Arctic oil spill cleanup equipment tested at Prirazlomnaya
© RIA Novosti. Maksim Blinov

Arctic oil spill cleanup equipment tested at Prirazlomnaya

The first Russian drills in cleaning up oil spills under Arctic conditions have been held at the Prirazlomnaya ice-resistant oil platform in the Pechora Sea, RIA Novosti reported on April 26, citing the press service of Gazprom Neft Shelf.

Similar drills were also held at the port of Murmansk.

The drills involved the tugboat vessel Aleut, the multirole rescue vessel Murman, and the icebreaker Yury Topchev. Gazprom Neft Shelf organized the drills with support from the oil spill response company Ecoshelf-Baltic and Lamor Corporation AB.

During these drills, experts tested the special oil collection equipment mounted on the three vessels, including ice-resistant equipment and a bucket skimmer.

"The drills demonstrated that the oil collection equipment can be used to clean up oil spills in solid or crushed ice on ships at anchor or while underway. This equipment has the ability to cut through ice as thick as 50 cm," Gazprom Neft Shelf said in a statement.

The drills show the technical reliability of the equipment, which can therefore be used in shelf areas under Arctic conditions.

The Prirazlomnoye oil field was discovered 60 kilometers off the Pechora Sea coast in 1989. Its recoverable reserves have been estimated at over 70 million metric tons. The Prirazlomnaya ice-resistant oil production platform was built specially for this field. It can be used in extreme weather conditions and under maximum ice loads and satisfies current safety requirements.

Prirazlomnoye is so far the only Arctic project in Russia where oil is produced in commercial amounts. Ice-resistant vessels with oil recovery capability are permanently stationed off the Prirazlomnaya platform.