• 4 hours Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 8 hours Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 10 hours South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 13 hours Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 14 hours Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 15 hours Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 17 hours ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 3 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 3 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 3 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 3 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 4 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 4 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 4 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 4 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 4 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 4 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 4 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 5 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 5 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 5 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 5 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 5 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 5 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 5 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 6 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 6 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 6 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 6 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 6 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 6 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 7 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 7 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 7 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 7 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 7 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 7 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 7 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 7 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 7 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects

Breaking News:

Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High

Alt Text

The Boy Genius Tackling Energy’s Toughest Problem

This 23-year old nuclear physicist…

Alt Text

Russia’s Nuclear Sector Is Surging

With a long-standing nuclear tradition,…

Alt Text

This OPEC Strategy Could Boost Uranium Prices Next Year

Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is a freelance writer on oil and gas, renewable energy, climate change, energy policy and geopolitics. He is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

More Info

Russia To Power Arctic Drilling With Floating Nuclear Reactors

Russia To Power Arctic Drilling With Floating Nuclear Reactors

It would sit in the icy waters of the Arctic, and provide a constant supply of electricity to a massive rig drilling for oil. They could be mass produced, potentially cutting the cost of drilling projects. The twist? The electricity on these floating power plants would come from a nuclear reactor.

Russia is looking to deploy a floating nuclear reactor that could help power ports, industries, and also offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. In what sounds like a horrible nightmare for environmentalists, floating nuclear reactors could help produce more oil in the Arctic.

Russia’s reactor, called the Akademik Lomonosov, will be about the length of one and a half football fields, and will have the capacity to produce 70 megawatts of electricity. It is not self-propelled, but future mobile reactors will be. Russia plans on mass producing them once the Akademik Lomonosov proves itself. The small floating reactors will be on icebreakers, so they will be able to navigate icy Arctic waters. Related: How To Spot An Undervalued Oil Company

Construction began on the Akademik Lomonosov in 2007, but has suffered delays. But Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said during a recent trip to the Arctic that Russia hopes to have a floating nuclear reactor running by October 2016. It will provide power to the Arctic town of Pevek in the East Siberian Sea. “It is basically an atomic reactor that can be docked to coastal infrastructure, and it will provide energy through a cable to any Arctic city,” Rogozin said.

According to Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, at least 15 countries, including China, Algeria, Indonesia, Malaysia and Argentina, are interested in deploying floating nuclear reactors as well. In fact, last year, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Shanghai, Russia and China signed an agreement to cooperate on building a floating nuclear power plant. Related: Putin Betting On An Argentinian Shale Boom

A Canadian company Dunedin Energy Systems is proposing something similar. The Ontario-based company wants to sell small floating nuclear reactors in Canada’s far north that would provide a power source for remote mining projects. Dunedin’s President points out that floating nuclear reactors are safe and have been around since the 1950’s when the USS Nautilus, a nuclear-powered submarine hit the high seas.

Floating nuclear power plants would provide companies drilling for oil and gas or extracting minerals an energy source in faraway places. They would not need to be refueled for an extended period of time and the power supply would be constant. The floating reactors would be towed – or would self-propel – into place and then be easily removed when a drilling project is finished. Dunedin argues the cost would be much lower than diesel-powered generators. Until one is actually up and running, however, the economics are far from proven.

Drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic is tremendously expensive and difficult. Floating reactors could theoretically make it easier. If Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov demonstrates its usefulness, that could accelerate the pace of drilling. Related: Former BP Chief Sees Oil Price Rebound Soon

In American waters, however, it is hard to see how anything would change for the foreseeable future. Royal Dutch Shell is the only company with any realistic plans to drill in the near term. In large part due to its own mistakes, Shell has already been delayed by regulatory hurdles. But if it, or any other company, were to consider using floating nuclear power plants off the coast of Alaska, it would face a whole new set of regulatory challenges. That probably means floating nuclear power plants are not coming to the U.S. Arctic anytime soon, even if Russia starts ramping up production of them.

On the other hand, if Russia starts drilling at a quicker pace in the Arctic due to these floating reactors, that would in turn put pressure on American lawmakers to make it more attractive for oil companies to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, out of a fear of falling behind. That could lead to Congress or the administration slashing regulations and/or selling off more offshore Arctic acreage.

Much remains to be seen. Russia’s floating nuclear power plant has been a struggle to complete, and it may not live up to the hype. But if it delivers, it could alter the course of Arctic drilling.

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • vaengineer on April 28 2015 said:
    Floating nuclear reactors. What could possibly go wrong?
  • apneaman on April 29 2015 said:
    Giant Waves Quickly Destroy Arctic Ocean Ice and Ecosystems
    The biggest waves seen in northern sea ice show how this vital cover can be crushed much faster than expected

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/giant-waves-quickly-destroy-arctic-ocean-ice-and-ecosystems1/

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News