New frontiers: deepwater, Arctic and unconventional
The need to satisfy global energy requirements means that oil and gas exploration and development are increasingly being considered in particularly remote areas or deposits with difficult conditions such as high temperatures or pressure or high concentrations of sulphur and other compounds.
Despite its limited exposure in this area to date, eni is able to operate at maximum levels of safety thanks to the adoption of over 20 proprietary technologies, the use of double blow out preventers, remote management of drilling and the maintenance of company’s know-how.
eni expects to increase its production operations in these types of deposits over the next few years.
The Arctic represents for eni, as for all other oil and gas companies, a significant technological and managerial challenge.
This area offers the opportunity to explore for mineral resources which are however located in sensitive and remote areas that require a greater commitment in terms of safety with a careful analysis of the risks, the use of advanced technologies and the selection of highly specialized people.
eni operates in the Barents Sea (Russian and Norwegian) and in Alaska where it applies the best technologies available in the industry.
With regard to the Goliat deposit in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea, which will start production in 2014, entirely new engineering solutions have been developed to address the extreme conditions of the area (the particularly harsh climate, extended periods of darkness, communication difficulties, the fragile ecosystem and the specific requirements of the local communities).
The FPSO, which can store up to 1 million barrels of oil, will be supplied with electricity from land, through the longest undersea cable of this type in the world: this will reduce CO2 emissions by 50%. The associated gas and production water will be re-injected into the deposit, thereby minimizing emissions into the atmosphere and the marine environment. eni’s approach in the Arctic includes the following fundamental elements:
- Activities are only carried out in the ice-free offshore areas using satellite monitoring to detect the presence of icebergs and remote monitoring of all drilling activities;
- Operations must only take place during periods of the year when there is minimal effect on the marine habitat (in particular on mammals) and the site specific procedures for the conservation of biodiversity are guaranteed;