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Prirazlomnoye oil field, Russia


Prirazlomnoye field is an Arctic offshore oil field located in the Pechora Sea, south of Novaya Zemlya, Russia. The field development is based on the single stationary Prirazlomnaya platform, which is the first Arctic-class ice-resistant oil platform in the world. The field was discovered in 1989. In 1993, the development license was issued to Rosshelf, a subsidiary of Gazprom. In June 2000, Gazprom and German energy company Wintershall signed a memorandum on cooperation in developing the Prirazlomnoye field.

In 2002, the license was transferred to Sevmorneftegaz, a joint venture of Gazprom and Rosneft. Later Sevmorneftegaz became a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom.

According to Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund Gazprom is not prepared to deal adequately with a spill associated with oil production.

By the autumn 2012 the platform has not been put into operation, the start of production was postponed for a year - until September 2013. The decision was based on the unprofitability of the project and identified by Ministry for the Environment ecological risks. Environmentalists associated this postpone with the actions of Greenpeace.

Protest actions: - September 2011: Publication of Joint statement by Greenpeace Russia, Russian Bird Conservation Union, WWF Russia, Bellona Russia, Socio-Ecological Union. In the statement ecologists are asking to suspend further work on the installation platform, to hold an open and comprehensive discussion of environmental security and to ensure information transparency of the project documentation. Environmentalists draw attention to the difficult environmental conditions: air temperature down to -40, the winds at a speed of 30 meters per second, the ice cover up to 2 meters, frequent storms. The project does not take into account the consequences of a possible accident. There is a danger to biodiversity and the proximity to the nature reserve (100 km). Environmentalists also point to the problem of flaring of associated gas.

- 15 November 2011: a meeting of environmental organizations and "Gazprom Neft Shelf" dedicated to the issues of oil spill on the field "Prirazlomnoe” was planned. At the last moment "Gazprom Neft Shelf" refused to participate.

- 24 August 2012: a group of Greenpeace activists under Kumi Naidoo intruded into the platform and put up a banner "Don't kill the Arctic".

- 18 September 2013: Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise circled the Prirazlomnaya oil rig while three crew attempted to board the platform. In response, the Russian Coast Guardseized control of the ship and detained the activists On the 18th of April 2014 the tanker "Mikhail Ulyanov" has shipped the first batch of oil from the field. On the 1st of May the "Greenpeace” vessel “Rainbow Warrior III” tried to prevent this tanker to enter the port of Rotterdam; 30 activists were arrested and the operations go ahead.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Prirazlomnoye oil field, Russia
Country:Russian Federation
Location of conflict:Pechora Sea
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Prirazlomnoye field has reserves of 610 million barrels (97 million cubic metres); projected oil production comes up to some 6 million tons a year (to be reached after 2020).

The first accident happened in the middle of October 2011: during a storm blew off the evacuation ladder. Information about the incident appeared in the media only in November.

Resource platform "Prirazlomnaja" is designed for 25 years.

UPDATE.Five years after the Greenpeace incident, it was reported in the Barents Observer, 19 March 2018 (1) that this platform which is Russia’s only offshore Arctic oil platform, in 2017 had extracted a total of 2,6 million tons, operator company Gazprom Neft Shelf informs. In 2018, production wouldl increase to 3,6 million tons and in 2020, the Prirazlomnaya will reach its target production of about five million tons.(1). Operator Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, in the course of 2017 drilled another four production wells, as well as one so-called discharge well.

The Prirazlomnoye field holds a total of 70 million tons of oil. Extracted oil is shipped by ice-class tankers to the «Umba», a 300,000 ton tanker located in the Kola Bay, near the city center of Murmansk.

Since the Prirazlomnoye came into production in late 2013, a total of 5,9 million tons of oil has been shipped from the production site in the Pechora Sea to Murmansk. It is part of a quickly growing Russian Arctic oil shipping scheme. In addition to the Prirazlomnaya oil, there are increasing volumes of liquid hydrocarbons shipped from Gazprom Neft’s Novy Port field in Yamal and Lukoil’s Varandey terminal on the Nenets coast.(1)

Level of Investment:2,600,000,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2004
Company names or state enterprises:Rosshelf from Russian Federation
Rosneft from Russian Federation
Gazprom Neft Shelf from Russian Federation
Wintershall from Germany
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace Russia, Russian Bird Conservation Union, WWF Russia, Bellona Russia, Socio-Ecological Union

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Oil spills, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Most of the protests were not taken into account. The company didn't consider it necessary to conduct additional research in the field of environmental protection and protection from oil spills.

Sources & Materials

General information (English)

10 reasons to take action to stop Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya oil platform

Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise ship case

"Gazprom Neft Shelf" refused to take part in the meeting with environmental organizations

Prirazlomnaya oil spill would threaten Russian Arctic with irreparable disaster: study

Joint statement by Greenpeace Russia, Russian Bird Conservation Union, WWF Russia, Bellona Russia, Socio-Ecological Union

(1) Barents Observer, Atle Staalesen, 19 March 2018.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Greenpeace Activists board Gazprom Arctic Oil Platform

Greenpeace action on the Anna Akhmatova ship (27.08.2012)

GreenPeace ship boarded by Russia, 2 Canadians arrested

Meta information

Contributor:Natalia Finogenova
Last update18/08/2019



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