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

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

Gazprom's Field at the Top of the World

On the Kara Sea
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

Above the Arctic Circle
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.

Bovanenkovo Field
Bovanenkovo Field

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

Threat to Reindeer
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.

Wealthy Reindeer Herder
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

Nomadic Nenets
Nomadic Nenets

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

Within the Tent
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.

Brutal Cold
Brutal Cold

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

Enormous Cost
Enormous Cost

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

Vast Source of Gas
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.

Tough Environment
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.

Taking Shelter
Taking Shelter

Gazprom workers manning a drilling rig at Bovanenkovo.

Taking Shelter
Taking Shelter

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

Icy Abode
Icy Abode

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

Getting Around
Getting Around

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