Abstract

The region of the Barents and the Kara seas is considered to be extremely rich for energy resources, primary gas. Nowadays this area is divided between two Russian majors – Gazprom and Rosneft. These companies have several projects with their foreign partners: Statoil and Eni in the Barents, ExxonMobil in the Kara Sea. All of these projects are in their early stages (feasibility study, exploration works) but both the experts and the management of the companies agree that production from this region requires enormous investments at a potential high-risk level. This is due to very harsh environmental conditions that put limits on usage of the earlier proved technologies and techniques, personnel, etc.

Moreover some of the regions might not be developed by means of only one company and to be bold enough to state it by the means of one country.

One of the very promising areas is the well-known Barents Sea with its unique fields like the Shtokman and others. Unfortunately the investment decision for the Shtokman project is regularly put off and there are certain reasons for it. Another area, which is now under active exploration, is the Kara Sea. It's not a secret that this sea is even more severe than the Barents – tremendous ice cover, icebergs, and challenging meteorological conditions.

The paper anticipates a new concept that proposes to use the Novay Zemlya archipelago as a cluster base for development of the whole region of the eastern Barents and western Kara seas. In this case the so called "unitization principle" can be implemented that might improve economics of field development due to less overall investments in common infrastructure.

It is proposed to build an LNG plant on the archipelago that will be capable to treat gas from several fields, a pipeline system and a port for LNG takers. The pipeline system should be optimized in order to meet production levels from the fields as well as the capacity of the LNG plant. The paper introduces an approach to the problem of pipeline route optimization which is based on multi criteria principle. Total cost of construction and maintenance of pipeline along certain route is determined as a function of several parameters (water depth, presence of ice/icebergs, soil conditions, slop, etc.) and has to be minimized in this model. The problem of optimum pipeline route is solved with the means of modified algorithms from the graph theory.

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