Aspects of Construction and Operation of Main Condensate Pipelines Under Complicated Natural and Climatic Environment

By Oleg Bosyuk, June 23, 2013

The article discusses the prospects of condensate transportation by main pipelines. Certain details of selection of pipeline laying in the complicated climatic environment are given. The main advantages and shortcomings of pipeline construction methods in the Arctic regions are indicated. The article discusses characteristic aspects of condensate pipeline operation in the complicated environmental conditions, according to the method of pipeline laying.

The energy strategy of Russia for the period till 2020 [3] places special emphasis on development of the mineral resources of Eastern Siberia and the Far North.

210 fields discovered in this region contain 72 percent of the remaining proven reserves of gas, 61 percent of gas condensate and 15 percent of oil in Russia. Initial total resources of natural gas are estimated in the amount of 93 trillion cubic meters (tcm), a little less than 11 tcm of which have been recovered by now. In addition to the gas reserves, the region has significant oil and gas condensate potential, with the initial total resources preliminarily estimated in the amount of respectively 11 and 5 billion tons. 

It is realistic to increase condensate production on the territory of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District by five to six times and reach 100 million tons of total production of liquid hydrocarbons per year. 

This is a huge strategic resource of our state, which could act as an economic acceleration driving force, large-scale investment source, and an effective tool in diversification of the economy, significant increase of production of the gross national product and solution of the urgent problems of social development of the country. Comprehensive realization of the program for steady increase of hydrocarbon production on the Far North territory of West Siberia provides our country with good opportunities for export of energy resources.

Increasing production of condensate and other types of energy resources can provide a powerful impetus for restoration and development of the Northern Sea Route, waterways and other transportation lines of Siberia, which, in its turn will ensure a stable entry to the Asian-Pacific energy market. 

From the point of view of the energy resources production in the mid-term and long-term perspective, the Yamal peninsula plays a significant role, as there, on a relatively small territory, huge hydrocarbon reserves are concentrated in 26 discovered fields. 

Access to undeveloped production areas will require arrangement of new routes for transportation of natural raw materials.

Permafrost environment and low negative temperatures form peculiar conditions complicating construction and operation of condensate pipelines.

In respect of pipeline construction, the main issue regarding which it is necessary to make a decision is whether to lay a pipeline according to principle I – with preservation of the natural permafrost conditions, or according to principle II – with disturbance of these conditions. Selection of a construction principle always predetermines pipeline design solutions: above-ground pipelining is proposed in the first case, and in the second case surface or subsurface pipelining. To select the principle of construction, it is necessary to do technical-and-economical comparison of the gas pipeline laying