Sakhalin Energy Production Assets: Working in Harsh Environment

Sakhalin is the Russia’s largest island with sever climatic conditions. The air temperature goes down to minus 40 degrees Celsius in winter in the north of the island, and the sea is covered with ice for virtually six months.

Wave height at Piltun-Astokhskoye and Lunskoye fields, where Sakhalin Energy produces oil and gas, reaches several metres.

At the end of April, a powerful cyclone with heavy snowfall and strong winds hit the north of Sakhalin.

To operate in such weather conditions, special procedures are in place at our production assets to minimise risks and ensure safety. Before the cyclone, a thorough check for all unfastened equipment and technical details at the production areas takes place, a decision is made on the transfer of repair and construction works, and the schedule of technical measures is adjusted. In all this, clarity and coherence of the team’s actions is important in order not to stop operations and continue safe production.

The north assets’ managers say, how they overcame that stormy days: heavy snow with rain and wind up to 20 metres per second.

Piltun-Astokhskoye-B (PA-B) platform OIM, Paul Harkin:

“During this recent cyclone the platform had very little impact due to the weather conditions. The robust snow and ice management policy that we use on a daily basis ensures our safe operations. We did see temperatures dropping to below normal spring levels and had some snow, rain and wind, but again with no impact for our daily activities. We operate platform safely as per all procedures and guidelines”.

Molikpaq (Piltun-Astokhskoye-A/PA-A) platform OIM, Paul Rogers:

“The impact was felt primarily from our construction team when work was stopped in the high wind areas. The weather also prevented three shift changes from Molikpaq to the Stephan Makarov accommodation support vessel (ASV) and back. This meant various work activities were slowed due to the lack of manpower. This is the reality of working in harsh weather and we build downtime into our plans to account for this. Work is rearranged so the right manpower is in place to manage the remaining work activities safely”.

Lunskoye-A (LUN-A) OIM, Vasily Samoilov:

“Despite the serious forecast, all the work took place as usual, and these are normal conditions for us. Production on the platform is always on, the weather does not affect this process, but the work outside – construction, loading, repair operations – all these require a careful assessment of the external conditions. The last cyclone was characterised by a strong wind, the speed of which exceeded 18 metres per second, so we moved the loading operations for a more favorable time”.

Onshore Assets Manager, Denis Lutsev:

“Despite the heavy snowfall, work at onshore assets (both at booster station 2 and at the onshore processing facility) went on as usual. The production area was cleared gradually using snowplows. The wind direction in which the snow did not blow into the filters and internal compartments of the equipment played in our favor, so the effort was spent only on clearing the territory, and after the end of the cyclone we started our further activity”.


Onshore processing facility (OPF)

30 April 2020