• Molikpaq oil drillling and production platform amid ice floes, offshore Russia
  • Molikpaq oil drillling and production platform, offshore Russia
  • Molikpaq oil drillling and production platform, offshore Russia
  • Ship OKHA with Molikpaq oil drillling and production platform in background, offshore Russia
  • Ship OKHA in rough seas near Molikpaq oil drilling and production platform, offshore Russia
First offshore oil production platform in Russia stands strong

Sakhalin Island is located off the east coast of Russia, north of Japan. The economy of this Russian island depends heavily on oil and gas production, with rich resources offshore beneath frigid, wind-swept seas.

Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) bought the Molikpaq, an Arctic-class bottom founded drilling platform formerly used by another company in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. The new owners wanted to convert the platform to an oil-drilling and production facility at the Piltun-Astohskoye site 10 miles off the northeast shore of Sakhalin Island. Redeployment required design of a new sub-surface foundation for the structure, which would need to withstand magnitude 7 earthquakes, 45-foot storm waves and highly mobile ice hummock fields in the turbulent North Pacific Ocean.

Sakhalin Energy retained Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB), a Louis Berger affiliate, to provide geotechnical consulting services and to work with the project team in modifying the platform, which was set down in about 90 feet of water. KCB analyzed the foundation and fill material to ensure adequate factor of safety against liquefaction, and identified suitable borrow material that would provide slide-resistance for the foundation pad and the sand core. Nearly 10 tons of explosives were used to compact loose fill in the core.

KCB duties have included:

  • Designing a system of 12 seawater supply wells within the sand core that were required for drilling and production of the oil.
  • Designing pumps and well intakes to meet a 30-year design life in the corrosive seawater environment.
  • Monitoring performance of the Molikpaq, using more than 380 instruments.

Post-construction assessments of the Molikpaq show that it has held up to to daunting environmental forces, enabling Sakhalin Energy to become the first enterprise to develop and produce oil resources in Russia under a production sharing agreement.