Gazprom has restarted a second condensate processing train in the aftermath of the fire and explosion that occurred last week at a key facility in the Yamal-Nenets region of West Siberia according to operator Gazprom Pererabotka.
The accident at the first train of Gazprom's condensate processing facility is understood to have put significant curbs on production of natural gas at large fields operated by the Russian gas monopoly in in West Siberia.
The operator did not disclose whether the second train will be able to work at its full nameplate annual capacity of 5.2 million tonnes (38.5 million barrels) amid ongoing efforts to clear debris from the nearby accident site at the first train.
Start-up of the train is required for Gazprom’s subsidiaries and its venture with Germany’s Wintershall Dea, Achimgaz, to begin opening development wells that were shut in at the Urengoy, Yamburg and Zapolyarye fields because of the emergency.
The condensate processing facility near the city of Novy Urengoy is an essential part in the production of natural gas at these large legacy deposits.
Before the accident, it could handle up to 77 million barrels per year of condensate that comes to the surface together with extracted gas.
Gazprom has not yet suggested a possible cause of the fire on the first train, which was commissioned in 1985 to separate ethane from the incoming mixture of condensate.
The fire is understood to have damaged its processing towers and a neighbouring administrative building. No deaths were reported, as personnel were evacuated before the explosion.
Industry analysts in Moscow suggested that, given the availability of land at the site, the quickest and most cost-effective solution could be constructing a new train next to the second unit, rather than rebuilding the first train.
Some suggested that Gazprom will be unable to produce an estimated 8 billion cubic metres of gas at its fields in the Yamal-Nenets region between August and December this year, undermining recent efforts to increase output.
The immediate effect of the accident is being felt most keenly in Poland and Germany.
Gas supplies from Russia via the Yamal Pipeline declined by one-third to less than 33 million cubic metres per day, despite strong energy demand in Europe.
Gazprom has not commented on reports in Moscow that the drop in export deliveries could become greater unless it starts to pump gas from its vast underground storage facilities to cover the shortfall.
The accident puts in doubt Gazprom's ability to catch up with deliveries of gas into almost-empty storage facilities under its control in Germany and Austria, until the end of October, according to Sergey Makogon, executive chairman of Ukraine’s transmission company, Operator GTS Ukrainy.
Ukraine has accumulated 17.4 billion cubic metres of gas in its vast underground storage facilities close to the Slovakian border.
Ukraine has a total underground storage capacity of about 31 Bcm that was created in the Soviet era to enable the swift delivery of gas into Europe during peak winter demand.