Drilling for Oil Amid Artic Ice
There is a man-made island that is the size of two football fields in the Pechora Sea. It can accommodate 200 people and its known as the Prirazlomnaya Platform. The platform is on the Russian Shelf above the Arctic Circle, and it operates around the clock to extract the oil. It’s a self-contained city where work never stops. Every crew member has a twelve-hour shift that calls for total physical and mental alertness and each department operates 24 hours per day.
In 2014 Russia became the world’s first producer of Arctic oil or ARCO. Other countries had tried to build a platform but were unsuccessful. The Kirill Lavro is one of two giant tankers that transport the black gold to land. The platform can’t function without the help of these tankers.
Once extracted, the oil must be carefully analyzed to ensure its quality. This means that scientists who work aboard the platform never take a break. They need to make sure that the oil always meets high international standards. The oil produced is a new type— low paraffin oil, which is an indispensable ingredient in a wide variety of lubricants. It has a freezing point of -48º C.
Everything that happens on the platform is examined in detail and routines are practiced to perfection.
The Prirazlomnaya platform is constantly expanding and putting down new boreholes. There are two search and rescue teams that practice emergency drills regularly in order to keep the crew safe and to respond speedily in the event of an oil spill. The teams take safety seriously and the engineers take great pride in the fact that not a drop of oil has been spilled since the rig started its operations.
The people who work on the platform have to quickly get used to harsh weather conditions and a strict environment with stern rules. For example, no alcohol is allowed on board. Workers spend every other month away from their families. It certainly takes strength of character to do this job.
Only one woman works aboard the platform. She is a crane operator and she does not get any type of special treatment. She has worked with all male teams all her life so she’s used to it, and in fact feels safe.
Prirazlomnaya attracts a wide range of professionals with the most up to date training because only the latest cutting edge technology is used for the operation of the platform.
Find out how the first Arctic oil is produced now.