The task of exploring for and developing new offshore hydrocarbon reserves on Russia’s frontier Arctic shelf is one of the toughest and most sensitive challenges faced by the oil and gas industry. And it must be done at a time when the wider global community’s attention is sharply focused upon the key areas of safety and environmental protection.
With Russia forging ahead with plans to find and develop resources in new regions including the Arctic, as well as extending the operational life of its vast but maturing producing areas, the need to develop and further refine technologies and procedures that ensure the Arctic is exploited in a safe and environmentally responsible manner is paramount.
This is the background setting for the country’s premier technical event, SPE Russian Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Technical Conference & Exhibition, which is being held in Moscow from 26-28th October.
Rosneft Vice President, Mr Mikhail Efimovich Stavskiy, stressed the need to “transform the forecast resources of a particular shelf, including the Arctic, into real production resources as soon as possible”. Mr Stavskiy, who is Chairman of the event’s Executive Committee, described the eventual development of Russian Arctic oil fields as “a serious challenge” for all companies involved and highlighted that it would entail the use and in some cases creation of special technologies.
Technologies to help expand Russia’s Arctic opportunity
In particular technologies will have to focus on expanding the window of opportunity on the Arctic shelf,
which is usually icebound for all but 3 months of the year. This will mean in particular a need for technologies that can increase operating times, such as platforms that can continue operating in icy conditions, and the building of subsurface structures for safe operation of subsea wells. Add to this the requirement for new build ice-class tankers, underground facilities for the treatment and pumping of oil, and the need for immediate and constant monitoring of the well sites, and it is clear that many challenges must be overcome if the Arctic is to become Russia’s next reserves powerhouse.
“All these issues and technologies are to be discussed at the SPE Conference and Exhibition in Moscow. And many of these issues will be presented in the SPE conference papers of companies which have extensive experience of working on shelves including that of the Northern seas,” added Mr Stavskiy.
He also stressed, however, that it was “not necessary to invent the bike several times when there are already good solutions”. He continued: “The oil and gas industry is so structured that each company has its own breakthrough technologies. The exchange of experience allows us to avoid mistakes by way of reconsidering the known problems and conducting new experiments. This applies to everything: from the tasks of decreasing the production costs to increasing the level of interaction between specialists of different companies – both servicing and extracting.”
Co-chairman of the Programme Committee for the conference is Mr Mars Khasanov, Director for Science at Rosneft. He highlighted the vital need to engage best practices and new technologies so that Russia can profitably develop new regions in the long-term, especially the Arctic shelf. “Internationally, the issues of shelf field development and platform engineering have already been solved,” he stated. “The task of our Conference is to obtain some generalisation of this experience. The challenge for Russia consists of the fact that most of our prospective fields are in the Arctic regions. But the issue of field developments in Arctic conditions is a challenge for foreign specialists, too. Therefore, a major part of our discussions will be devoted to the Arctic shelf.”
Each day the conference will feature panel and technical sessions, as well as topical luncheons, all with simultaneous translation available.
This year’s show will be held in Pavilion 75 at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VVC) in Moscow under the overall theme ‘Best Practices and Innovations for Mature and Frontier Developments’.
The SPE Russian Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technical Conference and Exhibition is organised by the long-established event partnership between Reed Exhibitions Ltd. and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).