In 1995 Total signed a Production Sharing Agreement with the Russian Federation for the development and production of the Kharyaga oil field, situated 60km to the north of the Polar Circle in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and 140km away from the main base in Usinsk (Figure 1).

Kharyaga is the first project in Russia under PSA terms. It is a key operationnal project for Total in Russia to date. Total (40%) operates the project in partnership with the Norwegian Statoil (30%), the Russian Zarubezhneft (20%), and the Russian Nenets Oil Company (10%).

Total E&P Russie has developed knowledge and competences for drilling and completion activities in arctic conditions, during its operations on the onshore Kharyaga field.

The weather is particularly harsh at the rig site with a temperature far below 0°C from October to June. The average temperature is around −20°C and it can sometimes go down to −53°C in winter time, without considering the wind chill.

From the operations point of view, the Kharyaga field reservoirs are normally pressured or depleted reservoirs, at depths of up to 2850mTVD. It contains up to 1.2% H2S. Whilst the wells themselves are relatively low technology and at quite average depths, operating in such environment remains a challenge.

This paper reviews the various operational specifics such as equipment, procedures and best practices required to safely and efficiently drill onshore wells in arctic conditions.

HSE specifics for arctic

Kharyaga field working conditions

The general working conditions on the field could be summarized as follow:

  • Low temperatures (absolute static minimum: −53°C),

  • Strong wind, up to 38m/s,

  • Huge temperature range from winter to summer, about 85°C amplitude,

  • Rapid temperature changes, up to 20°C within 24 hours,

  • Low atmospheric pressure with sudden changes,

  • Low light level / polar night,

  • Swampy area / mosquitoes in summer time,

  • Outside work limitation in winter.

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