Professions 04 July 2016 40 2314

Cold Rush. Drilling For Oil Amid Arctic Ice

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In 2014 Russia became the world’s first producer of Arctic Oil or ARCO. The Prirazlomnaya platform on the Russian Shelf above the Arctic Circle, operates round the clock to extract the oil. The “Kirill Lavrov” is one of two giant tankers that ferry the black gold to land. The platform is constantly expanding, putting down new bore holes.  Once extracted the oil must be carefully analysed to ensure the quality is consistent. So scientists aboard the platform never stop, from their own laboratory on the rig, they make sure the oil always meets the highest standards. Everything that happens out here is scrutinised and practiced to perfection.

Related: A series set on a drilling rig. Polar Star platform crew has just 30 days to strike gas before winter closes in

The man-made island has 2 search and rescue teams who practice regularly emergency drills to keep the crew safe and to respond swiftly in the unthinkable event of an oil spill. They take safety seriously, both personal and ecological, the engineers take great pride in the fact that not a drop of oil has been spilt since the rig came into operation.

Related: On board Russia's famous research vessel "Keldysh" heading towards the Arctic Circle

The Prirazlomnaya’s numbers around 200 people who work day and night in extremely harsh conditions. The shift patterns mean that they spend every other month away from their families. It certainly takes strength of character to do this job. RT Doc visits the rig to meet the people of Russia’s first Arctic oil platform, including the only woman aboard, to find out more about the process of producing ARCO safely.

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