Russian oil firm Rosneft has started drilling of the Tsentralno-Olginskaya-1 well at the Khatangsky license area in the Laptev Sea.
In a statement from Monday, Rosneft said that the well is the northernmost drilled at the Russian Arctic shelf.
The Khatangsky license area is located in the Khatanga Bay in the north of the Krasnoyarsk Region. Area acreage is 18,709 square kilometers at a sea depth which reaches 32 meters. Currently, Rosneft holds 28 license areas on the Arctic shelf with total resources of 34 billion tonnes of oil equivalent.
The exploration drilling was launched by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin via video link-up with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin who was on the shore of the Khatanga Bay.
During the video link-up, Putin said: “We are seeing the start of work to develop a whole oil and gas province, which preliminary data suggest contains a vast quantity of energy resources.
“Horizontal drilling is a complex and high-tech operation. This is just the first well. There is much more work ahead. I would like to wish you good luck, and I hope for this undertaking’s success.”
Rosneft head Sechin added: “We completed 21 linear kilometers of seismic studies that revealed the existence of 114 promising oil and gas-bearing structures. Preliminary estimates suggest that the Laptev Sea’s total potential geological resources could come to 9.5 billion tonnes of oil equivalent.”
There are no sea ports in the vicinity of the Khara-Tumus peninsula and the navigation period in this area lasts no longer than two months a year.
Despite that, Rosneft said it delivered more than 8,000 tons of cargo from the sea port of Arkhangelsk to the drilling site during the 2016 summer navigation period.
Two ice-class cargo vessels delivered the drilling rig, equipment and materials for drilling, and accommodation modules over a distance of 3,600 kilometers across the White, Kara, and finally the Laptev Sea.
The drilling operations will be performed by RN-Burenie, Rosneft’s in-house service company. During the project’s implementation results of the work of the first year-round research base in the Arctic region will be used. The research base was set up by Rosneft in 2016 in the proximity of the drilling site in Khatanga Bay.
Tsentralno-Olginskaya-1 is the first well that will be drilled in the offshore area of the Laptev Sea. Sechin informed President Putin during their video call that the drilling would be done from the coast, as it considerably reduces construction costs of the well.
“The design depth is up to 5,000 meters with a subsequent horizontal leg. The technology we have enables us to drill with a vertical deviation of up to 15,000 meters,” added Sechin.
Rosneft said that, since 2012, investments in Arctic shelf development amounted to about RUB 100 billion ($1.8 billion). The company plans to maintain the pace of its activities, and investment volumes are expected to grow two and a half times, up to RUB 250 billion ($4.5 billion) in the period from 2017 to 2021.
Rosneft CEO Sechin also mentioned other plans regarding the Russian offshore: “We started working in the Kara Sea in 2014, acting on your (President Putin’s) instructions, and discovered a very important field – the Kara oil and gas-bearing province.
“This year, after starting on the Khatanga block, we will be drilling in the Black Sea. Next year, we will drill in the Barents Sea, and in 2019, we will return to the Kara oil and gas field, and will continue our work in the eastern Arctic.”
President Putin emphasized the importance of the development of Arctic oil and gas potential by state-owned companies: “We have tremendous untapped offshore and coastal reserves in the Arctic.
“Given the tremendous value and importance of these reserves of hydrocarbons and other minerals, we have allowed only companies in which the state holds a majority stake to take part in this work. Licenses have been accorded only to Rosneft and Gazprom. Rosneft should undoubtedly make the best possible use of these privileges.”