Achimgaz Pioneering Work in Siberia
The Achimgaz joint venture is a prime example of successful German-Russian cooperation that is facing up to the technological challenges.
Achimgaz is a German-Russian joint venture in Western Siberia in which Wintershall Dea and Gazprom each have a 50 per cent shareholding. In the vicinity of the city of Novy Urengoy in the Arctic Circle, 3,500 kilometres east of Moscow, the partners extract gas and gas condensate from the geologically challenging Block 1A in the Achimov Formation in the Urengoy field under extreme climatic conditions. The company produces up to 29 million cubic metres of gas and 12,000 tonnes of condensate from around 100 wells per day. The joint venture’s long-term goals remain ambitious: According to the state-approved development plan for the reservoir, the total production of Achimgaz is estimated at 230 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 70 million tonnes of condensate.
The Achimov Formation lies at a depth of almost 4,000 metres, which is deeper than many of the already developed gas fields in the region. By the end of December 2018, Achimgaz had commissioned 101 wells and set up a large-scale plant for separating natural gas and condensate, which now has five processing lines. The wells are S-shaped in order to better develop the gas fields. Once the drilling activities have been completed, the production from up to 110 wells is set to increase to an annual level of around eight billion cubic metres of natural gas.
Achimgaz is the only major project in the Russian energy sector where an international company is on board as an equal partner. All decisions at Achimgaz are taken unanimously by Wintershall Dea and Gazprom, i.e. in mutual agreement. The project is also characterised by the excellent cooperation of the workforce from the most diverse countries of the world: at Achimgaz, Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Argentinians, Americans and colleagues with many other nationalities are all pulling together.
Achimgaz is renowned for its expertise in drilling under extreme climatic and geological conditions. The joint venture is a perfect example of successful German-Russian cooperation in the energy sector that is facing up to the technological challenges.
The Achimov Formation is not only geologically demanding. The adverse conditions above the surface are also a challenge. In wintertime, which lasts from September to May in Novy Urengoy, temperatures drop to minus 40 degrees. All production and processing facilities withstand temperature fluctuations from minus 56 to plus 34 degrees Celsius. In addition, the remoteness of the region requires particularly careful planning of the construction work. Thanks to a robust shift system, production runs even under the most adverse climatic conditions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In the meantime, this efficiency has attracted nationwide attention: In its renowned ranking of the 500 largest companies in Russia, the Russian media holding company RBK listed Achimgaz as Russia’s second most profitable company in 2018.