The Gulf of Ob — in the estuary of the River Ob — is the largest bay in the Kara Sea, with the Yamal peninsula to its west. The harsh climate in the depths of the Arctic means that the Gulf does not become free of ice until July, before freezing over again in October. In August 2014, product tankers with a high ice class, the SCF Yenisei and SCF Pechora, were engaged in the transportation of discovery oil from the Novoportovskoye field in the Gulf of Ob. The charterer was OAO Gazprom neft, an affiliate of OAO Gazprom. The SCF Yenisei and SCF Pechora, each with a deadweight of approximately 47,000 tonnes, sail under the flag of the Russian Federation have a high ice class (1A).
These SCF product carriers became the largest vessels in this part of the extreme North. Two years before the start of the Novoportovskoye project, the tanker SCF Neva – from the same series as the SCF Yenisei and SCF Pechora, operated in the Gulf of Ob under a contract with OAO Lukoil. This was an important step in the development of commercial shipping in the Arctic, and allowed SCF Group to prepare for the future transportation of oil from the Novoportovskoye field.
Tankers shipping oil from the Gulf of Ob pass through part of the Northern Sea Route. Specialists from SCF are continuing research into the characteristics of this seaway, and are preparing ships and training crew members to meet the challenges of participating in projects on the Yamal peninsula.
The participation of Sovcomflot vessels in the successful transportation of oil from the Novoportovskoye field shows that the company is succeeding in two of its key strategies: to increase its presence in the transport and logistics segment of large-scale projects in Russia’s Far North, and to open up high-latitude Arctic routes between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.