In the 21st century, Russia's geopolitical interests are consistently shifting to the Arctic, which is not surprising. After all, this region is rich in various minerals, primarily gas and oil. According to various assessments up to a quarter of all world's undiscovered hydrocarbon deposits are located in the Arctic Region. In addition, there are deposits of apatite ores, rare-earth metals, titanium, gold, diamonds and many other natural resources.
Scientists of St. Petersburg Mining University are conducting scientific researches to increase profitability of their extraction on the Arctic shelf and the continental part of the Polar Regions. One of the most relevant areas of research is the creation of ice-resistant mini platforms or islands, operated in automatic unmanned mode with the possibility of year-round operation. These platforms are designed for drilling clusters of production wells with above-water placement of the wellhead. Application of mini platforms makes it possible to reduce expenses for construction of stationary large platforms and optimal placement of wells on the field area.
Traditionally, special attention is paid to the well construction process; particularly, the creation of reliable and durable casing with preservation of operational characteristics of the development site. To test and improve the characteristics of drilling and cementing fluids, two high-tech laboratories equipped with modern equipment by Fann and Offite have been established on the basis of the St. Petersburg Mining University.
The main objects for research on the basis of the laboratories are the Kharasaveyskoye and Kruzenshternskoye gas-condensate fields. The main customer for work on the equipment is PJSC Gazprom.
The university also conducts experiments aimed at increasing the competitiveness of by-products of Titan enterprises. First of all, microsilica, which can be used in concrete mixes and mortars. It allows making the material 25-50% lighter in comparison with conventional gas or foam blocks. At the same time, it provides strength of at least one and a half times higher. In addition, this material is 1250 units of strength, which has no competition in Russia nowadays; and has absolute hygroscopicity, which means it does not absorb water. This makes it possible to use it in the construction of foundations in the Arctic. On the one hand, it will strengthen the construction and, on the other hand, it will facilitate it, because these blocks do not require waterproofing.