Russian drillship returns to Arctic

The "Deep Venture" might soon be back in Russian Arctic waters for drilling.

State oil company Zarubezhneft considers to bring home the “Deep Venture” (“Valentin Shashin”).


The ship, which for the past 17 years has operated abroad is likely to take on drilling operations in the Arctic, newspaper Vedomosti reports. Currently, the ship is operating in Vietnamese waters.

According to the newspaper, “Deep Venture” is currently undergoing modernization which will make it better equipped for Arctic drilling.

Western sanctions are hitting hard on the Russian oil industry, which is in dire need for drilling equipment and technology suitable for Arctic operations. The “Deep Venture” would enable the companies Rosneft and Gazprom to follow up parts of their Arctic drilling obligations.

Russia has only six drillships and rigs, four of which are owned by Gazprom and two by Zarubezhneft.

The “Deep Venture” was built by the Finnish Pori Yard in 1982 and has been part of the fleet of the Murmansk-based Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, a company which in 2011 was taken over by Zarubezhneft. Its original name was “Valentin Shashin”.

As previously reported, the drillship was  in 2005 leased by a Norwegian company. However, in 2011 a court concluded that the leasing contract had a far too low price and sentenced the Russian company manager to three years in jail. The ship was subsequently returned to the Russian company.

It was the “Valentin Shashin” which in 1988 discovered the “Shtokman” field.