Berkut: this is the name of the largest oil platform in the world
Since its debut in early summer 2014, the Berkut oil platform has been an example of oil industry achievement. It measures 105 meters in length, 60 meters in width and its height exceeds 144 meters if the submerged part is included.
The mass of its upper section alone is more than 42,000 tons, contributing to the structure’s total weight exceeding 200,000 tons. Originally promoted by Rosneft, ExxonMobil, SODECO and ONGC Videsh to exploit the fossil resources of the Arkutum-Dagi field, the Berkut oil platform stands as a colossus in the seas.
Operation in extreme conditions
When it was put into operation, the Berkut platform stood out for incorporating the most powerful top drive drilling device in the world. Thanks to this power, the machine had a lifting capacity of 1,150 tons and those responsible anticipated that the Arkutun-Dagi field would contribute up to 4.5 million tons of oil per year to the Sakhalin-1 consortium.
With the intention that Berkut could work in the most extreme conditions, including freezing temperatures, violent waves and earthquakes, the platform debuted with an innovative system capable of resisting magnitude 9 earthquakes without affecting its efficiency and operating at -25ºC or facing 18-meter waves, almost comparable to a tsunami. In addition, it can withstand the pressure of ice sheets up to two meters thick.
Berkut’s magnitude is reflected not only in its specifications, but also in the exceptional logistics deployed by its developers in 2014 to assemble the platform, a maneuver that set several world records. The upper section, weighing 42,000 tons, had to travel an extraordinary distance of 2,600 kilometers from the Korean shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, where it was assembled, to its final location in the waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, about 25 kilometers from the island of Sakhalin, in Russian territory.
A striking aspect is that for its implementation it was necessary to reach an agreement between the Government of Russia, the regional authorities of Sakhalin and an international consortium composed of Rosneft (20%), ONGC Videsh of India (20%), SODECO of Japan (30%) and ExxonMobil of the United States, which participated with 30% through its subsidiary Exxon Neftegas.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the Sakhalin-1 deal in 2020, Rosneft estimated that cumulative oil and condensate production exceeded 125 million tonnes and 28 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas had been supplied to the Far East. Berkut was possibly conceived to imperturbably withstand the onslaught of giant waves, earthquakes and low subarctic temperatures while operating in the Pacific.
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