No. 2, 2009

Ivan Petrov


LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft carries out a large volume of oilfield construction work in the Northern Caspian

Since 1996, LUKOIL has been engaged in large-scale oil and gas exploration in the shelf of the Caspian Sea. During that period several large multilayer oil and gas condensate fields were discovered. The best known among them are the Yury Korchagin and Vladimir Filanovsky fields. Ice-resistant stationary platforms for both fields are designed and built by LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft which has acquired a great deal of successful experience from implementation of the Kravtsovskoye field development project in the Baltic Sea and the Varandey arctic project.

Baltic experience 

For the purpose of developing two large Caspian fields, LUKOIL has developed a stage-by-stage program aimed at establishing a unified waterworks complex capable of carrying out all the necessary operations involved in well drilling, oil and gas production treatment, and transportation to the shore. The LUKOIL Management Board decided to start the development of new oil reserves with the Yury Korchagin field. For this purpose the Company will construct two offshore stationary platforms: one with the drilling and production complex (IRSP 1), the other - the living quarter platform (IRSP 2) connected with each other by a catwalk, as well as a floating oil storage, which will be connected to IRSP 1 by an offshore pipeline.

On February 9, 2007, during a meeting of the study team in Astrakhan, the Company Management Board decided that LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft would undertake the development of detail documentation for and the manufacture, construction, startup, adjustment and commissioning of IRSP 2 as well as implement offshore operations. The development of the work design documents for IRSP 2 construction was carried out by CDB Korall employees with whom LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists cooperated during the construction of the offshore ice-resistant stationary platform in the Kravtsovskoye field and the stationary offshore ice-resistant tanker loading unit for the Varandey oil export terminal. LUKOIL-VolgogradNIPImorneft was the designer of the catwalk. All process utilities along the catwalk (cables, pipelines) were also designed by CDB Korall.

"The IRSP 2 ice-resistance stationary platform consists of an upper structure, a platform jacket and the piles by which the jacket is fastened to the seabed," says Vasily Solovyanchik, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft Deputy General Director for Production Service. "The upper structure comprises the living quarters, complete with the infrastructure and personnel facilities capable of accommodating and feeding 105 crewmembers. The upper structure also hosts the helicopter pad, life-saving and fire-fighting equipment. The 74 m long catwalk connects IRSP 2 with the IRSP 1 process platform which is being built on the frame of the Shelf-7 semi-submersible drilling platform at the Astrakhan Korabel shipbuilding yard. The platform will be fitted out with a drilling side, an oil and gas production and treatment unit and equipment for pumping treated oil through the offshore pipeline to the floating oil storage."

The process gets underway

As early as summer 2007, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists received the first design shop drawings for the manufacture of IRSP 2 metalworks and immediately started welding the first construction-assembly units of the platform jacket and the upper structure.

"The initial weight parameters of IRSP 2 defined in the feasibility study were as follows: the upper structure rigged-up as a whole - 1,340 tons, the platform jacket - 1,100 tons, the piles - 1,215 tons. The combined weight of IRSP was 3,655 tons," continues Vasily Solovyan-chik, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft Deputy General Director for Production Service. "Besides, we had to manufacture a 150 ton catwalk. However, when our specialists got down to manufacture, some changes were introduced into the working design documents in the development stage and into the equipment and cables mix which had not been accounted for in the feasibility study. That was the reason for weight growth. The weight of the platform jacket increased to 1,200 tons, of the upper structure to 1,540 tons, and of the catwalk to 200 tons (with in-laid pipeline systems and 13 km of cables). But these weight parameters are also interim so far. We shall define the final weight parameters only after the enlargement of steel structures and their weighing prior to their offshore use.

"Under the original plan, the platform operation startup was scheduled for 2008 but due to a number of reasons the LUKOIL management decided to postpone the start of platform construction in the sea and the launch of the Yury Korchagin field operation until 2009.

"By the summer of 2008, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists had finished all shop construction operations involved in the manufacture of the construction-assembly units of IRSP 2 and began preparing its modules for shipment to Astrakhan in September for the enlarged assembly of the platform jacket and the upper structure of IRSP 2.

"The IRSP 2 loading on five barges began on September 2 and was completed within six days. After that it was shipped by sea to St. Petersburg and further on to Astrakhan by the Volga-Baltic Channel and the Volga.

"From October 1 to 17, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists unloaded all five barges in different points of the Astrakhan Korabel shipbuilding yard. It was there that the enlargement of steel structures on the ground began right away. First of all, the bottom of the platform jacket was installed and then two more construction-assembly units of the accommodation module were assembled. The enlargement of the steel structures and the installation of the upper structure were completed in November.

On April 17, 2009, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists began offshore operations on the shelf of the Caspian Sea - installing the platform jacket on the seabed, assembling the upper structure on the platform jacket and rigging-up the catwalk between IRSP 1 and IRSP 2.

The project is implemented under the supervision of the Russian Maritime Registry of Shipping and Noble Denton insurance surveyor.

"Weather permitting, IRSP 2 installation will take one month and will be completed by May 16, 2009. If the installation of IRSP 1 is finished by 16 June, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists will start the assembly of the catwalk between the platforms and we will begin the start-up and adjustment operations on IRSP 2 and the catwalk on June 18, 2009. These operations should be finished by August 1. On August 5, the Baltic specialists are to transfer IRSP 2 and the catwalk to the Customer - LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft."

The Filanovsky field is next in turn

"As of today, we still lack the final concept of developing the Vladimir Filanovsky field," says Vasily Solovyanchik, LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft Deputy General Director for Production Service. "The final decision as to which field development concept should be chosen will be adopted after one more wildcat drilling and field reserves estimation results are available. However, it is clear even today that the field will be developed and field facilities constructed in two stages."

The first stage involves construction of IRSP 1, complete with the drilling side and the power plant to supply all the offshore waterworks of phase one with electricity.

Apart from IRSP 1, the living quarter platform to accommodate 135 persons will be built. The catwalk will connect the platforms. The third facility of the first stage is the central process platform (CPP). It will host equipment for oil and gas treatment and subsequent pumping through offshore pipelines to the shore. The CPP will also host equipment for water treatment and injection into the formation to maintain reservoir pressure. IRSP 1 will be connected to the CPP.

The fourth facility to be built during the first stage of construction is the riser platform for the pipelines, including those coming from the Yury Korchagin field. All hydrocarbons produced on the sea shelf will be transported through the riser platform to the shore. It will be also equipped with a flare boom to burn some of the casinghead gas. And the last facility to be constructed during the first stage of Filanovsky field facilities construction is the system of subsea pipelines from the platforms to the shore. All the oil from both fields will be delivered for processing to Russian refineries.

The start of oil production in the field is scheduled for 2013. That means that by 2011, all the platform jackets should be manufactured and installed in the sea and pipelines construction started and completed in 2012. In 2012, it is also necessary to finish construction of the upper structures of both platforms so as to start drilling and produce the first oil in 2013. The second stage of Vladimir Filanovsky field facilities construction will start immediately after the completion of the first stage - in 2014-2015.

Environmental priority

Ensuring environmental and industrial safety at all stages of project implementation is a top priority for the Company in the course of oil and gas fields development.

LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft specialists and its contractors focus on designing the platforms that will help minimize the scope of offshore operations and environmental impact in the course of offshore operations involved in field facilities construction, operation and liquidation. The platforms used in Caspian projects implementation should be capable of effectively resisting external loads (ice, wind, wave, seismic), have unitized design structures, and involve a minimum of labor-consuming and expensive offshore operations as the region lacks special technical outfit (derrick barges, barges, etc.). LUKOIL's long record of carrying out offshore operations based on the zero waste discharge principle is an example of the priority it attaches to environmental and industrial safety.

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Oil of Russia, No. 2, 2009
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