First gas at Achim Development
Achim Development LLC, the youngest joint venture between Gazprom PJSC (74.99 per cent) and Wintershall Dea GmbH (25.01 per cent), has successfully started hot commissioning of Area 4A of the Urengoyskoye oil, gas and gas condensate field in Western Siberia, and has produced first gas and condensate from the licence block. During this phase the production complex – which had already undergone extensive technical inspections during cold commissioning – is filled with raw gas and tested under operating conditions. Following the successful commissioning of Area 4A, it is planned that Achim Development will then proceed to commercial production of hydrocarbons. In addition, the start of commissioning for Area 5A of the field is planned for Q1 2021.
After formation of Achim Development in 2014, the company began in April 2018 the preparation of infrastructure at Area 4A/5A for the development of gas and gas condensate reserves of the Achimov formations of the Urengoyskoye field. The formations lie at a depth of almost 4,000 metres and are characterised by extremely high formation pressures, making their development a technological challenge. The planned overall drilling campaign for Area 4A/5A includes over 140 wells.
Production start-up at Achim Development, the first project involving Wintershall Dea that is located north of the Arctic Circle in Russia, is not only a significant milestone in the successful development of the Achimov formations. It will also significantly boost Wintershall Dea’s production in Russia.
“Our gas projects in Russia are the cornerstone of our company’s business in terms of both reserves and production. A gas-focused portfolio is our strategy for the future, and the partnership with Gazprom remains a strategic priority. So the successful start-up of the Achim Development project makes a significant contribution to our strategic goals, and is an impressive highlight in the long and fruitful history of our partnership,” says Mario Mehren, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Wintershall Dea GmbH.
Area 4A/5A lies north of Area 1A of the Urengoyskoye field. There, Achimgaz, a 50:50 joint venture between Wintershall Dea and Gazprom Dobycha Urengoy, has been producing gas and gas condensate since 2008. Achimgaz has extensive experience and profound technical know-how in the development of the complex deposits there. Drawing on that experience and acting as general contractor, Achimgaz has supported Achim Development in setting up the infrastructure for production start-up at Area 4A/5A.
“Over the past two years, a massive, state-of-the-art production complex emerged from scratch under the difficult climatic conditions. The restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic delivered an additional challenge, which the teams of Achim Development and Achimgaz have mastered with great perseverance, resilience, and ingenuity. This is a remarkable achievement, which everyone involved can be proud of.” says Thilo Wieland, Member of the Board at Wintershall Dea responsible for Russia.
Wintershall Dea (formerly Wintershall and DEA) acquired a 25.01 per cent share in Achim Development through an asset swap between Wintershall and Gazprom in 2015. In that deal, Russia’s gas giant increased its share in European gas trading and storage companies WINGAS, WIEH and WIEE to 100 per cent, and took a 50 per cent stake in Wintershall Noordzee.