Russia’s energy giant Gazprom launched on Wednesday the year-round shipments of Yamal oil from the Arctic Gate (Vorota Arktiki), an Arctic oil loading terminal.
The operation start was symbolically kick-started when the Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the command via a video call to start loading a tanker with oil from the Novoportovskoye oil, gas and condensate field, the richest in oil reserves in the Yamal Peninsula.
Taking into account that the field is located 700 kilometers away from the existing pipeline infrastructure, the country has decided to ship Yamal oil by sea for the first time in the history of Russia’s oil and gas industry.
“Gazprom is systematically exploring the Russian Arctic. We are successfully extracting oil from the Prirazlomnoye field, Russia’s only hydrocarbon production project on the Arctic shelf. A one-of-a-kind gas production center in the Yamal Peninsula is in full swing. Today, we are creating a new oil province on top of the gas center. We have opened the Arctic Gate to deliver Yamal oil to European consumers via the Northern Sea Route all year round,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.
The terminal, with the annual capacity of up to 8.5 million tons was constructed at sea, some 3.5 kilometers offshore, as the Ob Bay’s ship channel with a depth of 11 meters is too shallow for ship traffic.
The terminal will ensure a year-round loading of tankers with Yamal oil for further shipments via the Northern Sea Route, according to Gazprom.
The Arctic Gate offshore oil terminal is designed to operate under extreme natural and climatic conditions, as temperatures in the region can drop below minus 50 degrees Celsius and ice can grow over two meters thick.
The terminal’s equipment is fully automated and protected from hydraulic shocks. The facility is equipped with a special system that allows for prompt undocking without depressurizing the units undergoing disconnection and a zero discharge technology that prevents foreign substances from getting into the Ob Bay, including a subsea pipeline.