Gazprom's Field at the Top of the World

  1. On the Kara Sea
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    On the Kara Sea

    An aerial view of the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia. Russia claims that the region, which includes the Bovanenkovo fields, holds 38 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves.

    Photography by Alexander Gronsky

  2. Above the Arctic Circle
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    Above the Arctic Circle

    Nadym is at the heart of Russia’s natural gas industry. With a population of 46,000, Nadym is the only Siberian city to have grown in the past decade.

  3. Bovanenkovo Field
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    Bovanenkovo Field

    A Gazprom drilling rig at the Bovanenkovo field, which is estimated to hold nearly 5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

  4. Threat to Reindeer
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    Threat to Reindeer

    Gas pipelines may make it difficult for reindeer to roam in search for food. If the reindeer die, the livelihood of the Nenets, the original people of Yamal, dies.

  5. Wealthy Reindeer Herder
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    Wealthy Reindeer Herder

    Even as gas development threatens to alter Vasily Serotette nomadic way of life, subsidies have increased the value of his main possession: a herd of 2,500 reindeer, which is now worth $1.25 million

  6. Nomadic Nenets
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    Nomadic Nenets

    On the tundra near Yar-Sale, a Nenets settlement on the southern edge of Yamal Peninsula.

  7. Within the Tent
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    Within the Tent

    A Nenets woman sits inside a chum, a tent made of reindeer pelt, at an encampment outside Yar-Sale. A gas generator powers the tent’s light bulbs.

  8. Brutal Cold
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    Brutal Cold

    On a recent day at Bovanenkovo, the temperature swung from -11C to -37C to -8C, all in 40 minutes

  9. Enormous Cost
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    Enormous Cost

    Development of the massive Bovanenkovo gas field will cost Gazprom at least $100 billion.

  10. Vast Source of Gas
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    Vast Source of Gas

    At Bovanenkovo, which will begin delivering gas in July and for the next 35 years could on its own produce enough gas to meet 25 percent of Europe’s demand.

  11. Tough Environment
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    Tough Environment

    Anton Dzhalyabov, head of Bovanenkovo’s No. 2 station. “Nobody has ever tried to build a gas facility in such harsh conditions,” he says.

  12. Taking Shelter
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    Taking Shelter

    Gazprom workers manning a drilling rig at Bovanenkovo.

  13. Taking Shelter
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    Taking Shelter

    An employee at Medvezhye No. 5, Nadym’s first gas field, which operates at just 10 percent of its original pressure.

  14. Icy Abode
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    Icy Abode

    The Gazprom facilities at Bovanenkovo sit on permafrost that is about 2 feet thick.

  15. Getting Around
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    Getting Around

    The choppers that ferry workers between Nadym and Gazprom’s field stand ready at Bovanenkovo’s heliport.