Russia’s Gazprom Neft subsidiary has secured license for the exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons at the Ayashsky block until 1 July 2039.

The license for the block, which is located on the continental shelf of the Sea of Okhotsk, has been awarded by the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency to Gazpromneft Sakhalin.

Located next to the developed fields of the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects, the Ayashsky block forms part of the Sakhalin-3 project.

Recoverable reserves at the latest Gazprom Neft asset are estimated at more than 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe).

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov said: “Developing new projects on the Russian continental shelf means Gazprom Neft can optimise the experience gained in developing and operating the Prirazlomnoye field in the Pechora Sea, and the Novoportovskoye and Messohakhskoye fields in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. “

Under the terms of its licence agreement, Gazprom Neft is now making preparations for the drilling of an initial prospecting and appraisal well at the Ayashsky formation.

The drilling is expected to begin in summer 2017.

 Dyukov said: “Using the most cutting-edge technologies and management systems, our company continues to expand the geographic extent of its activities. Safe and effective development in Russia’s most promising oil regions is an area of strategic focus in Gazprom Neft’s operations.”

Earlier this month, Gazprom Neft has commissioned two new production wells at its Arctic oil field Prirazlomnoye field, expanding the total number of well to six.

A total number of 32 wells are estimated to be commissioned in the development of the Prirazlomnoye field.