Exclusive Photo Report Yuzhno-Russkoye Field – Nature Energy for People’s GoodBack to news
So, we are again on the road. This time we will try and show you everyday work of gas operators. We will also deal with the beauty of northern nature and ways of life of indigenous people. It will be an interesting journey, so join and enjoy it.
To understand how gas is produced under severe conditions of the Tundra, we accepted the invitation to participate in a media tour, organized for Russian and foreign journalists by two companies belonging to Gazprom group – OJSC Severneftegazprom and Nord Stream AG – at the Yuzhno-Russkoye Field. The program included visiting of the operational premises and camping ground of reindeer-breeders. But while we are flying from Moscow to Novy Urengoy, we will introduce you the Field.
The Yuzhno-Russkoye oil-gas-condensate field is located in the north-eastern part of Siberia, in Krasnoselkup area of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, and is one of the largest in terms of the stock amount. Today it totals 1 tln. cubic meters of gas and 40 mln. oil and gas condensate.
The exploration of the region began in the late 60s of the previous century. On the 17th of November 1969 during the Urengoy exploration expedition the team was drilling Well 6 when it pierced Cenomanian deposits that produced a gas gusher. The gas gusher came from the Cenomanian pools (which lie 900-1700 beneath the surface) – that’s how the field was explored. The development of the field began already in this century – in January 2006 work on its infrastructural development began, and in October 2007 the commissioning and start-up complex was brought into production. In 2009 the Yuzhno-Russkoye Field was brought to design capacity—25 billion cubic meters annually—one year ahead of schedule.
In June 2012 a new epoch for the Yuzhno-Russkoye Field began – for the first time in Russia the Turonian pools were developed (They lie approximately 800 meters beneath the surface), and already in May 2011 the first Turonian gas was delivered. On the 5th of December the Turonian gas began to flow to the unified gas supply system.
The field is situated in an area, which is difficult to access. The quickest way to get to it is to use a helicopter from Novy Urengoy and fly approximately 200 km to the East across the endless Tundra, with not a single house in it (in the old days it used to be the only way, nowadays a good road was built, the so-called Krasnosekup Autobahn).
We have just left the Airport of Noviy Urengoy.
A splendid view of the Tundra fascinates. It looks like a snowy plain in winter, and it is hard to imagine that under the snow coverage there are thousands of lakes.
Tempting sandy beaches… Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t permit to swim. Though the day is hot (it is very unusual for this area), the water temperature leaves a lot to be desired. It is possible to swim only in the middle of the summer, but only the top warm water layer.
Sometimes we see industrial premises. This is the booster station ‘Urengoyskaya’.
The quirkiness of water.
On our way from Novy Urengoy to the field we pass the settlement of Urengoy. In the 1960s it became the centre of geologic exploration and home for first geologists who managed to discover the Urengoy Field. And even earlier – in the late 1940s – the settlement was one of the strategic centres of the construction of the Transpolar Mainline – a project of building a set of railways in the North of Russia along the Arctic Circle. The project is also known as Construction Project 501, or the Dead Road – several thousands of Gulag prisoners worked on but never finished it.
We are approaching the filed – many pipelines are united in a single entity. It is a gas-gathering network of the field. It is the root according to which gas is delivered from wells to the gas processing plant (where it is refined, dried and delivered to the Russian unified system of gas supply).
And that is exactly the gas processing plant.
At a safe distance we see a rotational camp. The staff who work at the field live here. There is not a single house in a thousand kilometres around them. On the territory of the rotational camp there are strict rules, including prohibition.
Helicopter Mi-8T is the main and the quickest means of travelling in the area.
The North is severe;) In the rotational camp a good-natured wolf is meeting us. It was made of old repair parts and metal scrap by craftsmen of the mechanic maintenance service.
After we have left our luggage in the camp, we are being informed of the safety rules and warned that there will be a lot of mosquitos (to is recommended for us to choose proper clothes). But when we see the amount of mosquito toxic, er understand that we will have an interesting and unforgettable travelling. On the photo – a mosquito monument made by the same service.
Before the beginning of our visiting the premises, the management of Sever neftegazprom tells us about the Company and the field. In the middle – Stanislav Tsygankov (General Director), on his left – Boris Sannikov (Deputy General Director for Personnel and Social Development), on his right – Andrew Kasyanenko (Deputy Chief Engineer).
But it’s the time to see everything with our own eyes. After passing the guarding point, we are moving to the building where the heart of the field – the main switchboard – is located.
The Yuzhno-Russkoye field if one of the most equipped in Russia. The workers control the technological process without leaving the building of the main switchboard. 250 people work in one shift together. The operational personnel controls the process flow pattern and updates the work parameters day-and-night. The rest of the team deal with gas wells, waterworks and drainage system, transportation and maintenance of intra-field roads, repair and revision of technological equipment, wells exploration. The hitch lasts a month. After a month of hard work the workers come to their permanent residence, and a new crew comes to the field. On the photo – shift manager Sengey Savenkov (in the background), production operator of the 6th labour grade Anatoly Novopashin (in the foreground).
The gas production on the field is automatized, and practically all the operations are performed without people’s interference. Deputy manager of gas production Vladislav Razgon is showing us a device enabling to regulate gas supply coming from the well to the collector in in a remote access.
Again Vladislav Razgon demonstrates the hookup of the well – modern technological approaches are also applied here.
Today 143 wells are used at the field. Gas production 4th labour grade operator Anatoly Andreev ‘starts’ the process, i.e. delivers the gas in the well to the gas gathering system.
The well is like an iceberg. There is only a little part above the surface. Under the surface there is a complex construction consisting of tubes of different sizes, being in each other and lying at a depth of 900-1000 and even deeper. Wells may be not only vertical, but also subhorizontal – when the underground part of the well is parallel to the surface – as well as directed – they occupy an intermediate position between vertical and subhorizontal ones.
One of the requirements for gasdynamic research at the wells is the well flaring. It may sound incomprehensible for those who hear it for the first time, but all this helps to control the correct way of the field exploration, identify the layer characteristics and parameters of the well work.
We are going to have an excursion at the installation of the complex gas preparation. From the first sight it is a sophisticated set of tubes, but in reality it is a complex phenomenon, consisting of modern engineering approaches, new technologies and high level of professionalism of people working here.
Marat Khusnullin, Gas Field Manager, is meeting us.
This building is the board of switching fitments. Here gas flow-lines are united by a unified collector, and exactly from here the commercial gas is delivered.
The inside view of the building.
The construction activity in the Far North is to meet some requirements. Buildings should be erected with the help of piles above the surface – it is done for the warm not to melt the frozen earth. Otherwise the foundation will be unstable. All these tubes on the photo are heat stabilizers – they don’t give way the frozen earth to melt. There is the Freon gas-22, that is used as warm accumulator.
In these devices (called by gas workers ‘skrebki’, ‘pigs’, and sometimes ‘piglets’) the gas undergoes the process of drying and refinement.
The stock total amount of the Yuzhno-Russkoye field is considered to 300 billion cubic metres. It is a strategic supply. Despite the fact that the Turonian gas lies higher beneath the surface than the Cenomanian one (the former – approximately 800m, the latter – 900-1700m), but it is considere to be hard-to-recover because of low permeability of collectors, changeability of their coverage, low gas debits, presence of not high formation temperatures, permafrost boarders, and anomalously high formation pressure.
Marat Khusnullin proudly demonstrates us flow line № 3, where the gas from the Turonian pool is delivered to the Installation of complex gas preparation. Well № 174 is an experimental one and was built specially for Turonian gas production.
The dual bottomhole subhorizontal well allows carrying out separate and joint production of two Turonian reservoirs. The unique well equipment was made in Russia and costs approximately 100 times less than the American analogues.
Commercial gas flows through this pipe to Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS). On the photo the tube seems quite small but in fact not every person can reach it.
The field territory includes a fire station, the soldiers of which showed us small exhibition training.
A part of them is always in fighting efficiency. Besides serving the manufacture, it also helps to extinguish forest fires in suburbs.
Petr Maryin, fire-engine driver: “Since I’ve finished serving in the army in 1991, I live and work in Urengoy, I love the North land and decided to stay her forever”. We wish the soldiers dry sleeves and return to the rotational camp for a tasty dinner and overnight stop.
The next day we had an extensive cultural programme ahead of us: visit of reindeer breeder nomand camp and the Krasnoselkup village – the regional centre of same-name Krasnoselkup region of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, also called “land of countless fur riches”. The “workaholic” MI-8T is being filled with important load for the nomand camp. Reindeer state farm director (in the state farm work several reindeer breeding families, which pasture the flocks on different pastures) is happy to take occasion to deliver its workers provisions and different necessary household things. Severneftegazprom helps native people not only to deliver loads to the nomand camps, but also takes care of creation of favorable environment for living, working, studying and spare time of living here people in whole. The ompany has financed creation of informational system in school № 17 of Noviy Urengoy, finaces building of Serafim Sarovskiy temple, house construction in village Tolka and Ratta, carries out gas oil purchase for the clan community, is the sponsor of child hockey team “Geologist” and of several other sport and cultural objects and events. Just recently the Company has made a special gift for Krasnoselkup children of families with low income – a trip to Germany.
In addition to already issued antimosquito means we receive special clothes – a net which is named mosquito net. As it turned out, it was right to wear them, because the mosquitos turned out to be wild. If we hadn’t got the protection, the media tour participants were being ate alive.
Now we fly over the boundless tundra. There aren’t any roads or they are used only in winter – it’s the so called winter road.
In Krasnoselkup the capitan landed the airplane near a concrete site masterfully.
The village sprung up in 1933 on the place of selkup nomad camp Nyariy match. Translated into Russian it means “waterlogged tundra forest”. With discovery of gas fields the number of village population began to grow rapidly. After some decline in 90ies now the village has some kind of second birth – not without help from Gazprom. It’s being renewed and under reconstruction. A new school, roads were build, a gas pipeline from Yuzhno-Russkoye field is designed to be united with the village.
Then we got back into the helicopter. Now we’re flying to the reindeer nomand camp. A sign of crew skill is to choose an area from above and land on it. The case is that the tundra here is like a big soft bog. It’s possible to walk on it, but the ground is elastic. After a light contact with the ground the flight mechanic jumps out instantly out of the cabin and checks how the undercarriage weights down against the surface. If he has any doubts he gives the sign and the capitan opens the machine. By the way, later just a few meters away from the landing one of us fell into water.
After unloading, the helicopter leaves for refueling.
And we meet the Selkupians.
The severe nature leaves its mark on the lifestyle of these people.
The Krasnoselkup district is one of the least populated in YaNAO. About 6 000 people live here. 1 300 of them maintained the traditional nomadic life. The average density of population on 100 km² makes up less than 10 people.
Here finally we meet the “promised” earlier mosquitos. Some of the visitors at first were sceptical about the mosquito net, but then put them on quickly. Even the natives often wear mosquito nets.
The reindeer can purr like a cat. He has also bushy horns. This one liked the given attention and courting.
Children live with their parents till the beginning of school. Then they are send to Krasnoselkup in an boarding school, where they get education.
Hospitality is some kind sacred. When you enter a tent, you get regaled with tea for sure.
Here live several families which look after the flock. In summer they roam from place to place once in two-three days, in winter they can remain at one place up to a week. It’s because the reindeers eat reindeer moss which grows very slow (3-5 mm per year). In order to avoid pasture exhaustion it’s necessary to drive it from one place to another permanently.
Dogs guard the flocks, drive reindeers and just brighten up the life. Usually they live outdoors, but at bad weather come into the tent.
A little Selkupian ran after his mother and got tangled in the bushes fell down. He stood up by himself and started to cry so loud until this older brother came back for him. Later he refused to walk home as well as to accept help from strangers.
Tent summer version. In winter more fell layers are being used and a floor is being covered with planks.
A young family with their firstborn, who is just a few month old. Vitaliy grazed reindeers by himself before, now he is working on the state farm where besides the “collective” reindeers he grazes about 200 his own reindeers.
Yamal has the unofficial status of reindeer breeding world center. The number of domestic North reindeers in Yamal counts more than 600 000 heads – it’s the biggest flock worldwide.
This state farm includes 3 000 heads, approximately a half of them belongs to different families.
Our short visiting has come to an end, it’s time to fly to Noviy Urengoy.
We take off and encircle the nomad camp.
The flock looks incredibly beautiful from above.
Welcome to the airport! Our little trip is finished, but bright unforgettable emotions remained and also the hope to visit this surprising nature full of energy, these amazing land and people, living and working here. The North is severe, but very beautiful and we will come back here soon!