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Permafrost Monitoring

NOVATEK’s main production facilities are located in Russia’s Far North, an Arctic zone with harsh climate and permafrost environment. The Company evaluates implications for its operations, conducts geotechnical and environmental monitoring, develops a GHG emissions reporting system, and uses innovative technologies to reduce emissions.

 Engineering and design of each facility includes stability testing by the Company’s contractors for various climate warming scenarios.

 The Yamal LNG buildings and structures were designed with allowance for potential air temperature rise scenarios and the associated warming of the soil layers, therefore, underlying soil design and preparation allows potential warming.

Permafrost sensitivity analysis was conducted for scenarios of potential rise in average air temperature by 2 °C and 4 °C and soil temperature by 1 °C and 2 °C, respectively. Measurements at special background sites and weather stations indicate that the situation is currently developing according to the most favorable scenario.

To prevent possible adverse consequences of changes in permafrost condition, appropriate measures are taken at the Company’s fields to make sure subsoil under buildings and structures remains frozen.

The Yamal LNG project installed more than 38,000 piles to eliminate any risks of thawing and adverse environmental consequences. This number of piles is unprecedented in the history of completed projects and far above what is required by Russian technical standards as a margin of safety.

Permafrost condition is controlled through geotechnical monitoring by measuring soil temperatures down to the pile tip depth during construction and operation of structures. Temperatures are measured by temperature sensor strings in special thermometric wells directly beneath the structures. Yamal LNG performs this type of monitoring in over 2,500 wells under all structures.

Field infrastructure development plans provide for prevention of thermal impact from field facilities on permafrost. NOVATEK uses regular geotechnical monitoring of its fields to manage this risk, adapt to it and prevent potential adverse consequences as well as to monitor soil bearing capacity and permafrost conditions and temperature.

Geotechnical monitoring consists in measuring soil temperature under all facilities (both production and non-production) – from dormitories and canteens to tanks and compressors – at specified intervals. Monitoring data and identified causes (natural or anthropogenic) determine measures to be taken to prevent soil thawing. Such prevention measures include soil temperature stabilization and use of piles in construction.

The results of regular cryological monitoring show that the risk of thawing and degradation of permafrost is insignificant.