The century of the Arctic: how to safely develop oil and gas fields located in harsh climatic conditions

Work in the North can be equated to one of the most dangerous types of human activity, along with

miners, sappers and wild trainersanimals. But, despite the high cost and obvious risks in carrying out exploration and production work, global oil and gas companies are paying more and more attention to the Arctic region, because there is a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves. The US Geological Survey estimates Arctic reserves at 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic meters. feet of gas. According to Russian scientists, the Arctic reserves are comparable with hydrocarbon reserves in Western Siberia and the Persian Gulf.

What is the danger?

Low temperatures during most of the year,changes in sea level, sea ice and icebergs, and fairly rapid climatic changes in the world — these are the main risks associated with the development of the Arctic. Thus, in 1980, the well-known accident at the Norwegian FPUB (semi-submersible drilling rig - “High-tech”) Alexander Kielland in the North Sea claimed the lives of 123 people. And relatively recently, in 2011, 53 people died on the Russian floating platform Kola in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. For reference, the largest in scale (but, fortunately, not by the number of victims) accident on the drilling platform occurred on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico on the Deepwater Horizon platform, owned by the subsidiary of the transnational corporation British Petroleum. 12 people died, the structure itself was completely destroyed by fire, and about 15 thousand tons of oil leaked out to sea. Almost the entire southern region of the United States suffered, the coasts of the three states were on the verge of an environmental disaster.

Russia is intensively increasing the development potentialthe waters of the inland waters and the Arctic shelf. To carry out geotechnical work, mining and transportation of raw materials, it is not enough just to know the exact weather forecast; multidimensional hydrometeorological monitoring of water areas is required - meteorological, oceanographic, navigation. And if this analysis is not complex, but in several disparate systems, the risk of data loss and, consequently, the dangers caused by low decision-making speeds increases.

Kolskaya floating drilling rig. Photo: Andrey Pronin / TASS / Interpress

It is also necessary to take into account that the seas in the Arcticheterogeneous: somewhere ice cover is thicker, and somewhere thinner, but denser due to the fact that the water is almost fresh. All these parameters (and there may be hundreds of them) need to be put together for making forecasts and assessing the situation. For such purposes, researchers use the most complex geographic information systems. They allow not only to collect and analyze huge amounts of data, but also to make short-term and medium-term forecasts. For example, in which direction does the nearest ice massif move, when, up to several days, you need to finish the work so that there is no risk of collision.

So, JSC "Institute of Environmental Design andsurveys ”(IEPI) in the framework of information and technological support of ice operations in the waters of the Arctic zone of Russia introduced specialized software based on the EverGIS platform, developed by Everpoint. With the help of this software, the control of the ice situation and the search for hydrocarbon pollution are carried out with the subsequent determination of their sources.

Analysis of ice conditions and water temperature in the Kara Sea in the EverGIS system

How does technology help calculate risks?

Before the introduction of geographic information systems work onThe Arctic shelf was carried out almost to the touch: all activity was planned for three months a year, when there was definitely no ice in the water area. But often in the offseason, you can start work earlier, and finish a little later - it all depends on the weather. But since it was impossible to track, a lot of time was wasted. In spring and autumn, researchers must be especially careful; it is at this time that large ice floes and other dangerous objects appear.

Today, to assess the degree of danger, scientistsmodel the direction of their drift, speed, degree of threat. For this purpose, data from a number of sources are used, including organizations and scientific institutes, for example, such large international companies as CLS (a branch of the French National Center for Space Research CNES and the French Research Institute for the Development of the Sea IFREMER) and the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Nansen International Center for Environment and Remote Sensing, N. N. Zubov State Oceanographic Institute, Marl n-South "and others.

Data that is aggregated into the system:

  • general information - the location of the object, for example, a floating or stationary platform, the boundaries of the security zone, the boundaries of license areas;
  • operational information - telemetry data from ARGOS radio beacons placed on potentially dangerous ice objects;
  • oceanographic information — sea surface temperature, current velocity and direction, wind fields, water color, bathymetry, surface anomalies, tides, salinity;
  • navigation information - vessels detected by radar satellite images, AIS data;
  • ice conditions - the boundaries and directions of drift of ice fields, the classification of types of ice, the location and estimated directions of drift of ice objects;
  • environmental situation - contours and estimated directions of drift of hydrocarbon spots and radar satellite images.

Every day, some of the data in the system is updated automatically. For other sets that do not require such a frequent update, manual uploading is possible at any time using import mechanisms.

Customer companies also have access to operational information, and, moreover, they themselves often supply spatial data to the system.

Among the customers are oil and gas companies - companies of the group Gazprom, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft - and their subcontractors, industryscientific and technical organizations. Currently, only Rosneft and Gazprom have the right to operate on the Arctic shelf. Rosneft owns 28 drilling licenses, and Gazprom owns 38. New licenses are not being issued now - Russia in 2016 introduced a temporary moratorium on licensing sections of the Arctic shelf so that, according to former Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy, companies could “Focus on the commitments already made and reduce the time it takes to open new fields” However, in September last year, the State Duma was considering a draft law on the renewal of licenses - just because of one site in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. According to Gazprom estimates, the geological reserves of the Koryakia-1 field may amount to 420 million tons of oil and 1 trillion cubic meters. m of gas. Both oil companies obviously have a great interest in its development.

Now that the researcher has everything fresh on his handsdata, it can form in the system an exact action plan to ensure the safety of the rig and work. To do this, around the objects of interest of interest (as a rule, this is a drilling rig), a buffer zone is determined, the entry into which any object is accurately calculated and controlled to ensure the safety of the drilling rig. For example, the trajectory and speed of movement of ice are calculated, which are relatively close to the drilling platform. The direction of movement of vessels around is monitored, how strong are the currents and winds in the chosen water area, will they not damage the installation? More “imperceptible” parameters are also recorded - pressure and humidity of the air, seasonal climate changes and much more.

Thanks to new technology, all this dataare brought together. The system calculates when employees of drilling platforms should begin and complete work with an accuracy of several days. It also regulates on which track the ships should move in order to reach their destination at a given time, depending on the ice conditions, ice fields drift, deformation fields and iceberg movement. The cost of a mistake is very high: if the situation in the water area is estimated incorrectly and an icebreaker is required for work, the cost of work increases by at least 1 million rubles daily - it is from this amount that the cost of an icebreaker’s work starts per day.

But it’s not enough just to protect the rigs fromices, they need to be built correctly. For example, the accident on the Norwegian platform Alexander Kielland was due to what experts call "metal fatigue." This means that when it was built, the calculations did not include the properties of metals, their wear under certain loads, temperature, humidity and other factors. A similar problem with the installation of a floating drilling rig on the ground - the researchers admit: if there is little data or poor-quality geophysical surveys, the probability of accidents is very high. For example, the Prirazlomnaya stationary oil platform was built without taking into account the recommendations of the Arctic and Antarctic Institute, which led to problems in the operation of one of the sets of devices for the direct shipment of oil. But modern analytical systems have already learned how to accumulate large amounts of necessary data, process them, and on this basis analyze how suitable the state of the environment is for installation. The most useful are data on currents, wind, sea surface anomalies, temperature and salinity. By the way, only data on the speed and direction of four currents in the Kara Sea weigh in the system 50 GB - we are talking about 22 million calculated values.

Presentation on the map of data on the movement of icebergs, on the speed and direction of currents in the Kara Sea

Leaks of petroleum products, or that unscrupulous captains hide

If something went wrong and there was a leakoil products, it is important to quickly find it, determine the source and extent of contamination. Radar and optical data are analyzed, satellite monitoring is carried out. If this is really oil, and not algae blooming on water, then the direction of its drift is determined with the help of special indicators of the oil class and the source of pollution is revealed. The most difficult stage begins here: it is possible to formally assess the probability of a drop in oil products from a particular vessel simply by analyzing data from its navigation equipment. But often captains, planning to throw pollutants into the sea, turn off identification. Then the IEPI specialists are forced to predict the routes of vessels with disabled identification: they take into account points of entry into the sea, points of destination, the last recorded coordinates of the vessel and images from space, and GIS can bring all this information together.

It is noteworthy that there are not only leaksemergency, but also natural, and EverGIS helps to distinguish them. This is important because the information on leaks goes directly to the customers, and it is important to provide them with only objective information about the production efficiency in the region.

In addition to the current state of the water area,Researchers make long-term analysis: climate change and global warming make it necessary to regularly monitor the state of glaciers, the dynamics of ice formation and purification of the water area, cyclonic drift patterns. In EverGIS, you can perform a retrospective analysis and study the dynamics of data changes over time using the Chrono Filter tool. Such an analysis will help identify seasonal patterns, the relationship between weather conditions and the state of the environment and predict short-term and medium-term trends.

But the data systems are still supported"Physical" monitoring of the water area: researchers are obliged to hedge. Specialists on duty on ice-class multifunctional rescue vessels, mark all movements on the map.

The Arctic remains one of the most promisingdirections for the development of a number of industries. It is not only about mining, but also fishing, the extraction of sea salt and even the construction of farms for growing medical plants (there are species already used in the manufacture of drugs for cancer). Therefore, we can expect rapid development of technologies in this area, including GIS. Their development will go in two main directions: ensuring safety and saving resources of drilling rigs and transportation during oil production, as well as reducing the impact of industrial development of the Arctic on the environment. It is no secret that the Arctic biosystem is extremely fragile, its inhabitants can even be hurt by the excessive noise level that rigs create. For example, gray and Greenland whales (already on the verge of extinction) use acoustic sound waves for navigation, searching for food and communication, therefore any extraneous noise is critical for them.