Gazpromneft-Sakhalin, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, has signed a contract with Hakuryu 5, a subsidiary of Japan Drilling, regarding the leasing of a drilling rig for construction of a prospecting and appraisal well at the Ayashsky licence block, located on the continental shelf of the Sea of Okhotsk.

The semi-submersible floating rig is expected to complete all drilling during the 2017 summer season, as well as allowing well testing and core sampling for laboratory testing. Exploratory and appraisal drilling has not, hitherto, been undertaken at the Ayashsky block.

The HAKURYU-5 floating rig was subject to extensive technological modification in 2014, with further modernisation to be undertaken as part of preparations for the 2017 drilling season in line with the demands of the climatic and hydrological conditions of the Sea of Okhotsk.

Andrey Patrushev, Deputy CEO, Shelf Projects Development, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Gazprom Neft continues to investigate all of the company’s licence blocks located on Russia’s continental shelf. We are convinced that the unique experience we have accumulated on the Russian Arctic Shelf can be successfully utilised in implementing projects throughout Russia’s other promising oil regions, and that using international best practice in drilling and well testing will ensure safe and effective operations.”