Rosneft spuds first ultra-deepwater exploration well in Black Sea


MOSCOW -- Rosneft has spudded the Maria-1 exploration well offshore in the Black Sea. Forecasted oil in place for Zapadno-Chernomorskaya licence area is estimated to exceed 570 million tons.

Photo: Rosneft.

Drilling preparations included acquisition of more than 4,000 km of 2D seismic and over 3,000 km2 of 3D seismic data together with integrated geotechnical surveys.

Drilling the first exploration well in the Zapadno-Chernomorskaya licence area is part of joint activities with Eni – Rosneft strategic partner.

It is a unique project. Designed well depth is 6,126 m with the water depth at the drilling site exceeding 2,000 m.

The well is drilled by Scarabeo-9 semisubmersible rig operated by Saipem. Rig mobilization was an extremely complex yet successfully delivered engineering and transportation operation. In September 2017 the rig left the port of Las-Palmas, passed the Bosphorus strait and arrived to the Rumanian port of Constanta a month later. Total distance enroute exceeded 3 thousand nautical mi.

The rig is equipped with a high-precision dynamic positioning system which ensures constant location of the platform right over the wellhead. Besides, the rig has a dual derrick enabling to drill the well simultaneously with casing and wellhead equipment assembly and running operations. This enables to cut well construction cycle by up to 30%.

The rig is 115 m high with the deck 80 m wide. Scarabeo-9 has the deadweight of 31 thousand tons and is capable of drilling up to the depth of 15 km.

The rig meets all the technical requirements of the Project and rigorous environmental standards. To prevent any technical and environmental risks the rig has subsea capping system with seven blow-out preventers (a mechanism for sealing the wellhead in case of an emergency). The sea environment condition will be monitored on a permanent basis including satellite observations. Besides, well construction will be controlled by two subsea remotely-operated devices on around the clock basis.

“The Black sea has significant oil & gas potential, but yet not a single well has been drilled in the deep water Russian offshore. Indicated geological traps are located at the areas with the sea depth exceeding 2,000 km. Currently we assume that the forecasted oil in place for the license area is around 600 million of tons. Upon completion of additional works and technical studies the Company plans to refine and possibly increase the potential geological resources appraisal. State of the art technologies and equipment in combination with vast experience provided by world leading oil & gas majors and service providers are being employed at the Project. This opens a new phase in the Black sea offshore development in cooperation with our strategic partners," said Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

For several years Rosneft has been carrying out all the necessary ecological monitoring activities the Black Sea. In 2017, the Company announced its financial support to the Black Sea Dolphin Research Program. The Program spans three years and is to include field studies, acoustic and visual monitoring, table-top processing of obtained data.

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