Chinese drilling platform back in Russian Arctic

A Chinese drilling platform in the South China Sea in April 2018. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)
Drilling rig “Nan Hai Ba Hao” arrives in the far northern Russian city of Murmansk as Chinese oilmen get ready to resume exploration of Arctic waters.

It was heavy lift vessel “Hai Yang Shi You 278″ that on 23rd June sailed into the Kola Bay with the semisubmersible rig onboard. Two days later, representatives of port company Rosmorport unloaded the rig and put it on the waters just few kilometres from downtown Murmansk.

A total of six tugs and support vessels were involved in the operation, Rosmorport informs.

Drilled in Kara Sea last year

It is the second year in a row that the “Nan Hai Ba Hao” is in the Russian Arctic to drill for hydrocarbons. The rig also known as the “Nanhai VIII” was in the summer of 2017 transported to Murmansk by the same “Hai Yang Shi You 278”. It soon later set course for the Kara Sea where it drilled a well at the Leningradskoye field, a license owned by Gazprom.

The operation lasted more than three months and revealed that the Leningradskoye field holds as much as 1,9 trillion cubic meters of gas, 850 billion cubic meters more than previous estimates.

The license covers an area located west of the Yamal Peninsula in the Kara Sea.

Where will it drill this time?

It is not clear whether the “Nan Hai Ba Hao” will drill on the same license area as in 2017, but is likely that the operations are conducted in cooperation with Gazprom.

The Russian natural gas company has more than 30 offshore licenses, most of them in Arctic waters.

The 15,469 deadweight ton installation is owned by China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL). It can operate on water depths down to 1,400 meters. The drilling depths can be 7,600 meters. The rig has on previously occasions been on drilling assignments in the Russian far east.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Ottawa makes deal to buy three icebreakers for Canadian Coast Guard, CBC News

China: China opens bids for its first nuclear-powered icebreaker, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: Finland needs ambitious CO2 emissions cuts to fight climate change, say researchers Yle News

Norway: Russia’s Novatek turns to Norway to ease Arctic LNG exports, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Powerful LNG tankers head for China through thick Arctic ice, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. Coast Guard turns to Canada for help with designing its new heavy icebreaker, Radio Canada International

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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