Russian state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom has announced a plan to resume Arctic offshore exploration drilling next year, with a second exploration well on the Skuratovsky block in the Kara Sea now scheduled to be spudded during the ice-free summer season in 2021, according to a public disclosure notice by its subsidiary Krasnoyarskgazprom Neftegazproyekt.

The well will be drilled by Russian jack-up rig Arkticheskaya, operated by another Gazprom subsidiary, Gazflot, in the north-east part of the block in a water depth of about 15 metres between the upper top of the Yamal Peninsula and the Bely Island.

The company expects the drilling to continue for the maximum of 125 days and be completed before October to allow the jack-up to be towed about 1500 kilometres back to the Russian port of Murmansk on the Barents Sea.

The goal of the well is to flow-test two gas-bearing formations at depths of between 1823 metres and 1930 metres, and also to attempt to identify other potential reservoirs down to a maximum depth of 2690 metres.

The first well that was drilled at the Skuratovsky block in 2019 flowed at a daily rate of 746,000 cubic metres of gas.

Gazprom later estimated recoverable reserves of the discovered structure – named 75 Let Pobedy - at about 200 billion cubic metres of gas.

According to the notice, the second well is located about 15 kilometres to the north of the discovery wildcat, and thus is expected to allow Gazprom to continue the assessment of the potential of its find.

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Gazprom had initially planned to drill the second well on this block this past summer.

However, the company had reportedly cancelled this work because of logistical and coronavirus-related challenges.

According to tender disclosure notices by Gazprom’s subsidiaries, the company intends to continue exploration work on the block notwithstanding the results of the second well, with preparations already started for a third well to be spudded on the Skuratovsky block in 2022.