Arctic engineering for first oil production platform in Russian Arctic

Molikpaq Spacer and Modifications
Sakhalin Island, Russia
Sakhalin Energy
Industry Sector
Oil & Gas
Oil Sands
Service Area
Asset Management & Optimisation; Transportation & Logistics; Upstream Consulting
Operations Improvement; Simulation & Optimisation; Arctic Engineering

First oil production platform in the Russian Arctic. Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. refurbished and redeployed the Molikpaq platform, a bottom-founded arctic offshore drilling structure.

Originally designed by Ausenco for Gulf Canada, it is now located off Sakhalin Island and was the first oil production platform in the Russian Arctic. The Sea of Ohkotsk is ice-covered for half the year, generates severe waves during the open-water season and is one of the world’s most seismically active regions.

To accommodate the harsh wave and ice climate, Ausenco designed a doughnut-shaped steel base or “Spacer” that was constructed in four segments at the Komsomol’sk-na-Amur shipyard in Siberia, towed down the Amur River and assembled near Vladivostok not far from Russia's borders with China and North Korea.

On a parallel schedule, the Molikpaq platform was towed from the Canadian Arctic to a Korean refurbishing yard for conversion. We designed a comprehensive program of structural modifications to strengthen the Molikpaq platform to accommodate wave impact. Mating of the Molikpaq and the spacer was completed at the refurbishing yard in Korea.

We developed a state-of-the-art simulation model critical for the mating and ballasting process. The integrated structure was deployed in 1998 and, after extensive engineering investigations to minimise the total volumes of materials required, erosion protection installation was completed prior to the onset of the ice season. Adaption of the original Molikpaq platform involved the extensive evaluation of large armoured (15 tonne) submerged rock islands, the associated global and local wave loads and the implications to topside activities and functions.

Commercial oil production from the platform was launched in 1999.