Gazprom is towing a semi-submersible drilling unit to the north-western shore of the Yamal Peninsula as the Russian state-controlled gas giant looks to spud a new exploration well on the Leningradskoye gas and condensate field in the Kara Sea.

Subsidiary Gazprom Nedra said that Chinese Oilfield Services (COSL)-owned semisub Nanhai VIII left the Russian port of Murmansk during the weekend.

It will be towed by two tugs for more than 1300 kilometres before spudding exploration well 5 to the depth of 2700 metres.