Thermo Fisher Scientific, LIMS & Laboratory Software

Sakhalin energy utilizes Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS for largest Russian LNG project ever - case study


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Sakhalin Energy is bringing onstream one of the largest integrated oil and gas projects in the world in Russia's Far East. The Sakhalin II Project combines partnership incorporating the recovery, production and transportation of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Sakhalin Energy standardized on Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) for use in its main laboratory located at its LNG plant/oil export terminal (OET), as well as in upstream satellite laboratories throughout Sakhalin Energy.


Headquartered in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in Russia, Sakhalin Energy was founded in 1994 to develop the Piltun Astokhskoye (PA-A) oil field and the Lunskoye gas field east of Russia. The fields are located off the north-east coast of Sakhalin in waters frozen for six months of the year.

The Sakhalin II project refers to the world's biggest integrated oil and gas project. It is being built from scratch in the harsh sub-artic environment of Sakhalin Island located in the Sea of Oshotsk. Sakhalin II is the largest single foreign investment project in Russia at $10 billion, and is the first offshore development project in Russia, as well as Russia's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

The two fields contain reserves of approximately 140 million tons (1 billion barrels) of oil and 550 billion cubic meters (20 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. The oil reserves equate to more than one year of crude oil exports from Russia and the gas reserves represent nearly five years of Russian gas exports to Europe or enough to supply current global LNG demand for four years. To export the gas, the company is building Russia's first-ever LNG plant, which converts the gas to a liquid by cooling it to a temperature of minus 161 degrees Celsius (minus 258 Fahrenheit) so that it can be transported by ship.

The Sakhalin LNG plant will be the world's second in a cold climate. The gas will be transported from the gas field platform by pipelines to an onshore production facility (OPF) and then via an 800 km onshore pipeline to Prigorodnoye in the south of Sakhalin Island, the site of the LNG plant and oil and LNG export terminals. The OPF's main
purpose is to process gas and condensate produced at the Lunskoye gas field before pumping them into the pipeline system for transportation to the oil export terminal and LNG plant.

Prigorodnoye's ice-free sea makes it a perfect location to enable full year round export of oil and LNG.  Divided over two liquefaction trains, the LNG plant has a capacity to produce a total of 9.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas. Shell's Double Mixed Refrigerant (DMR) process was selected for the Sakhalin plant. This DMR technology was specifically developed for cold climates like Sakhalin has, and for locations with large seasonal temperature variations. Under these circumstances, DMR achieves much higher power utilization than the conventional C3/MR process would of the 88 MW GE Frame-7 gas turbines that drive the refrigeration process.

Sakhalin is located close to emerging economies in Asia and will guarantee uninterrupted supply of LNG to Asian markets year-round. Customers in Japan, South Korea and the U.S. have already bought all the gas to be produced at Sakhalin for the next 20 vears.


The Sakhalin II Project is the largest integrated oil and gas development project in the world and as such, has a major undertaking for sampling and testing. Environmental and Health and Safety compliance have been important drivers in the development of Sakhalin II both to monitor the field operations and plant processes and to measure product specification and quality test the products. The function of the laboratories on Sakhalin Island include quality testing of oil and gas, process monitoring at LNG plants, testing at upstream facilities and environmental monitoring across the island.

In order to provide a real-time round-the-clock analytical regime, an ultra-modern laboratory was commissioned to be located at the LNG plant / OET. This new central laboratory is also supported by upstream satellite laboratories. In 2007, the state-of-the-art LNG/OET laboratory successfully passed certification tests to the requirements of Gosstandart and the international ISO17025 standard.

Laboratory specialists are now analyzing samples of oil, gas, chemicals and wastewater from the LNG/OET site. In addition, the laboratory will be used to analyze, as required, samples brought from the onshore processing facility' (OPF) as well as managing non-routine samples.

The decision to invest in a new UMS to manage the sampling process from upstream to sample report was imperative for Sakhalin Energy's new laboratory. Sunil Pandya, the Head of Laboratory for Sakhalin Energy, explains, 'Our laboratory has well-defined procedures for essential quality control work, for scheduling samples, to managing resources and reporting on samples. To manage the workload and integrate with the instrumentation, we selected Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS for the laboratory. SampleManager is a widely used UMS for the oil and gas industry and it is implemented in our main laboratory, in the upstream satellite laboratories as well as for data management of environmental monitoring throughout Sakhalin Energy operations.'


The laboratory provides analytical services to the LNG/ OET facilities. It generates analytical reference data for product quality and custody transfer invoicing, calibration of on-line process analysers, plant performance, equipment condition and environmental monitoring. It also provides expert advice on LNG and crude oil Sales Purchase Agreements (SPAs) and plant troubleshooting. It also provides ad-hoc laboratory services to other Sakhalin Energy assets (OPF, pipelines, offshore platforms).

The majority of samples are taken by operations staff and delivered to the laboratory. Laboratory staff train the senior operators and maintenance technicians to collect samples. Laboratory staff collect special samples that require complex sampling techniques, such as 2-phase samples, flue gas, etc. The sampling and testing requirements are agreed and scheduled with operations, engineering, environmental and technology departments.

Various internal customers use the analytical reference data;

  • Operations for plant performance monitoring and product export
  • Engineering for equipment condition monitoring
  • Technology for efficiency checks and troubleshooting
  • Environmental services for environmental monitoring and compliance
  • Marketing for customer liaison support
  • Finance for invoicing

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