Chinese drill rigs make big gas discovery in Russian Arctic waters

The Leningradskoye field holds a lot more gas than previously thought, according to a Russian official.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - April 6, 2018

A Chinese drill rig operating in Russia’s Kara Sea and revealed one of the nation’s largest natural gas fields.

Drilling by the semisubmersible rig Nanhai VIII in the summer of 2017 showed that the Leningradskoye field holds as much as 1.9 trillion cubic meters of gas. That is 850 million cubic meters more than previous estimates, Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy writes in a Facebook post.

The 15,469 deadweight ton rig is owned by China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) and drilled was made in water depths as deep as 160 meters.

The Leningradskoye license, which is owned by Gazprom, covers an area located west of the Yamal Peninsula in the Kara Sea. The drilling took place after two years of seismic mapping in the area.

With its upgraded resource estimates, the Leningradskoye field is one of the biggest hydrocarbon discoveries in Russian Arctic waters. It is still however far less than the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea, which holds about 3.9 trillion cubic meters.

The drilling at the Leningradskoye was the first offshore Arctic operation of the kind since the Norwegian rig West Alpha drilled the University-1 well for ExxonMobil in 2014.

That well revealed oil resources of more than 130 million tons. A second drilling scheduled for 2015 was halted as a result of the Western sanctions regime.