Russian oil giant Rosneft has begun shipment of crude oil extracted at the Northern Tip of Chayvo license off the coast of Sakhalin, with the first tanker carrying Sokol-grade crude leaving port on November 21.
The tanker was loaded at the Sokol single-point oil terminal located 5.7 km east of DeKastri Terminal, Khabarovsk Krai. DeKastri is the first terminal in Russia to ship crude oil year round amid the harsh environment of the Arctic.
Another export batch is scheduled to ship before the year’s end. A fleet of purpose-built oil tankers will carry the hydrocarbons, each 100,000 tonnes in deadweight, escorted by icebreakers. The tankers are reinforced ice class, double hull type to safely transport the cargo even in heavy ice conditions.
Sokol is a premium-quality grade of crude oil—very low in sulfur, at a mere 0.27%, and weighing 0.835–0.837 kg per cubic meter (36.7 °API). For that reason, Rosneft explains, it fetches a higher price that the Dubai, the reference grade in Southeast Asia, and the Oman crude. Although Japan and South Korea are the largest buyers of the crude, many shipments are bound for other Asia and Pacific countries, such as China, Thailand and others.
The Northern Tip of Chayvo license lies on the shallow Northeastern Sakhalin shelf. Its oil and condensate reserves stand at over 15 million tonnes, and gas at close to 13 billion cubic meters.
Rosneft launched a large-scale project to drill the first development well in the North Chayvo license in May 2014; the license was put in production in September of this year. Field development model involves the use of innovative drilling technology. The drilling was done using Yastreb, a unique rig without equal in the world.
In the longer term, North Chayvo will deliver annual plateau production of around 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil. The field’s gas will be the resource base for the proposed Far Eastern LNG Plant.