The millionth barrel of oil has been produced at the Prirazlomnoye field, in Russia's Pechora Sea, in the Arctic, operator Gazprom Neft announced.
The second tanker to deliver the oil to North West Europe in the next few days is currently being loaded. The first tanker carrying oil from Prirazlomnoye set off from the deposit in April.
A further two tankers will transport around 1MMbo from the Prirazlomnoye field before the end of the year. In total, about 2.2MMbo will be produced at the Prirazlomnoye field in the first year of its development, said Gazprom Neft.
But, the firm has admitted it may need to turn to alternative equipment suppliers to meet production targets at the field as western sanctions tighten, Reuters reported.
The agency reported the firm's first deputy CEO Vadim Yakovlev saying he believed it could stick to its production targets, but that if further sanctions were imposed they were looking to options to buy equipment from alternative sources or producing it in Russia or Asia.
Gazprom Neft describes Prirazlomnoye is the world’s first project involving oil extraction on the Arctic shelf through a stationary platform. Extraction as part of pilot production began in December 2013.
One production well has been drilled at the deposit and the drilling of an injection well is expected to be completed shortly. There are also plans to complete the main drilling work for an absorption well by the end of 2014. A further four wells are to be drilled in 2015.
In total, the project will involve the commission of 36 wells, comprising 19 production wells, 16 injection wells and one absorption well.
The Prirazlomnaya offshore, ice-resistant, stationary oil production platform was developed specifically for this field to facilitate all technical operations, including drilling, extraction, oil storage, preparation and shipment of oil products, says Gazprom Neft. The Prirazlomnaya platform, built by Sevmash Production Association, was designed to operate in Arctic conditions and its design specifications rule out the possibility of oil spills during the extraction, storage and shipment of oil.
The Prirazlomnoye field was discovered in 1989. It is located on the Pechora Sea shelf 60km offshore (Varandey settlement) at a water depth of 19m to 20m.
Gazprom Neft says the Prirazlomnoye field contains 72 million tons of oil reserves with a potential to achieve annual production of 6.6 million tons.
Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of Gazprom Neft’s Management Board, said: “Gazprom Neft is the first company to extract oil on Russia’s Arctic shelf. The production of the millionth barrel of oil at the Prirazlomnoye field is a milestone and further proof of the consistent development of the project and its final transition into full-scale development. Gazprom Neft plays a leading role in developing oil deposits on the Arctic shelf and we can build on this experience for new Arctic projects in the future.”