“An Offshore Platform Is No Place for Experiments”

By Bojan Soc, May 8, 2014

Damir Valeyev, deputy general director for strategic development at Gazprom Burenie, the general contractor for well construction at the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea, told OGE in an interview how to achieve the zero LTI, what problems the complex geological conditions in northern seas pose to drillers and why his firm bet on experience in Russia’s first Arctic offshore project. 

Oil&Gas Eurasia : Would you, please, describe the main stages of the drilling project at the Prirazlomnoye field.

Damir Valeyev : According to the drilling program, 37 wells are planned to be drilled at Prirazlomnoye. Part of these are production wells, part – injection wells, and one well is designed for reinjection of mud cuttings, which means it won’t be necessary to store mud on the platform, transport it to the shore and utilize at special disposal sites. 

The existing general contractor’s deal, envisaging construction of the first three wells, is basically an EPCI (Еngineering – Procurement – Construction – Installation) contract. The general contractor is obliged to prepare the well construction program, select subcontractors and subsequently integrate them into the project. Today, we coordinate activities of more than 15 subcontractor service companies providing  various types of services, and conduct project management related to well construction. Naturally, any deviation from the project and the drilling program needs to be approved by the client (Gazpromneft Shelf – OGE). 

OGE: What is the size of staff involved in executing the project on site?

Valeyev: Our drilling team includes 74 men who work in shifts. Such large numbers have to do with the facility’s autonomy and the need to serve and maintain the operational capability of numerous units of drilling equipment. We approached the issue of picking the drilling team very thoroughly. Before the launch of the drilling campaign, each member of our staff had received training on the same equipment, which is used at the Prirazlomnaya offshore ice-resistant stationary rig. Among other topics, they were taught the specifics of working in Arctic conditions, the course of action in case of emergencies, rescue techniques at sea, including those applied during helicopter landings on water. The training was provided at specialized training centers in Russia and abroad. Since 2010, our personnel was being trained to prepare the launch of the drilling complex on site in the Pechora Sea, following the rig’s departure from the shipyard. The tasks included start-up, commissioning and load testing of the equipment. Today, we can say without exaggeration that the experience gained by our drilling team during start-up and commissioning training sessions enabled them to successfully operate this unique drilling equipment – which is unparalleled in Russia – during the actual drilling campaign. 

OGE: Are you drilling according to schedule?

Valeyev: The se-quence of operations and schedules is set by the client. We completed construction of the first production well and we continue to build an injection well in accordance with the client’s schedule. Major achievements? Since the beginning of the drilling campaign we