Two more Russian rigs deployed for Arctic gas drilling

Two more gas platforms are set to drill in the Russian Arctic this year. In this picture, a gas flare on a Rosneft platform off the coast of Vietnam. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)
Jackup rig “Arcticheskaya” has arrived in Murmansk (Northwestern Russia) after 5 months of repair in Singapore, and sister rig “Amazon” is ready to spud wells in the Gulf of Ob (central Russian Arctic).

It appears to be two Russian rigs that will be doing this year’s well drilling in Russia’s Arctic waters.

The “Arcticheskaya” on the 31st of May arrived in Murmansk after a two months transport operation from Singapore. The rig had undergone a series of planned repair works in a local yard, rig owner Gazprom Flot informs in its corporate newspaper. It was subsequently carried by heavy loads ship “Albatross” the long way towards the Russian Arctic.

The ship will be ready for exploration drilling in the Kara Sea (Russian Arctic) this year, the company informs.

Which fields will be drilled?

It is not clear exactly which wells are planned drilled, but it is likely to be in one of Gazprom’s licenses areas, among them possibly the Leningradskoye field.

In 2017, well drilling was conducted at the Leningradskoye (Russian Arctic). But then, the driller was Chinese company COSL and the rig was the “Hai Yang Shi You 720” (HYSY 720). The drilling reportedly revealed that the Leningradskoye field holds as much as 1,9 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Meanwhile, jackup rig “Amazon” has been spending the whole winter in the remote Arctic port of Yamburg. The 6,570 ton installation was in October 2017 transported to the shallow waters of the Gulf of Ob (Russian Arctic), whereupon Gazprom Flot started to build up a new crew.

It will be the first drilling season after a long period in lay-up, the company informs.

The “Amazon” is reported to engage in drilling in the course of the first half of July this year. It is not exactly clear which wells will be drilled.

According to the Northern River Shipping Company, which tugged the rig to Yamburg, the well is part of Gazprom Flot’s drilling program.

However, according to media reports, the rig will drill a well at the Severo-Obskoye field, a license belonging to Novatek and its subsidiary Arctic LNG-3.

Many rigs and ships in Russian Arctic
The “Valentin Shashin” drillship in the Kola Bay (Northwestern Russia) in 1989. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Russian companies have over the last years brought several rigs and drilling ships back to domestic waters. On 22nd March this year, the Russian flag was again raised at “Valentin Shashin”, the drillship that once found one of the biggest natural gas fields in the Arctic, the Shtokman field. The ship will from now on have Murmansk as its home port and operate for company Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNRG), a subsidiary of state-owned Zarubezhneft.

At the same time, geological exploration company Rosgeo is upgrading its drilling ship “Bavenit” to make it “one of the one of the best equipped geological exploration vessels in the world.” The “Bavenit” will this summer be engaged in Russian Arctic waters, the company informed.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada ill-prepared for Arctic shipping boom, G7 sustainability summit hears, Eye on the Arctic

China: Qingdao plays pivotal role in China’s Arctic strategy, Cryopolitics Blog

Finland: Finnish chemistry professor develops “revolutionary” biofuel, YLE News

Norway: Beauty spot in Arctic Norway set to become Barents oil terminal, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Gazprom orders LNG-propelled trains for Arctic railway, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Arctic winds: construction start for Europe’s biggest wind park, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Former UN climate chief speaks out against Arctic drilling, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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