Gazprom to start Okhotsk Sea drilling

February 22, 2017

Russia's Gazprom Neft is set to drill the first exploration well on the Ayashsky Block in the Sea of Okhotsk after signing a contract for use of a Japanese drilling rig.

Gazprom acquired a license for the exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons at the Ayashsky Block earlier this year. 

The Ayashsky block is next to the developed fields of the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects in this already proven oil- and gas-bearing region, forms part of the Sakhalin-3 project. Recoverable reserves at this latest Gazprom Neft asset are estimated at more than 100 million tonne of oil equivalent (MMtoe). 

The Mitsubishi MD 501 design Hakuryu 5 semisubmersible is owned by Japan Drilling  and will drill a well on the Ayashsky licence block in the 2017 summer season. The ABS-classified rig, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1977, went through modification work in 2014, followed by further modernization to withstand the conditions of the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Sea of Okhotsk sits between the east coast of Russia's mainland and the Pacific Ocean. The sea is subject to ice floes and harsh weather conditions in the winter.  

Only Russian firm Gazprom and Rosneft have rights to drill on the Russian Continental Shelf. Last year, Gazprom made a gas and condensate discovery on the Kirinsky block in the Sea of Okhotsk. The firm was drilling an exploration and appraisal well on the Yuzhno-Lunskaya structure within the Sakhalin III project. 

Also last year, Rosneft and Statoil started drilling on the Ulberikanskayaat prospect in the Lisiansky license in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Well Ulberikanskaya-1 was due to be drilled using the Nanhai-9 semisubmersible drilling rig in about 150m water depth. The well was about 420km from the port of Magadan. A second well was also due to be drilled within Magadan-1 section in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Rosneft had also said it and Statoil planned to acquire more than 26,000km of 2D seismic; more than 2000sq km of 3D seismic; 67,000sq km airborne geophysical surveys during 2016.

Speaking about its latest drilling in the Sea of Okhotsk, Andrey Patrushev, deputy CEO, Shelf Projects Development, Gazprom Neft, said: “Gazprom Neft continues to investigate all of the company’s license blocks located on Russia’s continental shelf. We are convinced that the unique experience we have accumulated on the Russian Arctic Shelf can be successfully utilized in implementing projects throughout Russia’s other promising oil regions, and that using international best practice in drilling and well testing will ensure safe and effective operations.”

Image from Gazprom Neft. 



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