Gazprom Mobilises Rig for Kara Sea Drilling
Russia's Gazprom has dispatched a drilling rig from the port of Murmansk to sink a well at the Leningradskoye gas and condensate field in the Arctic Kara Sea, it said on July 20.
The Chinese-built Nanhai VIII semi-submersible left the port on July 18, accompanied by two tugboats, two supply vessels, two passenger ships and a rescue vessel. After traversing the Barents Sea, the convoy will meet the Kigoriak icebreaking vessel, which will escort it through the Kara Sea on a 1,354 km journey.
Gazprom has continued drilling on Russia's Arctic shelf over recent years, despite low oil and gas prices, resulting in several new gas discoveries. But current market conditions make launching new production in the area uneconomic. Even the Russian government has conceded that no new Arctic offshore projects are likely to come on stream before 2030.
One exception is the Kamennomysskoye-more field, which Gazprom aims to launch in 2025. But this field is in shallow waters, very close to shore in the Gulf of Ob.
Nanhai VIII will drill a fifth exploration well at Leningradskoye to a depth of 2,700 metres. The field was discovered in 1992, in waters 50-100 metres deep. Gazprom completed its last well there in 2019, and now estimates the deposit to hold 3 trillion m3 of gas.