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    Gazprom, Wintershall Dea start up new Achimov block in Siberia


Combined production from the 4A and 5A blocks is expected to exceed 14bn m³/yr by 2027, according to Gazprom. [image credit: Gazprom]

by: Joseph Murphy

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Gazprom, Wintershall Dea start up new Achimov block in Siberia

Russia's Gazprom and Germany's Wintershall Dea have started production at a new section of the deep Achimov layer of Western Siberia's Urengoy gas field.

Natural gas and gas condensate are now flowing from the Achimov 5A block as part of the project's commissioning phase, Gazprom said on April 21. The partners kicked off production at the Achimov 4A block in January. Gazprom has a 75% interest in each block and Wintershall Dea has 25%, which it obtained in 2015. Their gas is now being fed into Gazprom's gas transmission system.

The Urengoy gas field is one of the world's largest, with nearly 11 trillion m3 of gas. It was brought into production in the 1970s and to date, development has focused largely on the field's  Cenomanian and Valanginian reservoirs, at depths of between 1,100 and 3,200 m. Over a decade ago, however, Gazprom started developing the deposit's Achimov layer, some 4,000 m below the surface.

Combined production from 4A and 5A is expected to exceed 14bn m3 of gas and 5mn metric tons of condensate annually by 2027.

Gazprom has divided Urengoy into five blocks. The company is also partnered with Wintershall Dea at block 1A, which was brought online in 2011 and reached a plateau rate of 10bn m3/year in late 2019. It works alone at block 2A, which started production in 2009 and has a capacity of 8.4bn m3/yr, while block 3A remains undeveloped. Gazprom estimates that the five blocks could flow as much as 37bn m3/yr of gas combined.

The Russian supplier has been trying to get Austria's OMV on board as an investor at 4A and 5A. But despite years of talks, no investment has been finalised. OMV CEO Rainer Seele confirmed in early February that the expiry date for its option to take a 25% position in the blocks had been extended by three years until 2025. After closing a $4.7bn deal with the UAE's Mubadala to expand its stake in Vienna-based plastics group Borealis last October, OMV is now focusing on divestments rather than acquisitions, according to the company boss.