Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft has firmed up exploration plans on several large blocks in East Siberia's Yakutia region following a gas and condensate discovery early in 2021.

According to tender disclosure notices by its regional subsidiary Taas-Yuryakhneftegazdobycha, Rosneft plans to spud eight exploration wells on seven blocks in Yakutia between 2022 and 2024.

The targeted blocks include Lower Dzherbinsky, Kubalakhsky, Lower Chonsky, Middle Biryuksky, Ygyattinsky, Nyurbinsky and North Olguydakhsky.

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These tracts range between 150 and 350 kilometres from the town of Mirny, with just Ygyattinsky, Nyurbinsky and North Olguydakhsky accessible year-round, due to precarious road links in the other areas.

Four blocks can only be reached from Mirny via temporary winter roads that melt and disappear in spring, thus requiring contractors to arrange deliveries of rigs and supplies in advance.

In January, Rosneft said a Taas-Yuryakhneftegazdobycha wildcat had found an accumulation of gas and condensate on the Lower Dzherbinsky tract.

Prospects improving

According to the company, the discovery holds an estimate recoverable resource of 75 billion cubic metres of gas and some 10 million barrels of condensate.

The discovery on Lower Dzherbinsky has rekindled interest in a region where the Kyttygasskoye find was announced in 2020, with estimated recoverable reserves of 1.2 Bcm of gas and 9.5 million barrels of oil.

Most of the planned wells will be drilled to a depth of about 3000 metres, probing prospects for conventional hydrocarbons.

Future exports of crude and condensate from the blocks will be aided by the proximity of the East Siberia–Pacific pipeline, which will enable Rosneft to export future production to markets in China and Asia.

Commercialisation of the Yakutia block's gas reserves will likely require Rosneft to resume earlier efforts to obtain access to the Gazprom-owned and operated Sila Sibiri gas trunkline, which transports Russian gas to China.

Taas-Yuryakhneftegazdobycha is already developing Yakutia's largest oilfield, Middle Botuobinskoye, which holds reserves of 1.24 billion barrels of oil and condensate and 190 Bcm of gas..

Rosneft reported that Taas-Yuryakhneftegazdobycha produced about 97,000 barrels of oil last year.

Rosneft's partners in Taas-Yuryakhneftegazdobycha are UK supermajor BP with a 20% stake and a consortium of India’s Oil India Limited, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat PetroResources, with 29.9%.