Russia begins extracting oil in the Arctic despite Greenpeace efforts
The outline of the Prirazlomnaya oil platform. Source: Gazprom's official web-site
The first oil extraction project has been successfully implemented in the Arctic on the Prirazlomnaya oil platform despite large-scale protests from ecologists, including the organization Greenpeace, which is opposed to offshore production on the shelf.
The volume of the first batch of oil was 70,000 tons. The field’s total volume is 71,960,000 tons and it is projected that 6,000,000 tons will be produced a year. Thus, oil can be extracted from this reserve for at least ten years.
According Gazprom’s information, the first batch was purchased by one of the largest energy companies in Europe and the raw material was sold by direct contract. It is not clear, however, which company this was. Gazprom had earlier provided assurances that oil under the new ARCO brand would be supplied to the port of Rotterdam.
The field is located deep in the Pechora Sea, 37.28 miles from the shore, meaning that getting to it would not be so simple in the event of an oil spill. Specialized icebreakers maintain constant vigil next to the platform and a special accident complex has been built on the shore in the village nearest to the platform.
Gazprom has issued reassurances that the construction features completely preclude an oil spill during extraction, storage, or shipment. The oil is stored in a special compartment with three-meter concrete walls – a gigantic storage chamber that can hold up to 94,000 tons of oil. Moreover, in the event of an oil spill, the platform’s interlock system should activate within seven seconds, and the choice of mooring of a tanker depends on the wave conditions of the sea, the ice drift, currents, and wind.
Two new tankers, which can move astern (backwards) through ice, were built in order to supply the oil; they were named in honor of the famous Russian actors Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov.