Russia's largest independent gas producer Novatek will target deep Achimov formations at the Gydansky onshore block on the Gydan Peninsula, with plans to spud one more exploration well in the area during the upcoming winter.

According to a tender disclosure notice published by the block's operator Arctic LNG 1, the planned well #134 will be drilled to a vertical depth of 3550 metres.

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The goal of the well is to assess flowrates from thin and high-pressure Achimov formations at depths below 3200 metres before and after they are fracked, the operator said.

The new well will be located in the vicinity of exploration well #135 that the operator completed this past winter.

Besides targeting traditional shallow gas and condensate formations, the previous well reportedly confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in deep Achimov layers although Arctic LNG 1 has not commented on the drilling results.

Achimov lure

These Achimov layers are seen as important nearest development targets by Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom and two of its joint ventures with Germany’s Wintershall Dea — Achimgaz and Achim Development — to replace declining gas production from shallow formations at existing legacy fields.

Already identified Achimov formations at Gazprom’s Urengoy legacy field in the Yamal-Nenets region in West Siberia are estimated to contain more than 1 trillion cubic metres of recoverable gas reserves, according to the gas giant.

However, their development is more expensive compared to shallow gas reservoirs due to the more complex and heavier rigs involved and the expertise required in spudding horizontal sections of development wells.

Novatek, which won a 27-year exploration and development licence for the Gydansky block in 2017, has been desperately trying to identify additional commercial gas reserves on the Gydan Peninsula to underpin its plan to build its third liquefied natural gas plant in the area in addition to the operational Yamal LNG and upcoming Arctic LNG 2.

Liquefaction trains for the planned third facility are expected to be placed on concrete gravity-based foundations and towed to the shore of the Gydan Peninsula before the end of 2030 to be installed next to the Arctic LNG 2 trains.

Despite carrying number two in its name, Arctic LNG 2 will come online first in the period between 2023 and 2025 in Novatek’s plan to commercialise gas riches of the Gydan Peninsula, with Arctic LNG 1 due to follow.

The Gydansky block is located in the centre of the Gydan Peninsula and is only accessible via temporary roads during the winter season.

These roads link the block with a marine terminal on the shoreline of Ob Bay that Novatek earlier built to offload cargoes for Arctic LNG 2.