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Rosneft touts major light oil find from “northernmost well in the world” in the Arctic

Rosneft announced a major oil discovery at the East-Prinovozemelskiy-1 license area in the Kara Sea, following the successful completion of the drilling of the northernmost well in the world—the Universitetskaya-1 well. The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of West Siberia. The drilling was completed in record time: one and a half months, the company said.

Click to enlarge.

I can inform you about the discovery of the first oil/gas-condensate field in the new Kara sea oil province. The first oil was extracted. It is an astonishing sample of light oil, which based on the results of the analysis performed, is comparable to the Siberian Light oil. The resource base estimate of just this oil trap is 338 bcm of gas and more than 100 million tonnes of oil [approximately 733 million barrels]. And this is just the estimates of this very structure. This is an outstanding result of the first exploratory drilling on a completely new offshore field. This is our united victory, it was achieved thanks to our friends and partners from ExxonMobil, Nord Atlantic Drilling, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, Baker, Trendsetter, FMC. We would like to name this field Pobeda [Победа, “victory” in Russian].

—Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft

The Universitetskaya structure covers an area of 1,200 thousand kilometers with a 550 m high hydrocarbon trap. Its resources account to more than 1.3 billion tons of oil equivalent. A total of some 30 structures were found in three East Prinovozemelskiy areas of the Kara Sea, and the entire resource base of the three areas is estimated at 87 billion barrels or 13 billion tonnes of oil equivalent.

ExxonMobil and Universitetskaya-1
In 2011, Rosneft signed an agreement with ExxonMobil on the development of the East Prinovozemelsky and the Tuapse field in the Black Sea. (Earlier post.) Rosneft owns two-thirds of the $3.2 billion-joint venture, while Exxon controls the remainder.
In August, Rosneft and ExxonMobil joint venture company Karmorneftegaz began drilling of Universitetskaya-1 using the West Alpha rig. (Earlier post.)
However, US sanctions against Russia over Ukraine gave American companies until 26 September 26 to cease all operations with blacklisted Russian companies—including Rosneft.
On 19 September, ExxonMobil announced that the US Treasury Department, recognizing the complexity of the Universitetskaya-1 well and the sensitive Kara Sea arctic environment, granted a license to ExxonMobil and other US contractors and persons involved to enable the safe and responsible winding down of operations related to this exploration well.
The license recognizes the need to protect the safety of the individuals involved in these operations as well as the risk to the environment. All activities related to the wind down will proceed as safely and expeditiously as possible, the company said.

According to experts the volume of the Kara Sea oil province resources exceeds the oil and gas resources the Gulf of Mexico, the Brazilian shelf, the shelf of Alaska and Canada, and it will be comparable to the resource base of Saudi Arabia, Rosneft said.

The sea depth at the drilling site is 81 m (266 feet), the depth of the straight well is 2,113 m (6,932 feet). The well was drilled in open-water conditions at the 74th circle of longitude, 250 km (155 miles) offshore.

As a result of the drilling formation samples were obtained, a pilot borehole was drilled (diameter 8.5 inches to a depth of 600 m, 1,969 feet) and horizontal drill samples were collected. The team collected substantial new geological data which will be analyzed. Upon the completion of the analysis a conclusion on the resource base of the discovered field will be made. At the moment the geological data interpretation is being conducted, and the field’s development model is being elaborated.

Prior to the start of operations in the Kara Sea the West Alpha drilling rig was heavily upgraded. The rig is equipped with two groups of blowout preventers and an independent submarine locking device, which in case of minor risks will seal the well. The rig is held at the drilling site by an anchoring positioning system, consisting of 8 anchors. This guarantee an elevate rig stability. Most of the platform is out of the reach of the waves, which can disturb its operations. The rig is capable of drilling to a depth of up to 7 km (22,966 feet).



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