Gazprom Neft commissions a new heliport in the Arctic

Gazprom Neft has commissioned its new “Arctic” heliport at its Varandey shift camp, with the first flight having already transported 16 shift workers to the Prirazlomnaya platform in the Barents Sea.

The most cutting-edge solutions for arranging flights under the harsh conditions of the Arctic have been deployed in building the heliport, which is equipped with a landing strip, apron, passenger service area complete with air-traffic control tower, and facilities-support buildings. The heliport is equipped with the latest radio and meteorological equipment, navigation and lighting systems.

Up to 26 flights will leave for the Prirazlomnaya rig from the Arctic heliport every month. Total throughput at the airport is expected to hit 10,000 people per year once maximum traffic-handling capacity is reached.

Design and construction of the airport was started in 2015, with about 50,000 tonnes of construction materials being delivered to Varandey in the space of five years — freight being delivered by sea during the summer from the port of Archangelsk, and over winter ice roads during the cold season. All buildings at the Arctic heliport have been built 2.5 metres above ground-level to protect natural permafrost soils and to protect the area from sea flooding. The complex is equipped with standalone essential infrastructure, including its own boiler room, diesel power plant, transformer substation, water-supply and sanitation systems, and a sewage treatment facility.

Crews are transported to the Prirazlomnaya rig in modernised Mi-8 AMT helicopters from Gazpromavia. Transport and logistics strategy at Prirazlomnaya involves several such vehicles, specially equipped — in line with stringent safety regulations — for flights over water. Every helicopter is equipped with emergency light strips, push-out windows and two 25-person life rafts. The flight time from Varandey to the Prirazlomnaya rig is typically around 40 minutes.

Igor Rustamov
Igor Rustamov, Director General, Gazprom Neft Shelf: “The “Arctic” heliport is one of the most high-tech, best-equipped heliports in the Arctic Circle. The successful launch of this heliport is the result of highly coordinated and good-quality work on the part of the company’s various divisions and service departments in St Petersburg and Varandey. The heliport going into operation will make transporting personnel to the rig more reliable, as well as improving sustainability in logistics on the Prirazlomnoye project — and, going forward, on other projects in Gazprom Neft’s offshore portfolio in the Barents Sea.”


The Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the south—east of the Barents Sea, 60 kilometres offshore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 79 million tonnes. The licence to develop this field is held by Gazpromneft-Shelf LLC, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft. Commercial development of the Prirazlomnoye field started in December 2013. A new oil blend, “ARCO”, was launched on the global market in April 2014. Gazprom Neft produced its 15-millionth tonne of oil at the Prirazlomnoye field in November 2020.

The ice-resistant “Prirazlomnaya” offshore rig was designed and constructed in Russia specifically for development of this field, and is capable of handling all technological operations — drilling, production, storage, and processing and offloading of the finished product. The Prirazlomnaya rig is designed for use under the most extreme environmental and climatic conditions: meeting the most stringent safety requirements, it is capable of withstanding maximum ice loads.

Varandey is a shift camp used by the company as a temporary accommodation site for personnel working on the Prirazlomnoye project. The complex includes hotel-standard hostel accommodation with 180 beds, domestic and commercial facilities, a heliport, and a fully equipped and operational health centre.

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