No. 2, 2010

Valery Petrakov ,
Deputy Head of the LUKOIL Main Division for Oil and Gas Production


The Caspian is LUKOIL's main offshore oil and gas production area both in the near and the long term. In many respects, the Company's Caspian projects are unique with regard to the practice of subsoil use in recent Russian history in terms of the volume of exploration carried out, the effectiveness of the geological prospecting performed, the significance of the hydrocarbon reserves discovered and the scale of the technological solutions found.

The pioneer offshore project

Seven oil and gas fields with total recoverable reserves of hydrocarbons exceeding 1 billion tons of oil equivalent - that is what LUKOIL has discovered in the Northern Caspian at a depth of 4 to 35 m.

To develop two of these major fields, the Company has drawn up a stage-by-stage program designed to create an integrated offshore production complex capable of fulfilling all the requisite operations: from drilling wells to piping crude ashore.

The Company's Management Board decided to begin development of the new oil reserves with the Yury Korchagin field.

In 2009, LUKOIL completed the infrastructure of the field. The Company built two offshore fixed platforms: one for the drilling and production complex (LSP-1) and the second for residential purposes (LSP-2), joined by a bridge. An underwater pipeline was also laid for transporting the oil to a single point mooring with a floating oil tank farm set up in the ice-free zone 58 km from LSP-1.

The LSP-1 platform was constructed at the Lead Yard of the Astrakhan Shipbuilding Production Association. It has a mass of over 15,000 tons. LSP-2 was made of prefabricated assembly modules with all the systems and mechanisms installed, including the bridge module, at the LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft metalworks plant.

Some of the drilling, process and power equipment for the offshore platforms was provided by foreign companies. The drilling rig, for instance, was purchased abroad for the following main reasons: the need for big load capacity and for a top drive for drilling complex inclined and horizontal wells, and the need for equipment resistant to the aggressive marine environment.

In December 2009, JSC BKE Shelf started drilling development wells from LSP-1 and the field was started up in the first half of 2010. The produced oil is loaded on to tankers and taken to the port of Makhachkala. In 2014, LUKOIL plans to commission phase II of the Yury Korchagin field.

The main thrust

In 2014, LUKOIL also shedules to start up the Filanovsky field, LUKOIL's main one on the Caspian with recoverable oil reserves estimated at 170 million tons.

The field is to be developed in several stages, with the first of these involving start-up, by 2014, of the following offshore infrastructure facilities: LSP-1, equipped with a drilling complex, a wellhead assembly and gas-turbine electric power units; a central production platform intended for collection, treatment and transport of 8 million tons of oil and 1 billion m3 of associated gas a year, equipped with oil tanks, pump and compressor equipment, water treatment and injection equipment to maintain reservoir pressure (capacity: 14 million tons of water a year); a residential platform for 125 people; riser facilities, constituting the main platform for the underwater pipeline risers to surface, on which it is planned to locate smart pig receivers/launchers as well as the flare boom; a 200 km oil pipeline to the main shore facilities; and a 400 km gas pipeline to Stavrolen.

It should be noted that over 100 km of the oil and gas pipelines will be under water and require concrete casing.

From 2016 through 2018, LSP-2, residential block-2, drilling platform facilities and field pipelines are to be commissioned.

Also in 2014, onshore infrastructure facilities for the Northern Caspian fields are to be commissioned: main onshore oil import facilities in the vicinity of the Komsomolskaya Refinery (Republic of Kalmykia) and a gas processing plant in the vicinity of Stavrolen for final treatment of Caspian gas.

The main onshore facilities will include a tank farm, separators for substandard oil treatment, a pumping station and flowmeters.

In the area of the Stavrolen gas-chemical complex, it is planned to build a gas plant to dry up to 6 billion m3 of gas a year to the condition for acceptance into the Gazprom gas transport system.

New horizons

In 2016, LUKOIL is to put on stream the Sarmatskoye and Khvalynskoye gas condensate fields, where a total of over 10 offshore oil and gas facilities are to be installed. The main ones will be an LSP for well drilling and operation, a central production platform equipped with centrifugal gas-turbine compressors and gas drying facilities. Also, it should be noted that development of the Khvalynskoye field is complicated by the high content of sulphur in its oil.

Gas from the Sarmatskoye field will be transported to the Stavrolen gas processing plant, while that from the Khvalynskoye field will go to the Company's own main onshore facilities near the Artezianskaya compressor station. The underwater pipeline will stretch over 200 km.

The gas will be dried and cleaned of sulphur at the main onshore facilities and then fed into the Gazprom gas transport system.

The Sarmatskoye field condensate will be pumped to the floating oil tanks of the Yury Korchagin field, while the condensate from the Khvalynskoye field will go to its own floating oil tanks.

It is important to note that one of the most serious concerns for LUKOIL in developing the oil and gas field is ensuring environmental and industrial safety at all stages of project implementation.

Specialists of LUKOIL and contractor organizations are developing platform designs that minimize the amount of offshore operations and their environmental impact during construction, operation and elimination of infrastructure facilities. Particular requirements are being imposed on the platforms during implementation of projects involving comprehensive development of Caspian fields: efficient resistance to external loads (ice, wind, wave, seismic), standardization of designs, minimization of labor- and cost-intensive offshore operations at sea in view of the region's limited availability of special technical means (derrick vessels, barges, etc.). An example of the priority attached by the Company to the principles of environmental and industrial safety is provided by its many years of "zero discharge" operations at sea.

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Oil of Russia, No. 2, 2010
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