VLADIVOSTOK, June 3 (Itar-Tass) — The piloting of the foundation of the mammoth Berkut sea oil platform started on Sunday from the port of Nakhodka to Sakhalin shelf.
Three tug-boats and two auxiliary vessels lifted anchors at 06.32 local time and started towing the Berkut from the Nakhodka roadstead to Sakhalin, Itar-Tass learnt from captain of the deep-water Vostochny port Andrei Gorodishtyan.
The foundation had been under construction for two years at the dry dock of the port on orders of the American Exxon Heftegaz Ltd. Company. Vostochny staged a farewell ceremony for the Berkut on May 25. Following the ceremony, it was towed away to the Nakhodka roadstead where the last operations were completed on preparing the huge structure for piloting across the seas of Japan and Okhotsk.
The foundation “tips the scales” at 160,000 tonnes, the foundation perimeter – 100 x 133 metres, and it is over 50 metres high. Following the Berkut’s towing, it will be put on the bed at the Arkutun-Dagi deposit of oil and gas near the Sakhalin north-eastern coast.
The superstructure of the oil platform that is now under construction in South Korea, will be put on the foundation in 2013. The Berkut will start production under the Sakhalin-1 project from 2014; the platform is designed to produce annually 4.5 million tonnes of oil and gas.
Four oil-producing platforms – Molikpaq, PA-B, LUN-A and Orlan – now stand on Sakhalin shelf. The metal foundation for the Molikpaq was built in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and in the city of Bolshoi Kamen, Primorye Territory.
Earlier, the Sakhalin port of Kholmsk had been also examined as one of the bases for building foundations for sea platforms, but it was estimated it is more profitable to build them in Nakhodka on the grounds of the Vostochny port, the more so, since foundations for the PA-B and LUN-A platforms had been cast earlier there.
It is planned that another foundation for an oil-producing platform will be built in Nakhodka over the next few years.
The start of towing of the Berkut foundation passed under excellent weather. The Marine Rescue and Coordination Centre reported that the forecast for the week also promises favourable weather along the route of the caravan. There is around 1,000 miles between Nakhodka and the Arkutun-Dagi oil deposit on Sakhalin shelf.
The tug-boats towing the Berkut plan to negotiate this distance in two weeks. The Berkut will be installed on the bed of the Sea of Okhotsk approximately in a month, reported Vice-Governor of the Sakhalin Region Sergei Khotochkin.