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Prirazlomnoye field successfully ships first load of oil

22nd April 2014

Russia’s Arctic oil play has successfully completed the loading of its first oil shipment. The oil is destined for markets in north-western Europe and the command to begin loading was given by president Putin.

Prirazlomnoye field successfully ships first load of oil
The first oil cargo totalled 70,000 tons. It will be delivered to consumers in Europe by oil vessels Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov purposely built on Gazprom's request for shipping oil from the Prirazlomnoye field

On Friday, Gazprom loaded the first cargo of oil produced from the Prirazlomnoye field – the only Russian project for hydrocarbons development in the Arctic shelf.

The first oil cargo totalled 70,000 tons. It will be delivered to consumers in Europe by oil vessels Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov purposely built on Gazprom's request for shipping oil from the Prirazlomnoye field. It expects to ship 300,000 tons of oil from the field this year.

It is the first time that ARCO (Arctic Oil), the new type of Arctic oil produced from the Russian shelf entered the global market. It was purchased by one of the top European energy companies under the direct contract. Once the production volume of the Prirazlomnoye field is increased, a part of feedstock will be sold under long-term contracts.

The Prirazlomnaya offshore ice-resistant platform controls all field operations – drilling, production and storage, end-product processing and loading.

The oil produced is stored in a caisson with three-meter-high concrete walls covered with two-layer corrosion- and wear-proof clad steel plate. The caisson is able to store some 94,000 tons of oil. Its safety margin greatly exceeds the actual loads. In addition, a wet method of oil storage is used at the platform. The method eliminates the possibility of oxygen getting inside the tanks and thus prevents the creation of an explosive environment.

In order to pump the end products into oil vessels, special equipment was developed for direct oil loading. To avoid accidental oil spills, the loading block system goes off in seven seconds at most.

The loading point is chosen depending on a combination of natural factors – the sea surge, ice drift, currents, and wind. When an oil vessel goes beyond the sector serviced by one complex, the vessel is disconnected and moved to another facility. In order to exclude the incidental collision with the platform, oil vessels are equipped with dynamic positioning systems, which may anchor them despite the wind and wave loads.

“Gazprom has opened a new stage in the development of the Russian oil industry. The first oil produced in the Russian Arctic shelf, the first oil from the Prirazlomnoye field was loaded into the oil vessel to be delivered to consumers. From this moment the return on the investments in Prirazlomnoye will start,” said Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.

The official order to start loading was given over the phone by Russian president, Vladimir Putin. 

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