Russia’s Gazprom halts Arctic oil drilling

Gazprom Neft has delayed the start of drilling operations at its offshore Prirazlomnoye oil field due to safety concerns, Reuters reported  The field is now expected to start producing oil in September or October of next year, a source at the company said. Earlier the company had said production would start this year.  “Work won’t start until the company can ensure complete safety,” a source close to the project told the news agency.

Gazprom

Production at the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea, above, will reportedly be delayed until next year.

Production at the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea, above, will reportedly be delayed until next year.

The project to develop the 526-million-barrel Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea, which is slated to make Gazprom the first company in the world to pump oil commercially from offshore arctic fields, has already been delayed several times.

Investment in the project is believed to be $4 billion to $5 billion.  Gazprom was aiming to reach peak production of 120,000 barrels per day at the field in seven to eight years.

A spokeswoman for Gazprom Neft Shelf, which is developing the field, declined to confirm or deny the reports. Environmental groups have complained that Gazprom Neft has no adequate plan for responding to an oil spill at the rig and paltry environmental clean-up insurance coverage.

Last month, Greenpeace published a letter from the Emergency Situations Ministry that appeared to show that the oil spill response plan, which must be renewed every five years under Russian law, had expired.

Source: The Moscow Times, 21st September 2012, http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/gazprom-neft-delays-arctic-drilling-for-safety-reasons/468558.html

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