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Innovative approaches allow safe working in harsh conditions

Our work on the onshore processing facility (OPF) on Sakhalin Island demonstrates our innovation in the face of the harshest conditions while helping Sakhalin Energy maintain a sustainable liquified natural gas capacity.


Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC)


Sakhalin energy

Key facts

million work hours with zero fatalities


million kilometres driven safely


days to install beach landing facility


Planning to mitigate effect of harsh climate conditions

The OPF on Sakhalin Island is subject to extreme weather, where temperatures can reach -40˚C during extended winters. Productivity losses during these months can be as high as 60%. To mitigate the consequences, we ensure: 

  • Detailed planning to maximise construction activities and manpower during the limited summer months
  • Delivery of all material is consistent with packing and preservation requirements for the expected road and climatic conditions
  • A rigorous winterisation campaign is launched each year and concluded no later than October to ensure sufficient power back-up is available for all accommodations and offices. Sheltering of outdoor construction areas is completed where practicable, and suitable arrangements made for the operation of construction activities

Overcoming logistical challenges

Aware that the geography involved could mean that delayed deliveries could halt work at the OPF for a year, our logistics team deploys innovative problem-solving solutions.

An oversized load of heavy cargo was impossible to transport the 6,300km distance by road from the fabrication yard near St Petersburg to Sakhalin Island. Transporting the cargo by sea meant arriving before the site froze over and became inaccessible for the winter.  

The first challenge came when moving the cargo from the yard to St Petersburg’s Neva Jetty and the port. The two inlet separators, weighing 530 tonnes each, were too high to be transported underneath two high-speed railway crossings. Our team devised an innovative solution to rotate the vessel by 90 degrees while lifting the cables and temporarily transport the vessel in its rotated position, before re-rotating to its original transportation position at the port. We worked with local authorities to stop the trains and lift the cables. The entire process involved numerous technical assessments and approvals before verifying it could be safely adopted.

Innovation drives swift unloading of cargo

The team next had to design a way to offload the cargo on Sakhalin Island. There were no jetty facilities near the project site and environmental considerations meant that no permanent facilities could be built. A transit barge was grounded and put on the beach, which acted as a temporary jetty, interconnected with steel ramps providing a rigid, safe pathway for self-propelled trailers to carry the cargo.

The beach landing facility was installed in just 45 days. The entire operation took more than year of planning, obtaining the relevant permits, and involved the coordination of multiple subcontractors and government agencies. Through great teamwork and innovative thinking the cargo was safely offloaded over a period of one month and moved to a storage location onsite.

The success of the operation was monumental, in terms of the complexity of the operation, timing, environmental sensitivities, and number of parties involved. The Petrofac team did a good job in coordinating and executing this scope of work, both safely and on time.
Andrey Zaytsev OPFC Project Manager

Mitigating risk to enhance road safety

During the original construction of Sakhalin Phase II, the project suffered from an excessive number of fatalities, mainly due to road traffic accidents. Our team identified this as one of the key risks, as a large amount of driving mileage will be conducted during execution. To ensure road safety was emphasised and reinforced, several risk mitigation measures were identified and successfully implemented, achieving over 20 million km driven safely.

Effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic

The on-site safety team established new hygiene and safety protocols, strict quarantine requirements for new arrivals and first contact isolations whenever the risk of infection was identified.

Due to the remoteness of the site an on-site clinic was established and staffed by four doctors, four paramedics, and approximately 20 supporting staff. Despite the site having on average 2000 rotation-based employees originating from different countries worldwide, the project team was able to avoid a construction stoppage or significant viral outbreak.