July 9, 2013
Published in corporate Gazprom Magazine Issues 7–8
This year Gazprom will bring into production two offshore hydrocarbon fields. It will be another stage in the Company’s intense preparations for entry into the Russian continental shelf on a large scale. Gazprom is nowadays the only Russian company that has the necessary experience and technical means to expand its oil and gas presence offshore with its own resources.
Preparations – intermediate results
Gazprom currently owns the largest and most cutting-edge functioning fleet of drilling rigs and special-purpose support vessels for operations on the Russian continental shelf. For instance, in order to drill offshore exploratory and production wells, two semi-submersible floating drilling rigs were constructed, namely Polyarnaya Zvezda and Severnoye Siyaniye (can operate at the depth of 70 to 500 meters) as well as the Arkticheskaya jack-up floating drilling rig (10 to 100 meters) and the Obsky-1 floating drilling complex (up to 10 meters). The Amazon jack-up floating drilling rig was upgraded for drilling in the Arctic conditions at the depth down to 40 meters. Gazprom operates the state-of-the art Saturn and Neptun tug/supply vessels created for servicing the floating drilling rigs. The Vladislav Strizhov and Yuri Topchev versatile icebreakers are used especially for supplying the Prirazlomnaya offshore ice-resistant stationary platform in the Pechora Sea. The Dunai, Desna and Kuban tug/supply shallow-water vessels are designed for operation in the Ob and Taz Bays and offshore Yamal, the Akademik Golitsyn research vessel – for surveying the waters and the seabed in the construction and pre-development areas of offshore oil and gas facilities, the Gazshelf crane vessel – for performing work in offshore fields as well as cargo handling operations, the Gazpromshelf ice-class replenishment tanker – for bunkering offshore facilities with fuel. And, finally, this May the Ivan Sidorenko ice-class supply vessel designed for servicing floating drilling rigs in the Arctic shelf conditions, delivering rotating crews and fighting fire was launched. It will allow extending the seasonal duration of drilling operations in the waters of freezing seas. The construction of Ostap Sheremeta, another vessel of the kind, is nearing completion at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant; it is to be commissioned next April. It is planned to use both vessels for supporting the operations on the continental shelf of the Sakhalin Island as part of developing the Kirinskoye and Yuzhno-Kirinskoye gas and condensate fields.
In addition, Gazprom is actively engaged in creating the infrastructure for developing the Russian shelf, for instance, the onshore support base of Gazflot and the Arctic Center in Murmansk. No other company in Russia owns the capacities comparable to the ones mentioned above, and neither do they have the necessary experience in offshore operations. Suffice it to say that since 1995 till now Gazprom has added 3.23 billion tons of fuel equivalent of reserves within its offshore projects, discovered seven offshore hydrocarbon fields, and this year it will launch gas production in the Sea of Okhotsk and oil production in the Pechora Sea.
This year Gazprom will bring into production the Kirinskoye gas and condensate field and the Prirazlomnoye oil field.
Top-priority projects and plans
This year Gazprom will commission the Kirinskoye gas and condensate field and the Prirazlomnoye oil field. Kirinskoye is located 28 kilometers offshore the Sakhalin Island 90 to 100 meters deep. Its development will be a pioneer domestic project involving the use of subsea well completion technologies without offshore production platforms – production facilities are located onshore. The field capacity will reach 5.5 billion cubic meters a year. Together with the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye gas and condensate field the Kirinskoye field will subsequently (in 2018 according to the schedule) serve as the resource base for the Vladivostok-LNG project.
The Prirazlomnoye field is located in the Pechora Sea 60 kilometers off the shore at the water depth of 19 to 35 meters. The Prirazlomnaya offshore ice-resistant stationary platform constructed on Gazprom’s order is used here. It was installed in August 2011 when the startup operations and acceptance tests started. This unparalleled stationary platform is a large-sized offshore oil recovery facility with production and utility units enabling to perform the entire development process – from well drilling and oil recovery to feedstock loading to shuttle tankers.
Gazprom’s shelf development program until 2020 provides for geological exploration aimed at both new offshore fields prospecting and detailed exploration of already discovered ones. It is planned to drill at least 50 exploratory wells as well as commission two more fields – the Dolginskoye oil field and the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye gas and condensate field during this period. The first field is located in the Pechora Sea 110 kilometers off the shore at the water depth of 35 to 45 meters. It is undergoing detailed exploration –two exploratory wells will be drilled here between 2013 and 2014. The Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field is located 40 kilometers offshore the Sakhalin Island at the water depth of 100 to 200 meters. “We have adopted a program for rapid exploration of the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field and we will allocate RUB 15 billion into it,” said Vsevolod Cherepanov, Head of the Gas, Gas Condensate and Oil Production Department. “It is planned to drill two exploratory wells this year, and two more – in 2014.” He explained that the field’s C1+C2 reserves were currently estimated at 560 billion cubic meters of gas. Drilling operations will enable Gazprom to add C1 explored reserves there. Next year’s exploration activities provide for surveying the field’s edges, including its eastern flank. “There is a chance of new discoveries there. The primary data gives an indication that a considerable addition of gas reserves is possible there,” stressed Vsevolod Cherepanov.
It should be remembered that Gazprom has fully prepared the Shtokman gas and condensate field with its unique reserves for pre-development.
Due to the termination of framework agreements signed by Shtokman Development shareholders, the decision was made to create a new model of cooperation with foreign partners on the basis of LNG production providing for different commercial conditions and the optimized technical concept of the Shtokman field development. The project is to be implemented in line with Gazprom’s technical concept, namely, gas transportation in a single-phase state, the FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) platform, condensate storing on the platform, an LNG plant construction in the Orlovka River valley. The design will be primarily based on the project documents generated by Gazprom. At the moment design and survey operations are underway for the offshore facilities and the marine port with LNG storage facilities. By late 2013 it is planned to complete the design for the offshore part of the project followed by the environmental expert review as well as Gazprom’s corporate expert review and state expert review. These operations will be completed in the third quarter of 2014. Giprospetsgaz prepared the technical part of project documents for the marine port facilities in the Teriberka Bay, including those for the LNG storage. Late last year the documents were submitted for the state environmental expert review which required certain corrective actions. These documents are to be submitted to the State Expert Evaluation Department in the third quarter of 2014. The site preparation project for the LNG plant in the Orlovka River valley (including the riverbed replacement) was developed and approved by the State Expert Evaluation Department. The terms of reference for the LNG plant were drawn up. The Corporate Costs Department of Gazprom holds an open invitation to the tender for the LNG plant design.
“No fundamental changes were made to Shtokman since it was announced that capital expenditures would be revised and the project would be optimized,” Vsevolod Cherepanov said. “We didn’t change the project deadline – it is 2019.”