Sakhalin Energy — 20 Years of “Firsts” as Russia’s Pioneer in Offshore and LNG

By Pat Davis Szymczak, May 5, 2014

The planned initial rate of each of those gas wells is around 10 million cubic meters per day.  

Another innovation was to use smart-well completions at the Piltun area of the Piltun-Astokhskoye oil field. This technology employs automated borehole equipment to collect production or reinjection well data and transmit it to the surface in real time. These wells have surface-controlled subsurface safety valves installed in each interval. Installing smart completions in the production and injection wells is an efficient technology to achieve a high oil recovery factor and to recover oil from multiple intervals simultaneously.

No less impressive is the size of the Sakhalin-2 facilities. The concrete gravity base substructures (CGBS) of our offshore platforms are the biggest concrete structures ever built in Russia. These gravity base structures were built in the Vostochny dry dock and then towed to their field locations. After that, the 22-ton Lun-A and 28-ton PA-B topsides were installed on their respective CGBSs. The towing of the topsides from the Samsung Heavy Industry shipyard and their installation on the CGBSs were each a world class operation. 

And we shouldn’t forget about our LNG plant, which is more than just Russia’s first gas liquefaction facility. I say “more” because the plant uses the innovative Double Mixed Refrigerant (DMR) technology, which was developed purposely for the Sakhalin climate. The DMR process consists of two (pre-cooling and cooling) cycles which employ mixed refrigerants produced from the feed gas supplied to the LNG plant. The DMR technology gives flexibility to the LNG production process and makes use of the cool climate and severe winters of Sakhalin for higher energy efficiency in LNG production. 

I could mention many more technological ideas and achievements, but our innovative approaches are not limited to technology. Sakhalin-2 is Russia’s first PSA project and it was the first project in Russia to attract project financing, with the record-breaking $6.7 billion loan provided by a group of international financial institutions. Sakhalin Energy was the first to sell hydrocarbons (initially crude oil, which was followed by LNG) to the Asia-Pacific region and stimulated the development of LNG shipping services in Russia.

OGE: Sakhalin Energy helped Russia to emerge as a global LNG supplier. How important do you think this achievement is? In your opinion, what will be Sakhalin Energy’s role in Russia’s further input into the LNG industry development? What kind of future do you see for Sakhalin Energy? What kind of role will Sakhalin Energy play in the development of Russia's LNG potential? 

Dashkov: For about half a century, the bulk of Russian gas was exported to Europe via pipelines running through transit countries. At the turn of the millennium, however, Russia shifted its focus to expanding into new energy markets. No less important was the new goal to diversify the means of hydrocarbon transport. Based on our experience, LNG projects can contribute significantly to achieving both of these goals.  

Sakhalin Energy and Sakhalin-2 not only blazed a trail in Russian offshore hydrocarbon