NSR Shipping Traffic – Work of Drilling Rigs on the NSR in 2019

In 2019, 3 drilling rigs operated in the NSR waters: “Nanhai VIII”, “Arkticheskaya” and “Amazon”.

Leningradskoe gas condensate field

On July 7, as part of the towing caravan, “Nanhai VIII”, semi-submersible floating drilling rig, leaved Murmansk port. The rig, accompanied by two towing vessels, two supply vessels and one SAR vessel, was delivered from the Kola Bay through the Barents Sea to the area of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, where it was met by icebreaker “Kigoriak” for escort in the Kara Sea. In total, “Nanhai VIII” covered a path of 728 nautical miles (1348 km).  The drilling rig started the way back to Murmansk on October 17th. “Nanhai VIII” was involved by Gazprom Geologorazvedka for drilling operations at Leningradskoe gas condensate field. During the drilling season, exploration well No. 4 was built here for the purpose of searching and evaluating the predicted gas and gas condensate deposits. Supply and rescue vessels provided the operation of the drilling platform: Siem Emerland, Siem Diamond, Odin Express, Spasatel Demidov, Norsea Fighter, Sea Supra, Almaz.

Skuratovskoe license area

On July 9, “Arkticheskaya” self-elevating floating drilling rig, accompanied by towing and rescue vessels, also went to the shelf near Yamal. The rig covered a distance of 857 nautical miles (1,587 km) to the construction place of prospecting and appraisal well No. 1 on the Skuratovskoe license area. The drilling rig left the Kara Sea on October 24 and arrived at the port of Murmansk on November 3. Activities of “Arkticheskaya” were supported by vessels: Almaz, Umka, Odin Express, Ocean Zephyr, Murman, Sea Spear, Sea Supra, Siem Diamond, Sea Surfer, Siem Emerland, Norsea Fighter.

Severo-Obskiy lisence area

A short navigation period in the conditions of the Arctic shelf of the Kara Sea allows drilling operations to be carried out for only 2-3 months – from mid-July or early August to October. In the most icy years, clean water can be observed only in September, and in the remaining months the water area is filled with drifting ice. The speed of sea currents due to wind and tides can reach 0.6–0.65 m / s., waves reach 8 meters.

“Amazon” drilling rig went to the work site from the port of Yamburg on July 23. Given the need to maximize the use of ice-free period and increase the length of the drilling season, “Gazprom Flot” company has created a base for winter stationing and repair of drilling rigs in the port of Yamburg. This allowed to extend the drilling season in the region of the Ob Bay for more than a month. Indeed, transportation from Murmansk to the drilling site in the Ob Bay and back took up to 25 days. It was necessary to involve nuclear icebreakers in order to get through ice clogging in the Kara Gate, spending considerable funds on this. Now there is no such problem for “Amazon”. During the 2019 drilling season, “Amazon”, like last year, was commissioned by NOVATEK at Severo-Obskiy lisence area under “Arctic LNG-2” project. The platform completed work on October 19. The operation of the drilling rig “Amazon” was provided by vessels Narval and Errie.


There were not many operators supplied platforms – these are MAGE, the ships of the company showed the most activity, Marine Rescue Services and Femko Management (see the chart on the map).

Tracks of supply ships operated for Nanhai 8 have pink color on the map, for Arkticheskaya – green one, for Amazon – red one. Black colored tracks show movement of the drilling rigs to the work sites and back.

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