazlomnaya area in ice conditions and organize the platform personnel successful evacuation.

“Taking care of the unique Arctic ecosystem and human safety, also during the continental shelf industrial development processes is the main priority of our company. That is why it is very important for our personnel to be well prepared for any, even the most improbable emergency situation,” said Andrey Patrushev, Deputy General Director of Offshore Projects Development, Gazprom Neft.


At the moment, Prirazlomnoye is the only project on the Russian Arctic shelf where the commercial oil production is carried out. The commercial field development started in 2013. The new ARCO oil grade first entered the world market in April 2014. To date, the Prirazlomnaya platform has produced more than 6 million tonnes of oil. Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, is licensed as is the subsurface user of the project.

The Prirazlomnoye oil field was discovered in 1989 and is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 km from the shore. Recoverable oil reserves exceed 70 million tonnes. The offshore ice-resistant fixed platform Prirazlomnaya was created for oil field development purposes. It is designed for the operation under extreme climatic conditions, meets most advanced safety requirements and is able to withstand maximum ice loads.

All the wells operated at the field are located inside the platform, its base is simultaneously a buffer between the well and the open sea. The sea depth near the oil field is 20 m. Furthermore, the wells are equipped with oil and gas blowout preventing system. The oil storage system of the platform provides keeping the crude in the liquid state, excluding the possibility of oxygen penetration in the tanks provoking explosive environment.

The offloading line for oil pumping to the tanker is equipped with the emergency shutdown system working instantly. Near the platform, the specialized icebreaking vessels equipped with the newest oil-gathering equipment are constantly on emergency duty.

Prirazlomnaya works in accordance with the “zero waste” principle: used drill mud, sludge, and other manufacturing process waste placed into a special absorbing well.

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