By Martin Chomksy

A joint-veture of Rosneft and BP has discovered a field in Taimyr with natural gas reserves of 384 billion cubic metres. The discovered field is the largest in the region in terms of gas reserves and has high productivity rates.

“The field with gas reserves of 384 billion cubic metres was discovered as a result of the drilling of exploration well No. 1 in the Verkhniekubinsky block licensed to Ermak Neftegaz – a joint venture of Rosneft and BP established in 2016. This onshore field belongs is in an exceptional category” Rosneft said in a statement.

The company stresses that the field is the largest in the region in terms of gas reserves and has high productivity indicators. It is also expected to be relatively easily accessible given the remote location of the Taimyr Peninsula.

This mountainous slice of northern Russia lies beyond the Arctic Circle, wedged between the Kara and Laptev seas. The climate is harsh – long winters (272 days and nights) with temperatures below minus 40 degrees and a short summer that starts in July and ends two months later.

There are very few human settlements on the peninsula, but the area is rich in natural resources (including reindeer, goats, muskoxen, sable, polar foxes, polar bears). There are hundreds of lakes, streams and rivers; mountains up to 1100 metres high, forests and tundra and vast meadows. The polar night lasts 45 days – from 13 November to 13 January and the polar day, when the sun does not set, is 68 days long from 19 May to 25 July.

Rosneft and its largest foreign shareholder, BP (over 25% of shares), have been exploring the Arctic regions of Russia for several years. Rosneft produces about 55 bcm of gas annually (Gazprom about 590 bcm). For years, it has been unsuccessfully demanding a licence for direct exports to bypass Gazprom’s monopoly.