Russia taps super-giant gas field after 40-year wait

Oct 23, 2012

Russia's Gazprom state energy giant on Tuesday launched production at one of the world's largest natural gas fields some 40 years after its discovery by Soviet scientists in the frozen and hitherto inaccessible Arctic.

President formally pushed the button on the start of commercial energy production at the Arctic deposit whose discovery in the early 1970s created excitement and frustration in equal measure.

The Bovanenkovo field on the Yamal peninsula at the extreme of northwestern Siberia has what estimates is 4.9 trillion cubic metres (177 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas—a figure making it one of the world's three largest.

But it also lies amid permafrost and had remained cut off from access to pipelines or even basic communication until recent years.

"The field will produce 115 billion cubic metres (4,060 billion cubic feet) of gas and that will go up to nearly 140 billion," Putin told the field's workers by live video link-up from Moscow.

"This is nearly the equivalent of how much we export to Europe," he stressed.

The super-giant field—second in size in Russia only to Gazprom's vital Urengoi deposit to the south—is part of an Arctic project that Gazprom has been pinning its hopes on in the post-Soviet era as its older wells run dry.

Russia's largest company saw its exports to Europe slip last year after remaining flat for years amid lagging production and demand that is sagging on account of the global financial crisis.

Gazprom had decided on a risk-wrought strategy of ignoring fresh field development while purchasing gas from other countries as it waited for Bovanenkovo to go online.

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said Gazprom intended to launch nearly 150 wells this year that feed into pipelines to Europe and replace supplies lost from the currently on-hold Shtokman field project in the Barents Sea.

"We intend to create on oil and gas province (in Yamal)," Putin added in the live link-up. "We will launch dozens of new promising fields," he said.

Russia provides about 30 percent of Europe's natural imports and is the world's largest exporter of energy—a dominant status that has seen EU nations seek import diversification and reforms aimed at breaking up Gazprom's foreign holdings.

Explore further: New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First North Stream gas pipeline completed: consortium

May 05, 2011

The first of two North Stream gas pipelines, due to pump gas from Russia to Germany by way of the Baltic Sea, bypassing eastern Europe, has been completed, the consortium building it announced on Thursday.

Putin unveils $500 bn offshore energy drive

Apr 12, 2012

Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to win $500 billion in investment for Russian offshore field development over 30 years to tap the country's full energy potential with the help of foreign expertise.

Study throws cold water on Arctic oil, gas dreams

Sep 04, 2012

The Arctic, often presented as the promised land by oil companies, is likely to play only a marginal role in providing for the planet's future energy needs, a Norwegian study claimed Tuesday.

Greenpeace raids Russian Arctic oil platform

Aug 24, 2012

Greenpeace activists on Friday scaled the sides of an Arctic oil platform owned by Russian group Gazprom to draw attention to the dangers of drilling in one of the world's last pristine reserves.

Russia's Arctic holds 100 Bln tons of oil, gas

Sep 21, 2010

(AP) -- Russia's Arctic territories are estimated to contain up to 100 billion tons of oil and gas and the nation needs to defend its claim to those riches, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday.

Russia vows to open up Arctic to energy firms

Jul 10, 2012

President Vladimir Putin vowed on Tuesday to conquer ever broader expanses of the Arctic for Russia's oil and natural gas giants while inviting foreign majors to take part in the development boom.

Recommended for you

New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

14 hours ago

Rice University scientists have produced a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to ...

Feds allows logging after huge California wildfire

Aug 28, 2014

The U.S. Forest Service has decided to allow logging on nearly 52 square miles of the Sierra Nevada burned last year in a massive California wildfire, a move contested by environmentalists.

User comments : 0