Russia Expedition Reports Extreme Ice Conditions in Future Oil Areas

June 19, 2014

Scientists returning from an Arctic expedition to areas where Rosneft and ExxonMobile are planning to start offshore explorations, warn about extreme ice conditions.

The icebreaker «Yamal» last week returned to port in Murmansk after a two-month long expedition to study ice and weather conditions in the Arctic to prepare for future oil and gas projects.

On behalf of Rosneft and ExxonMobil, 33 scientists from the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute have been studying ice conditions in the Kara Sea, the Laptev Sea and the western parts of the East Siberian Sea.

During the expedition the scientists found nearly 1000 icebergs, five of which they studied in-depth for future 3D models.

According to expedition leader Andrey Tyuryakov, the ice conditions in the areas vary a lot and can become a real challenge for oil drilling: “Our research should shock – or at least alert, our client. One of the icebergs we studied in the area around Peschany had a height of 15 meters above water, but as much as 95 meters below water. This is really serious information,” he says to Rosatomflot.

Around Bennett Island in the East Siberian Sea the expedition discovered signs of seismic activity. Volcanologists will be sent to the area later this summer to study the activity closer.

Rosneft and ExxonMobil will this summer drill the Universitetskaya well in the Kara Sea, one of the most expensive drilling operations ever conducted by Exxon. The operation is estimated to cost at least $600 million. According to experts, the structure is large enough to contain more than 9 billion barrels, BarentsObserver reported.

Copyright, Barents Observer, 2014.