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In Russian Arctic waters, unprecedented seismic mapping

State-owned Rosneft is this summer conducting seismic studies in both the Kara and Pechora Seas.

Together with partners, Rosneft is now unfolding major seismic operations in Russian Arctic waters. Special ships are operating both at the Yuzhno-Russky field in the Pechora Sea and in the Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-1 and Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-2 fields in the Kara Sea. While the former field is one of the Arctic structures, where Rosneft has not yet teamed up with partners, the two latter are part of Rosneft’s comprehensive cooperation agreement with ExxonMobil.

As previously reported, several of the vessels engaged in the operations use the Norwegian port of Kirkenes as a service point. The local company Henriksen Shipping earlier this year landed a major contract with WesternGeco, a world leading geophysical services company owned by Sclumberger, engaged in the Kara Sea operations.

In the Kara Sea, three vessels are conducting 3000 square kilometers of 3D seismics at the Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-1 field. Among them is the “Western Trident”, a top modern vessel owned by Western Geco. In addition, the Russian ships “Neftegaz-61” and “Kapitan Kosolapov” are engaged. It is the company Dalmorneftegeofizika, which is operating as contractor in the works, while technology and equipment from Western Geco is being applied, RIA Novosti reports.

In the Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-2 structure a total of 5,300 kilometers of 2D seismics will be conducted. Engaged in the works are the ships “Geolog Dmitry Nalivkin”, as well as the “Sleipner”. Responsible for the operations is the Russian MAGE, a company specializing in offshore seismic exploration.

The Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-1 and 2 are, along with the Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-3, key components in the agreement between Rosneft and ExxonMobil. The three fields together include 23 perspective structures over a major part of the Kara Sea. Total resources are estimated to 4,9 billion tons of oil and 8,3 trillion cubic meters of gas.

Rosneft and ExxonMobil in October 2011 signed their historic cooperation deal. The two companies are reportedly now preparing tender procedures for the design and production of a major platform to be used in the area. The tender is due in September, Oilru.com reports.

In the Pechora Sea, Rosneft has hired the company Yuzhmorgeologia, which currently is conducting 3D mapping of a 1,200 square km area. The ships “Iskatel-5”, the “Vyborgsky”, the “Petrogradsky”, as well as 20 support ships are involved, RIA Novosti informs. The Yuzhno-Russkoye field covers a 9,700 square km area and resources are estimated to 270 million tons of oil and 64 billion cubic meters of gas.

The Yuzhno-Russkoye field is one of Rosneft’s five Arctic assets where a partnership agreement with another company remains to be concluded. The company, Russia’s biggest oil producer, has a total of 12 licenses in the Arctic.

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