Arсtic oil field could be Russia’s biggest discovery in 30 years

The Payakha fields are located by the Yenisey River north of Dudinka, Russia. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
A major oil development project could soon unfold in the Yenisey River delta, Russia. Near the area where the river runs into the Kara Sea are vast oil resources stored under the local permafrost.
Russia’s state mineral extraction agency Rosnedra now confirms that the Paykha fields resource estimates are as much as 1,2 billion tons, newspaper Kommersant reports.

That is one of the biggest estimates ever made for a Russian oil field.

Big Oil along Arctic river

It is good news for company Neftegazholding and its leader Eduard Khudaynatov, who for years have been seeking ways to develop the Payakha area. Khudaynatov had previously estimated the field resources far lower, at about 600 million tons.

According to Kommersant, experts react with skepticism to the sudden major upgrade of the Payakha. Reportedly, only few exploration wells have been drilled in the area and seismic studies and data assessments remain sparse. No new oil samples have been presented by the company, the analysts say.

According to Neftegazholding, the lion’s share of the field resources are concentrated in the Peschany and Irkinsky structures, two of the company’s four licenses in the area. The two fields together hold as much as 804 million tons of oil, Khudaynatov and his oilmen now argue.

The Payakha fields are located along the eastern banks of the Yenisey, about 130 km north of the port town of Dudinka.

Boost for Northern Sea Route

The sudden upgrade of the fields comes as the Russian government is hectically struggling to add shipment volumes to the Northern Sea Route. President Vladimir Putin has requested a boost in Arctic shipping to an annual of 80 million tons by year 2024 and new infrastructure and industry is planned built to meet the ambitious target.

The Payakha fields could become a key part of the picture.

Previously, it was believed that the field by 2024 could provide up to five million tons to the Northern Sea Route. That estimate might now be increased.

Furthermore, the Payakha resources could become a crucial component in the new Arctic oil pipeline planned by Rosneft. The state oil company says it intends to build a 600 km long pipeline from the Vankor fields in western Siberia to the coast of the Taymyr Peninsula. It will have the capacity to carry 25 million tons per year and could also potentially include the Payakha resources.

Eduard Khudaynatov was previously himself the leader of Rosneft. He might now boost muscles in the Arctic together with his former colleagues.

Related links from around the North:

Canada: Report critical of federal infrastructure spending in Northern Canada, CBC News

China: Russia, China step up talks over Arctic shipping, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: Authorities in Arctic Finland plan zones for controversial rail line, Yle News

Norway: Norway expands Arctic drilling while promising emissions cuts, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia to spend €1 billion on Arctic gas terminal, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. Interior Dept. delays offshore drilling plan: report, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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