Consistent with scheduled development at the Prirazlomnoye field, a re-injection well has been brought into operation on the Prirazlomnaya ice-resistant offshore platform, following drilling operations by Russia’s Gazprom Burenie. The well will help streamline the use of resources at the field by improving the rate of oil recovery. The well is to be filled with what is known as “ballast water”* (the liquid displaced from oil storage tanks once these have been filled with crude), with the re-injection well allowing the ballast water to be used directly at the field, with no risk of any harm to the environment.

A “zero emissions” system has been integrated into the platform to prevent the discharge of any production or drilling waste into the sea: these will, instead, be re-injected into reservoir or transported onshore for further recycling.

Two production wells are currently in operation at the Prirazlomnoye field. An absorption well has also been drilled, which is now being brought to its full capacity. Altogether, the project envisages 36 wells being brought into production, including 19 production wells, 16 re-injection wells, and one absorption well.

Gennady Lubin, Executive Director, Gazpromneft-Shelf, commented: “We are systematically increasing momentum in developing the Prirazlomnoye field, while paying close attention to environmental safety. Utilising this re-injection well will promote not just the effective development of the field, but will also allow the recycling of drilling by-products, without any risk of harming the natural environment.”

* Oil storage at the platform involves “wet-oil storage” method, eliminating the risk of ingress of oxygen into storage tanks (located at the base of the platform) thus preventing the creation of potentially explosive conditions. The storage facility at the platform is kept constantly full, of either crude oil or water. “Ballast water” is the water used to displace the oil from storage tanks in transferring it to a tanker.

The Prirazlomnoye field is the first — and, thus far, the only — field on the Russian Arctic Shelf at which oil production is being undertaken (commercial production having begun in December 2013). The first consignments of a new ARCO blend were despatched from the platform in April 2014. Total production in the field’s first year of commercial production reached 2.2 million barrels (approximately 300,000 tonnes).

The Prirazlomnoye oilfield is located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometres from the shore. Recoverable reserves are in the order of 70 million tonnes. The operator on this project is Gazpromneft-Shelf LLC.

The ice-resistant “Prirazlomnaya” platform was designed and constructed specifically for development of this field, capable of handling all technological operations — drilling, production, storage, and the preparation and offloading of the finished product. It is designed for use in the most extreme environmental and climatic conditions, meets the most stringent safety requirements, and can withstand maximum ice loads.

All wells to be drilled at Prirazlomnoye will be located within the platform, the base of which then acts as a buffer between the well and the open sea. In addition to which, all of the wells are specially equipped to prevent the possibility of any uncontrolled emission of oil or gas. The offloading line for the pumping of oil to tankers is equipped with an emergency shut-down system, which is activated instantaneously.