The Prirazlomnaya oil platform is located in the Pechora Sea. Photo: Gazprom Neft

New tech to Russia’s Arctic oil platform stirs scandal in U.S

Five individuals are arrested as U.S authorities crack down on the planned shipment of a new turbine to offshore Arctic platform Prirazlomnaya.
December 05, 2019

According to newspaper Kommersant, the attempted shipment of a Vector 40G turbine from the U.S to Russia was halted as American authorities caught suspicion that the installation was planned used in the Russian Arctic.

The turbine that has a cost of $6.5 million is produced by U.S company Dresser-Rand. Its exportation to Russia would mean a violation of  U.S sanction regime against the country. The case is now under investigation by the U.S Prosecutor, Kommersant reports with reference to court documents.

The U.S and EU sanction imposed on Russia following the annexation of the Crimea in 2014 includes a ban on exports of technology and services for deep-sea and Arctic offshore petroleum projects.

Among the five people arrested in the case are two leading representatives of the Russian company KS Engineering and also leaders of two American and one Italian energy companies. They face possible prison terms of up to 20 years and more than $1 million fines.

According to Kommersant, the shipment of the turbine was originally addressed to Kazakhstan, but customs officials in Europe reportedly caught suspicions about the delivery and return it to the U.S whereupon American authorities started their process.

The turbine was to be applied in the Prirazlomnoye, the offshore oil project operated by company Gazprom Neft. The platform operates on shallow waters in the remote Pechora Sea and launched production in late 2013. It is today Russia’s only oil field in production on the Arctic shelf.

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The platform in 2017 produced a total of 2,6 million tons and in 2018 was to increase output to 3,6 million tons. Target production of about 5 million tons is to be reached in 2020.

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