Chinese drilling rig returns to Arctic Russia

The Chinese Na Hai 8 rig will again be drilling in Arctic Russia this year. (Rosmorport)
It is the third year in a row that drilling rig Nan Hai 8 arrives in Murmansk to prepare for drilling in Arctic waters.

The 15,469 deadweight ton installation previously also called the Nan Hai Ba Hao has been discharged from heavy loads vessel Red Zed I and now lies ready for action in the Kola Bay.

According to Rosmorport, the Russian port management authority, the operation was conducted on the 30th June and included complicated navigational exercises.

The rig is due to be located in Murmansk for ten days before it is tugged towards drilling grounds in Arctic waters.

From before in the Kola Bay are moored three powerful Norwegian support and tugboats. The Sea Spear, the Sea Surfer and Siem Emerald have been in the area for several days and might be the ships that will accompany the Nan Hai 8 out at sea.

It is not know where exactly the Nan Hai 8 will drill this year, but it is expected that it will be somewhere in the Kara Sea.

Major discoveries in recent years

The Chinese rig has over the last couple of years made some of the biggest discoveries on the Russian Arctic shelf.

The rig first made it to the Arctic in 2017, when it drilled in the Leningradskoye license area in the Kara Sea and expanded the resource potential of the structure by more than 850 million cubic meters of gas to a total of 1.9 trillion cubic meters. The year afterwards, it was back in the area to drill in the nearby Rusanvoskoye area. Both operations were made in cooperation with Russia’s natural gas company Gazprom.

The Russian natural gas company in May this year confirmed that the well drilling at the Rusanvoskoye revealed 390.2 billion cubic meters of gas. The discovery has been named after Soviet Minister of Energy V.A Dinkov and is located at 72 degrees North about 100 km off the west coast of the Yamal Peninsula.

The Nan Hai 8 was built in 1983 and currently sailing under Chinese flag. It is owned and managed by the China Oilfield Service Limited.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Premier of Northern Canadian territory frustrated by slow oil and gas development, CBC News

Finland: The world could transition entirely to cheap, safe renewable energy before 2050: Finnish study, Yle News

Norway: Another dry well for Norway’s Equinor in promising Arctic area, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Gazprom cuts spending, creates subsidiary focused on geological survey, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Democrats continue fight against drilling in Arctic wildlife refuge in U.S. Congress, 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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