The experience gained from previous work on the continental shelf, including at the relatively nearby Prirazlomnoye field also operated by Gazprom Neft, was taken into account during preparations for the exploration programme.

Major global service companies such as Schlumberger and Weatherford are involved in the Dolginskoye project. Based on initial studies, a further programme will be drawn up to explore the field and prepare for exploratory drilling during the ice-free seasons in the years to follow.

Drilling and testing of the well will be carried out in 2014 by the GSP Saturn jackup rig, which arrived on site in mid-June and is installed directly on the seabed. The rig is authorised to drill on the continental shelf in the Arctic sea and has been modernised and comprehensively audited* by authoritative international and Russian specialist agencies. These have confirmed that GSP Saturn is fully fit for exploratory drilling in the Pechora sea.

Advanced innovative technology will be employed, including environmentally safe water-based drilling fluid system. ? rotary control system will be used for drilling on the Arctic shelf, which will speed up drilling and reduce drilling mud. Any mud produced will be shipped back to the mainland to be recycled in line with the zero-discharge policy. In addition, an innovative borehole management system from one of the world’s leading hydrodynamic survey companies will be used for the first time in Russia to improve reliability and quality of work. This technology will speed up the study of the oil reservoir and enable high-quality measurements to be taken with maximum safety and efficiency. This will be the first time that some of this technology has ever been used in Russia.

The Spasatel Karev emergency support vessel will be on hand round the clock while work is taking place. Along with the four ships chartered for ancillary work, it is equipped with a DP-2 dynamic positioning system that allows it to maintain a fixed position for loading in extreme weather conditions. The border checkpoint at Varandey airport has been extended to allow flights to the Dolginskoye field. Until now the airport has only been open for flights to the Prirazlomnoye platform.