Rosneft has begun offshore exploration at the South Russky license block in the Pechora Sea. A 3D CDP seismic survey covering 1,200 square kilometres is being carried out by three field exploration parties from Yuzhmorgeologiya.
Yuzhmorgeologiya, Iskatel 5, Vyborgsky and Petrogradsky research vessels as well as some 20 auxiliary vessels are involved in the project. Work will run through October 2012.
Rosneft is carrying out its exploration programme in the Pechora Sea in strict compliance with Russian environmental regulations and license terms.
Earlier, the environmental aspects of the survey relating to protection and preservation of marine fauna were openly discussed at a meeting of the Atlantic Walrus Preservation Advisory Group, which was set up by the Russian branch of WWF. Rosneft experts presented their report on steps to preserve the Atlantic walrus during 3D CDP seismic survey at the South Russky license block, which won praise from the expert community.
The key measures include: comprehensive environmental monitoring, halting work and subsequently carrying out a soft launch of pneumatic guns in case animals are detected less than 500 metres from seismic survey equipment – for baleen whales the safety zone is extended to 1,400 meters. Additionally, the size and power of pneumatic guns will be limited and they will be positioned at a considerable distance from protected wildlife islands. Constant monitoring of marine fauna will be performed during all marine operations, with specialists stationed on-board vessels from leading research and fishery organizations, such as the Russian Federal, Polar and North Polar Research Institutes of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO, PINRO and SevPINRO), the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute (MMBI), St Petersburg State University and others. Experts noted that the steps to minimise any negative impact on the Atlantic walrus from seismic at the South Russky license block had been developed using global best practice in marine environmental protection.
Aside from seismic, the Company will also perform environmental fishery management surveys in the 2012 season.