First offshore Arctic oil loaded

Apr 28 2014

The first oil shipment from the Prirazlomnaya platform, Russia’s first offshore project to produce hydrocarbons in the Arctic, was undertaken on 18th April 2014, local reports said.

It was shipped on Sovcomflot’s (SCF) 70,000 dwt Arctic shuttle tanker ‘Mikhail Ulyanov’, which will regularly load from the platform with her sister vessel ‘Kirill Lavrov’ under a long-term agreement between SCF and Gazprom Neft Shelf - the Gazprom subsidiary operating the project. The first cargo was destined for Rotterdam.

Arctic class ice-resistant oil platform Prirazlomnaya and the two shuttle tankers, together with support vessels, will supply up to 6 mill tonnes of crude oil per year to the market operating throughout the year at extremely low temperatures and in severe ice conditions .

The platform was built at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, while the two Arctic tankers were built at the Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg for SCF.

The financing was provided by the Russian State Corporation ‘Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs’ (Vnesheconombank).

“The unique experience accumulated by Russia shipbuilding, oil and gas, shipping companies and financial organisations in co-operation for implementation of Russia’s first offshore oil production project in the Arctic will be applicable for the development of natural resources in the Arctic,” said Sergey Frank, SCF president and CEO to local reporters.

“The loading of first oil to the ‘Mikhail Ulyanov’ was undertaken after a comprehensive inspection and testing of all loading systems, including special training for the crew, practising the tankers’ and support fleet interaction, implementation of a programme on test approaches to the platform in ice conditions, etc,” Mikhail Suslin, SCF deputy director general in charge of safe navigation, said.

Both the Arctic shuttle tankers were built in accordance with the rules of a dual registration between the Russian Register of Shipping (RS) and Lloyd’s Register. The tankers work on the ‘double acting’ principle, which means that the vessels are able to move astern, breaking ice up to 1.2 m thick. They can also also navigate ahead in ice-free water, or in young, one year-old ice of up to 0.5 m thick.

They are equipped with two Azipod propulsion units; a dynamic positioning system; a helicopter pad and an Arctic bow loading system.

The Prirazlomnoye field was discovered in 1989 and is located in the Pechora Sea shelf 60 km offshore at a water depth of 19 to 20 m. The field is estimated to contain 71.96 mill tonnes of oil reserves.

Gazprom Neft Shelf, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom OJSC, holds the license to develop the field. 

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