Gazprom Neft to conduct an offshore 3D seismic survey with new locally designed seabed sensors

Gazprom Neft, a Russian state-run oil company, became the first oil company in Russia to use locally developed “КРАБ” (CRAB) seabed sensors to conduct 3D seismic surveys on the company’s Ayashskiy license block in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East. Previously Russian oil companies used predominantly imported sensors for offshore exploration, reports Gazprom Neft.

“Gazprom Neft – Sakhalin”, Gazprom Neft subsidiary, intends to use new sensors to conduct a 3D seismic survey offshore Sakhalin island within its Neptune field in 2019 (for the total area of 400 square kilometres) and Triton field in 2020 (covering the area of 300 square kilometres).

CRAB technology has recently successfully passed several tests on Gazprom Neft oilfields. Currently, the company has around 3,000 sensors to be used for 3D seismic surveys on its offshore fields.

Gazprom Neft

Image credit: Gazprom Neft

“Technological leadership based on the implementation of modern, locally developed technologies is one of the priorities for the company”, says Gazprom Neft Deputy CEO for shelf projects Andrey Patrushev. “The innovation used on the Sakhalin shelf would allow Gazprom Neft to conduct seismic surveys on the Ayashskiy license block, one of the most promising shelf projects of Gazprom Neft.”

CRAB seabed seismic sensors were developed under the joint project of Gazprom Neft, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, and JSC “Marine Arctic Geological Expedition”.

The Ayashskiy license block is located in the Sea of Okhotsk, in the North-East sector of the Sakhalin island shelf, 55 kilometres from the shore. Sea depths in the area are up to 90 metres. Neptune oilfield with OIP of 415 million tonnes of crude oil was discovered by Gazprom Neft in 2017. The discovery of Triton oilfield with 137 million tonnes of crude oil OIP followed the next year.

Import of equipment for oil exploration and production in waters deeper than 150 meters or in the offshore area north of the Arctic Circle are currently prohibited by the U.S. and the E.U. sanctions against Russia. Thus, Directive 4 of the 2014 “sectoral” OFAC sanctions states that “the provision, exportation, or re-exportation, directly or indirectly, of goods, services, or technology in support of exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil in the Russian Federation, or in maritime area claimed by the Russian Federation and extending from its territory.”

Cooperation of Gazprom Neft, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and JSC “Marine Arctic Geological Expedition” in development and production of the CRAB seabed sensors is another example of Russia’s drive to achieve technological independence in the most vital areas of the oil and gas industry. Currently being used by Gazprom Neft in relatively shallow waters (up to 90 meters) the CRAB technology may be developed further to provide reliable seismic data while conducting seismic surveys in deep waters, affected by the U.S. and E.U. sanctions. As a result, Western seismic equipment manufacturers may not lose a significant market in the Russian offshore and onshore exploration, but also gain a formidable competitor in the international markets.

Thus, SSC “Yuzhmorgeologiya”, a Rosgeologiya subsidiary, plans to complete its 2D seismic surveys offshore Bahrain in Q3 2019, reports Energyland. The contract with Tatweer Petroleum – Bahrain Field Development Company W.L.L. was signed on 20 March 2019 in Manama, Bahrain. With the development of new technologies, that were previously exported from the West, Russian oilfield services companies may become more active in the international markets, offering high-quality services at competitive rates.

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