Development of hydrocarbon resources on the continental shelf is one of Russia's economic priorities and a key strategic area for Rosneft. The largest holder of continental shelf licences, Rosneft carries out a full range of exploration operations in the Russian Arctic, Far East and southern seas in accordance with its commitments, while also developing offshore fields abroad as an operator or a member of consortia and participating in joint international projects as part of such consortia. In implementing continental shelf projects, we focus on environmental monitoring of the areas of operations, mitigating our impact and preserving biodiversity.
Offshore exploration in Russia
In 2020, in line with its licence commitments, Rosneft continued exploration and prospecting for oil and gas in offshore areas in the Russian Arctic, Far East, and in the seas of the south Russia.
In the 2020 field season, Rosneft completed 3D seismic surveys on the shelf of the Pechora and Kara seas, covering 1,235 sq km at the Yuzhno-Russky licence area and a total of 1,562 sq km in Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-1 and Severo-Karsky licence areas. The seismic data collected in 2020 are undergoing analysis (processing and interpretation), with optimal decisions on the future exploration strategy to be made upon completion.
In 2020, the Company finished constructing three wells in offshore licence areas – Novaya-2 in the Azov Sea and Vikulovskaya-1 and Ragozinskaya-1 on the Kara Sea shelf.
Drilling of the Novaya-2 exploration well in the Azov Sea started on 21 October 2019. The drilling confirmed the oil and gas bearing potential of the Novoye field to the west. In August 2020, the well was classified as a production one.
The Company drilled Vikulovskaya-1 appraisal well in Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-1 licence area on the Kara Sea shelf, with a commercial gas bearing potential identified following the interpretation of geographic information system (GIS) data and open-hole testing of prospective intervals. This was how we discovered the field named after Marshal Georgy Zhukov. The State Commission for Mineral Reserves approved the field's recoverable gas reserves at 800 bcm.
Rosneft also drilled Ragozinskaya-1 appraisal well (Western Dome) in Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-2 licence area in the Kara Sea, with a commercial gas bearing potential identified in the Upper and Lower Jurassic deposits following the interpretation of GIS data and open-hole testing of prospective intervals. The discovered gas condensate field was named after Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky. The State Commission for Mineral Reserves approved the field’s recoverable reserves at 514 bcm of gas and 53 mmt of gas condensate.
Our comprehensive drilling programme in the Kara Sea helped us to create a new local oil and gas cluster with estimated reserves in excess of 1.7 tcm of gas and ca. 200 mmt of oil and condensate. The cluster comprises three fields, including the offshore Pobeda field discovered in the Kara Sea in 2014.
Going forward, Rosneft will continue to tap into the oil and gas potential of the Kara Sea.
In 2020, we started the onshore drilling of Madachagskaya No. 2PO appraisal well in the Medynsko-Varandeysky licence area (Pechora Sea shelf). The drilling completion is expected in 2021.
Regional geological survey
The Company continues to develop and update regional geological models of Russian and foreign offshore fields located in the areas of its presence and interest (Russian Arctic, Far East, southern seas and foreign waters). The rock material collected earlier during onshore field geology expeditions in Sakhalin, the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago, New Siberian Islands, Black Sea and the Caucasus region, underwent laboratory and analytical testing to mitigate the sub-surface risks related to all elements of petroleum systems (source rocks for oil and gas, reservoir rocks, and cap rocks) within the Company’s offshore licence areas in the Far East and the Arctic. The results will serve to update the geological model of the region and licence areas.
In the fall of 2020, Rosneft, for the first time in the history of the Arctic research, drilled ten shallow stratigraphic wells in the north of the Kara Sea during a large-scale expedition. The project's key objective was to collect core, a valuable rock material used as a source of geological information to determine the age (stratification), composition, and formation conditions of the Arctic shelf rocks. In total, we sampled 300 m of core, which is essential for updating the geological structure and oil and gas potential of the North Kara basin.
Innopraktika and Lomonosov Moscow State University's Department of Geology will conduct comprehensive laboratory and analytical studies of the samples to make oil and gas potential estimates for various age sedimentary basins in the Arctic more reliable and substantiate a new geological model of the North Kara region.
In 2020, soil surveys were performed for infrastructure facilities at the Kaigansko-Vasyukanskoye Sea field located offshore Sakhalin in the Sea of Okhotsk.
The results of comprehensive offshore surveys provided full sets of data for well design and construction, subsea facility construction and transportation of produced hydrocarbons, including engineering and environmental protection. Detailed data on soil composition in the area will enable experts to predict geological and geological engineering processes and address risks that might arise during the drilling of production wells and field facility construction.
The following environmental protection activities were carried out under licence obligations:
- The mouths of previously drilled wells were inspected in the Kara Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Black Sea. All work was carried out in line with the requirements of the Russian HSE laws. The technical condition of the inspected wellheads was satisfactory, with no hydrocarbon leakages detected.
- Artificial reproduction of aquatic biological resources was conducted to compensate for any potential damage to water life and its habitats.
While implementing the biodiversity preservation programme for the Company’s licence areas, we prepared a reasonable list of indicator species to assess the sustainability of Arctic ecosystems and analysed the occurrence rates for various species existing in these areas.
Offshore oil and gas production in Russia
In 2020, we continued to successfully implement Sakhalin-1.
Rosneft is a member of the project within the consortium that includes ExxonMobil (United States), SODECO (Japan), and ONGC Videsh Ltd. (India). The Company’s share is 20%, and the project operator is Exxon Neftegas Limited.
The Sakhalin-1 project involves the development of four offshore fields: Chaivo, Odoptu-Sea, Lebedinskoye (within the Odoptu licence), and Arkutun-Dagi, located in the Sea of Okhotsk on Sakhalin Island’s north-eastern continental shelf.
State-of-the-art technologies and project management methods are used to develop the project fields. At the Odoptu-Sea field, oil is produced from an onshore site using super-extended reach horizontal wells; at the Chaivo field, oil is extracted from an onshore site and the Orlan platform using wells with record-length boreholes; while Arkutun-Dagi is developed using Berkut, a fixed offshore drilling and production platform that features the world’s heaviest topside.
In 2020, the Sakhalin-1 project produced a total of 12.4 mmt of oil and gas condensate (Rosneft’s share was 2.5 mmt), with over 2.4 bcm of gas (0.5 bcm attributable to Rosneft) supplied to consumers.
Oil from the Sakhalin-1 fields is delivered to the Chaivo onshore oil treatment facility on Sakhalin Island and then transported by pipeline to the De-Kastri oil export terminal in the Khabarovsk Territory.
Northern tip of the Chaivo field
Oil production at the northern tip of the Chaivo field involves five wells drilled from the shore. The wells have a unique, complex design and extended horizontal displacement and leverage smart completion systems with flow control devices to limit gas breakthroughs and maximise production. The offshore project's operator is RN-Shelf-Far East, the Company's subsidiary.
The actual oil and condensate output in 2020 was 0.5 mmt, while the total amount of gas supplied to consumers was 0.05 bcm.