Berkut platform begins operations

Three days after the Berkut platform was installed on the Arkutun-Dagi field, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin gave permission for the platform to begin operations via videoconference.

The Arkutun-Dagi field is part of the multi-billion-dollar Sakhalin-1 project, which also include the Chavyo and Odoptu fields. First oil for Arkutun-Dagi is expected YE 2014, with peak production in 2017. At that point, it will contribute 4.5 million tons of oil per year to the Sakhalin-1 project’s overall production of more than 10 million tons of oil (by 2018). Forty-five wells will be drilled- 28 oil producing, 16 water-injection wells, and 1 well for cutting re-injection- with a peak daily flow of 12,000tons.

Rosneft, part of the Sakhalin consortium, said that the platform was the largest of its kind, with President and Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin calling it the “world's most powerful drilling platform.” The 144m tall platform’s topsides traveled 2600km from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering’s Korean yard before arriving at its destination in the Sea of Okhotsk 25km off Sakhalin Island. The platform was designed specifically for subarctic conditions and can withstand a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, waves up to 18m high, ice flow pressure up to 2m thick, and temperature up to -44° C, Rosneft says. The platform, which weighs more than 200,000tons, will sit in up to 35m of water.

According to the transcript released by the Kremlin, Sechin told Putin that all installation and transportation work “went smoothly and without incident … in accordance with safety demands.”

Before granting the go-ahead to kick-start operation, Putin said: “Developing Sakhalin’s natural resources and continental shelf is of huge importance - one could say national importance - for Russia. Projects such as Berkut make it possible to develop rich but hard to access fields, build new facilities, create new jobs and in general build up the socioeconomic capability of the Far East, this region that is so important for our country.”

The Sakhalin-1 consortium is comprised of operator ExxonMobil subsidiary Exxon Neftegas Ltd. (30%), Rosneft (20%), Sodeco (30%), ONGC Videsh Ltd. (20%).

Photo of Berkut from Rosneft.

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