10 Nov 2023 17:46

Little exploration drilling done in offshore area of East Arctic, but large geological discoveries could be made here - Rosnedra chief

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) - Stratigraphic drilling will make possible new geological discoveries in the East Arctic region, Rosnedra head Yevgeny Petrov said at a press briefing on the results of the field drilling season at the Russia International Exhibition.

He noted that there are not many places where this drilling can be carried out - where the target sediments are close to the seabed surface. "But in the Russian Arctic, in our marginal seas, there are a lot of such places where you can in a relatively inexpensive way get unique geological results, especially if we talk about the Eastern Arctic - it is extremely poorly studied via drilling, we mainly rely on remote sensing methods, which often do not make it possible to unambiguously answer certain questions," Petrov said.

"There are probably no places left on our planet where major geological discoveries can still be made. The Eastern Arctic is the last region," he said.

"The core that has been lifted today allows us to take a fundamentally new look at this region not only in terms of geological history, but also in terms of oil and gas prospects," the Rosnedra chief said.

In addition, he said that broadband seismic exploration was carried out with Innopraktika this year, which allows for significant reduction of the timeframe of operations.

Alexander Pashali, Director of Rosneft's Department of Scientific and Technical Development and Innovations, added that this is the latest domestic innovation, which has no analogues in the world. "In essence, it allows via simultaneous ground sensing in different frequency bands to obtain information not only about deep target structures, which is important for localization of hydrocarbon reserves, but also about the near-bottom part of the shelf, which is especially important for construction of wells and offshore structures," he said.

"The current 2023 season is the busiest of all four seasons of our Arctic shelf stratigraphic drilling project," the Rosneft executive said. This season, the Bavenit drilling vessel continued its work on creating a large-scale geological model of the Arctic region. The project covers all seas of the Russian Arctic and 26 wells were drilled during 4 field seasons. "The idea of the project is to drill shallow wells to target geological horizons, and from them draw conclusions about the occurrence of target horizons at greater depths in order to understand the geological structure of entire basins," he said.

"The technological retrofitting of the Bavenit drilling vessel with vertical seismic profiling tools using fiber-optic technology has allowed us, together with Rosnedra, to set more ambitious goals for drilling deeper wells in the Arctic Ocean to obtain more information about the geology of the region," Pashali said.

In addition, the Kimberlit vessel conducted studies of ancient submarine permafrost. "We received unique results for the first time in the Laptev Sea, 300 meters of frozen ground samples were obtained from six wells at once. This will allow us, together with Innopraktika, to obtain the most important information about the evolution of the region over the last tens of thousands of years," he said.

Rosneft and Innopraktika have been carrying out shallow stratigraphic drilling in the northern seas starting in 2020. Beginning in 2022, this work has been carried out jointly with Rosnedra. In the 2023 field season, the project covered all seas of the Russian sector of the Arctic. The results of the analytical studies will make it possible to refine the forecast of the region's oil and gas potential, study ground conditions, and substantiate the extent of the Russian shelf in the Arctic Ocean.

Stratification involves determining the age, composition and formation conditions of rocks on the continental shelf.