A unique Russian drilling ship is set for an Arctic overhaul

An upgrade will allow the Bavenit to operate in support of oil and gas prospecting in remote Arctic waters at the edge of Russia's continental shelf.

The Bavenit, photographed near Amsterdam in 2011, is being refitted for work in the Arctic waters along the outer edge of Russia’s continental shelf. (Alf van Beem / CC via Wikimedia Commons)

The Russian supply ship Bavenit will become one of the world’s best equipped ships of its kind, capable of exploring the outer parts of the Russian Arctic shelf, state company Rosgeo says.

The ship, built in Finland in 1986, has long been one of Russia’s most advanced vessels for shelf exploration and drilling. Now, the ice-class ship is set to get additional upgrades which will make it capable of engaging in the northernmost parts of the Russian Arctic shelf.

According to Rosgeo, the ship owner, the Bavenit is currently undergoing modernization which will make it one of the best equipped geological exploration vessels in the world.

When the upgrades are completed in May this year, the ship will have an expanded capacity to drill exploration wells and conduct geotechnical studies of the sea bottom. It will be able to pick sampled from the sea bottom from unlimited depths, a press release from the company reads.

The Bavenit will be able to make hydrocarbon discoveries along the outermost parts of the Russian Arctic shelf. This summer, the ship will be engaged in Russian Arctic waters. Among possible clients are Novatek, Rosneft, Gazprom, Lukoil.

Russia’s two leading oil and gas companies Rosneft and Gazprom have over the last year significantly expanded their engagement in the Arctic. Rosneft now has a total of 55 offshore licenses while Gazprom has an estimated 41. The lion’s share of the license areas are in Arctic waters.