Photo: Illustration; Source: Gazprom

Gazprom starts building ice-resistant platform for extreme conditions of Arctic field

Russian energy giant Gazprom has started construction of an ice-resistant platform for its field located in extreme ice and climate conditions of the Arctic shelf.

Gazprom said on Thursday that a foundation-laying ceremony for the ice-resistant platform (ICP) took place that day at the shipyard of Southern Shipbuilding and Repair Center, part of United Shipbuilding Corporation, in the Astrakhan Region.

The platform will be used in the development of the Kamennomysskoye-Sea field, which is located in the Ob Bay of the Kara Sea.

The field is unique in terms of its gas reserves, which amount to some 555 billion cubic meters. Production operations are due to start in 2025, with a design output (for Cenomanian deposits) of 15 billion cubic meters per year.

The field is situated in a marine environment characterized by low temperatures (up to minus 60 degrees Celsius), heavy storms, shallow depths (5–12 meters), and thick and dense freshwater ice.

Extreme conditions

According to Gazprom, the development of this field will become the first shelf project in the world to be implemented in such extreme ice and climate conditions.

In view of these factors, it was decided to use a special ice-resistant platform as the key facility in the development of the field. The platform will be more than 135 meters long, 69 meters wide, 41 meters tall from the base to the helicopter pad and its weight will exceed 40,000 tons in total.

The structures placed on the platform will include, inter alia, main and auxiliary drilling modules, operational and energy complexes, and living quarters for 120 people.

The platform will be used to build 33 main directional production wells. Later on, another 22 wells for maintaining production rates will be placed on satellite ice-resistant conductor platforms that do not require the permanent presence of personnel.

The extracted gas will be fed into pipelines and arrive onshore into a comprehensive gas treatment unit and a booster compressor station. After that, the gas will go into Russia’s Unified Gas Supply System.

The full scope of modelling and design for the ICP was performed by Russia’s shipbuilding research institutions.

V-shaped platform

To protect the ICP from thick ice, the support structure will be V-shaped, and nearly all of the facility’s equipment will be encased in the hull and thus protected from cold and wind.

The ICP will be firmly fixed on the muddy bottom of Ob Bay with the help of a piled gravity base foundation: the platform will be placed on the seabed, the underwater part of the ICP will be filled with seawater and then fixed in place with 56 piles more than 2 meters in diameter, driven 47 meters into the seabed.

Separate components of the platform will be simultaneously put together in Astrakhan, Kaliningrad, Severodvinsk, Yekaterinburg, and Rybinsk. The ICP will be finally assembled in one piece in Kaliningrad.

In the summer navigation period of 2024, it is planned to tow the ICP to the field, after which flare booms and a helicopter pad will be set up at the facility.

Construction operations will involve about 7,000 Russian workers and specialists.

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