Drilling rig arrives at Gazprom’s Pechora Sea field
The GSP Saturn drilling rig has been delivered for test drilling at the Dolginskoye field. The jack-up rig was contracted by Gazprom Neft’s subsidiary, Gazpromneft Sakhalin, which operates the Dolginskoye field on the continental shelf in the Pechora Sea.
An exploration well will be drilled from the platform during the ice-free months of 2014 to further investigate the field’s geological structure and prepare it for full-scale development.
The sea at the drilling location is approximately 40m deep; the well will be 3,500m in length and located 75km offshore. The project documentation for the drilling work at Dolginskoye was approved at public hearings in Naryan-Mar (Nenets Autonomous Region) in December 2013.
Drilling will continue in 2015-2016, and Gazpromneft Sakhalin is in the process of selecting a subcontractor to carry out work during the ice-free seasons in the years that follow.
The GSP Saturn was transported to the location by a special Ice Class B vessel to ensure the utmost safety. Throughout the transportation from Vlissingen in the Netherlands to the platform’s destination, a rescue vessel was on hand round the clock to supervise and respond immediately to any potential incidents.
The rescue vessel will remain on duty 24 hours a day while the platform is in operation at the field. Gazpromneft Sakhalin has also chartered four vessels specially designed for the Arctic environment to carry out ancillary drilling operations. All of these are Ice Class and equipped with DP-2 dynamic positioning systems that allow them to maintain a fixed position for loading in extreme weather conditions. The field’s support fleet is equipped to all international naval safety standards.
The GSP Saturn is authorised to drill on the Arctic shelf and has undergone cutting-edge refurbishment.
In April 2014 the platform was inspected by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), which confirmed its compliance with all drilling safety regulation. Lloyd’s Register Drilling Integrity Services, the world leaders in independent technical inspections of offshore drilling facilities, also approved the rig for Arctic operations. The audit took place in May 2014 confirming that all the necessary provisions for operating in severe climactic conditions were in place. At the end of May 2014 the Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor) performed an on-site inspection of the platform and confirmed its adherence to all of the requirements of Russian law pertaining to industrial and environmental safety.
The Dolginskoye oil field lies in the middle of the Pechora Sea, 120km south of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and 110km north of the mainland. The field was discovered in 1999; the sea is approximately 35-55m deep in the field area. 2D seismic work has been carried out on more than 11,000 linear kilometers, and 3D seismic on 1,600 linear kilometers. Three exploration wells have been drilled: two at North Dolginskoye and one at South Dolginskoye. Another exploration well – North Dolginskoye 3 – will be drilled in 2014. Recoverable reserves are currently estimated at over 200 million tonnes of oil equivalent.
The GSP Saturn was thoroughly refurbished in 2009; this included fitting drilling and marine equipment and equipping the platform for operation in northern latitudes under severe wind and wave conditions. The Saturn meets the latest international standards for industrial and environmental safety and has held Dutch and Danish permits to drill on the Arctic shelf since 2009. In 2013 the platform carried out drilling work on a project for German Wintershall in the North Sea.