Massive Russian oil discovery in the Arctic | Polarjournal
Rosneft has a majority stake in 28 offshore licenses in the Arctic, eight of which are located in the Pechora Sea. (Photo: Rosneft)

Russian energy giant Rosneft announced the discovery of a huge oil deposit in the Pechora Sea. The new oil field is estimated to contain 82 million tons of oil.

The oil field was discovered during a drilling campaign in the Medynsko-Varandeysky coastal area. “During the tests, a free flow of oil with a maximum flow rate of 220 cubic meters per day was achieved,” the company’s statement said. It was also found that the oil is light, low in sulfur and low in viscosity.

Rosneft described the results as evidence of “significant oil potential in the Timan-Pechora province on the shelf.” 

According to Russian media, Rosneft owns a majority stake in 28 offshore licenses in the Russian Arctic, eight of which are located in the Pechora Sea.

When the new discoveries will be productable is still open. Due to the sanctions against Russia, some projects have run into difficulties following the exit of Western energy companies.

Rosneft has a total of 28 license areas in Arctic waters, some of which are located on the east and west sides of Novaya Zemlya, including the Medynsko-Varandey area in the Pechora Sea with 8 licenses. The new discovered oil field is marked in red. (Map: Rosneft)

New ships for oil and gas

Now that the interested parties for Russian oil and gas are mostly in the east following the sanctions imposed by the West, the Northeast Passage is likely to gain in importance.

According to this, Anatoly Bobrakov, Russia’s deputy minister for the development of the Far East and the Arctic, plans to build an additional 55 different ships with high ice class by 2030 in order to operate successfully in the Arctic. Plans call for an additional 10 cargo ships and 33 large-capacity tankers.

Bobrakov pointed out that the development of the Northern Sea Route would serve as an engine for the development of the shipbuilding industry, including maintenance and repair, in Russia. Cargo volume on the NSR is expected to reach about 80 million tons by 2024 and at least 150 million tons by 2030, according to President Putin’s wishes.

Currently, 32 ships for fuel and energy transport have been ordered from various shipyards or are already under construction, including 15 gas tankers for the Arctic LNG project. It is questionable whether all of these will ever be delivered, as the Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering has already cancelled the second LNG carrier from its order books after another outstanding payment.

Ship convoy in the Northeast Passage. Today’s ships do not have the capacity to meet demand heading to the Far East. (Photo: Rosneft)

Asked about the problems, Bobrakov said, “Certain ships have up to 80 percent foreign components. There are three ways to solve this. We can do it ourselves, we can buy from friendly countries, or we can reverse engineer these components and manufacture everything we import now. I am a passionate advocate for the first and third options.”

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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