Messoyakha: how the conquerors of arctic depths live nowadays
Two years ago, on September 21, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched industrial operations of East Messoyakha field via a video linkup. It is not only the northernmost onshore oil production facility in the country, but it is also a very unique field in terms of its oil characteristics and production technologies. Our crew has visited Messoyakha and found out how the conquerors of the Arctic depths live nowadays.
Resources extracted from East Messoyakha field amount to nearly 500 million tons of oil and condensate and almost 200 billion cubic meters of gas. The production of “black gold” is constantly growing, by 2020 it will reach 6 million tons of oil a year. However, Messoyakha reluctantly parts with its wealth.
‘Major difficulties in drilling are caused by the fact that oil-bearing layers are located at a relatively shallow depth of 800-850 meters. Boreholes reach the length of 2,500-2,700 meters, so we have to look for technologies that ensure proper load on the drilling bit with such a small vertical depth and such a big length of the borehole,’ says Boris Burdinsky, the head of drilling department of Messoyakhaneftegaz.
In order to work in such difficult geological conditions of small depths, the company uses a fishbone technology – a technology of drilling horizontal bore with multiple laterals. At the same time new technologies increasing production output are introduced; deeper layers are developed as well.
‘Our oil is very hard to produce, but it has a very unusual quality – its freezing temperature is very low. Other oils freeze at 0 degrees, while our oil freezes at minus 23 degrees and lower. This fact is very important for oil transportation via pipelines located, for example, here in Yamal. In northern regions we do not need to additionally heat the pipelines so much,’ – says Nadezhda Shershen, the head of chemical analysis laboratory at “Messoyakhaneftegaz”
Concurrently with oil production at Messoyakha field, geological prospecting work is going on too, so new infrastructure facilities are added to the oil production site.
‘The number of essential facilities is increasing, we are growing, spreading both our geographical and territorial boundaries. Two years ago all the facilities and well platforms were 5-10 km away from our accommodation, but now the furthest platform is drilled 45 km away from here,’ says Sergey Matveev, the head of East Messoyakha production site.
Not only the territory is expanding. Social facilities have also changed dramatically: today there are four accommodation blocks, a sports facility, a spacious gym and a shop. A modern canteen has been opened recently. Diverse menus make people forget that they live above the Arctic Circle, far from supermarkets and restaurants. In the nearest future there will be a new medical facility and a laundry room.
Coming back from their shifts to the rooms, the oilmen know that they will have a good place to rest.
‘A TV, a refrigerator, everything is provided. We have a meal, take a shower, drink tea and have rest. There is everything. There is no single fault. There is everything. Some other companies do not provide showers or a bathhouse, but a person needs to relax, to go to the gym… Here we have everything to get some rest after work. And still, we have come here not to take rest, but to work, to extract the oil,’ – says Dmitry Brazhevsky, an electric and gas welder.
Much has changed in Messoyakha within two years. One thing remains the same – professionalism of the team that is growing with each year and each new challenge resolved. Today, more than a thousand people work on the field – they are a young team, coming from various towns and cities of our huge country.