First natural gas development project in Russia protected by Apollo

Fire detectors manufactured by Apollo have been specified to protect the Onshore Processing Facility (OPF) currently under construction on Sakhalin, an island on Russia’s Far Eastern seaboard. Sakhalin is the site of a major international development project to construct Russia’s first integrated oil and gas processing terminal. The OPF is part of Phase II, which will require an investment of almost US$10 billion.

The OPF fire system includes over 1,750 Apollo Series 65 conventional and XP95 intelligent devices and provides protection for the personnel working on the site, as well as protecting essential plant and equipment. Around 70 people will work at the plant when processing begins in earnest. The fire detection system has been supplied by Ucok, Apollo’s representative in Turkey, via their local company OOO“TriC”, which is based in Moscow.

Landmark Project

The Sakhalin project was begun following the discovery of large natural resources offshore. Deposits are estimated at 150 million tonnes of crude oil and over 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – that’s enough to supply current global demand for four years. The discovery will enable Russia to export to Asia for the first time in its history.

Exploiting the energy resources requires a major investment. Sakhalin is the first project to be financed under a Production-Sharing Agreement (PSA). A PSA is a commercial contract between the investor and the state, which allows the investor to undertake large scale, long term and high-risk investments.

The investor in this case is Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC), a Shell-led operating company that also includes Mitsui and Mitsubishi as stakeholders. Under the Sakhalin PSA the Russian Federation government retains its rights and ownership of the oil and gas resources. SEIC invests all the capital needed to develop the fields and pays bonuses to the Russian Federation at key milestones during the project development.

Fire detection requirements

The US$250 million contract for the construction of the Onshore Processing Facility was awarded to BETS, a joint venture comprising Russian company Technostroyexport, the US-based Bechtel Inc and Turkish company Enka Insaat ve Sanayi AS. The OPF has been designed to meet all appropriate safety and environmental standards, which includes the installation of extensive fire safety equipment.

The OPF fire detection system specification is in accordance with NPB 88-2001, the current Russian design regulations governing fire suppression and alarm systems. All the Apollo devices specified for Sakhalin also carry VNIIPO certification from the Russian fire authority.

The fire detection system is based around a central control panel situated in the dispatch room at the plant. The panel controls 17 loops of devices, including 1,431 Series 65 conventional smoke and rate-of-rise heat detectors, 109 XP95 intelligent smoke and temperature monitors, manual call-points and over 200 mini switch monitors to interface with other equipment.

Sounder units are not permitted on the site, so in the event of an alarm a voice message is triggered advising immediate evacuation. The control panel also automatically alerts the local firefighters.

Construction of the Sakhalin Onshore Processing Facility commenced in the second half of 2003 and production start-up will occur in phases from Q4 2005 to Q4 2006. When it is fully operational, Russia’s first liquefied natural gas plant will have the capacity to produce 9.6 million tonnes of LNG per annum.