Two semi-submersibles commissioned for Shtokman

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Aug 17 2011

Polar Star and Northern Lights drilling rigs were completed and tested. The both will be involved in the development of Shtokman field.

Monday, a group of Gazprom experts paid a visit to the Vyborg shipbuilding plant to discuss the transfer of Polyarnaya Zvezda (Polar Star) and Severnoye Siyaniye (Northern Lights) semi-submersible drilling rigs to Gazprom. By now, testing and construction of the rigs are completed, reports the Russian oil giant.

- Large contracts from Gazprom give a strong impetus to the Russian shipbuilding industry development, and help our Company to streamline the costs associated with the offshore fields development, said Alexander Ananenkov, the Deputy Chairman of the plant's Management Committee.

The 59 bln RUB contract was signed in November 2007 right after changes in plant's ownership: new people connected to Rossiya Bank and Gazprom itself took the shipbuilder under their control, informs Kommersant. In course of the crisis period, the contract costs went up by 2.2% (to 60.3 bln RUB), mostly inflicted by differences in turbulent currency exchange rates. The Vyborg plant was expecting new contracts from Gazprom, however a deadline shift of early 2010 put Shtokman aside till 2016-2017. As a result, the lack of contracts pushed 40% (600 people) of plant workers to take a forced leave.

In an effort to avoid downtime of the expensive rigs, they will be transferred to Sakhalin "to improve geological survey" activities.
Photo: entrance to the Vyborg Shipbuilding Plant by Gazprom.