Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shtokman Launch Proceeding as Planned: Gazprom Looks to Under Sea Platforms in the Barents

It will be interesting to see what direction Russia goes with this development.

Shtokman Launch Proceeding as Planned

Joint impact of the Arctic climate, the ecosystem vulnerability, ice conditions and icebergs raise up the equipment manufacturing standards for this Barents Sea project.


On the first stage of the FEED project documentation development, Rubin design bureau and Doris Engineering were selected for undersea production facility and FPU platform, JP Kenny and Morneftegazproekt – for pipeline design and development work. Technip and its subsidiary Technip CIS selected as design contractors for the portal and technology complex, which includes the LNG plant.

A few months back, I asked if submarine tankers will be in Gazprom's future.

Part of the equation in the development of the submarine tankers is this:

In late 1997, the big offshore gas fields of Rusanoskoye and Leningradskaya in the Arctic Kara Sea were offered for companies to participate in detailed design studies. Their development, with 5 TCM of reserves located under moving and thick ice cover, is to cost $25 bn. The fields were proposed for subsea development, based on new technology, and could produce up to 1m b/d of syncrude over 60 years. The liquids should be produced by six syncrude plants to be built on an artificial island off the Yamal Peninsula.

The liquids would be exported to western markets by tankers from a terminal at Novaya Zemlya and to the far east by submarine tankers.

A subsea technology to drill production wells, install production systems and operate below moving ice without any support from surface vessels or platforms was identified in 1997 by a $4m technical and economic assessment (TEA) unit involving Werner Deep Engineering of the US and Maris International of the UK.

The system should include fully automated "wet" drilling rigs and mud processing units located on the seabed, and "one atmosphere" subsea control and power centres. The venture could also produce LNG for export to the far east by submarine tankers.

As I pointed to in the thread, Gazprom is investing heavily in Novaya Zemlya. And I also pointed to, in a previous thread, Conoco and other companies were studying ice loads on tankers.

Now with the pending issue on the Law of the Sea Treaty from the United Nations and the impact it will have on our developing offshore leases, it is no surprise that Russia has come up with the formation of a habitat protection area for polar bears in a region that Russia is doing extensive exploration.

But the exploration has shifted to floating platform units that can be moved and more importantly, the development of undersea technology which would fit with the development of submarine tankers. And quite frankly, it would fit the environmental standards that could be argued under the International Seabed Authority.

Because if you use tankers that break the ice, then you risk endangering the habitat of the polar bear, thus the Law of the Sea Treaty becomes an operative law that has a historical precedent on engaging countries on environmental matters.

Moreover, there is the concern of collective greenhouse gas emissions caused by LNG facilities on the surface and tanker emissions.

This development in the Barents should be of concern for both Palin and her pick Daniel Sullivan for attorney general.

As I said previously, questions should be asked of him about his stance on if he supports ratifying the LOS or not ratifying it.

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