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Sakhalin Energy Utilizes Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS for Largest Russian LNG Project Ever

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 across Sakhalin Energy.


The Sakhalin II project refers to the world’s biggest integrated oil and gas project. It is being built from scratch in the harsh subartic environment of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East, in the Sea of Oshotsk.  Sakhalin II is the largest single foreign investment project in Russia at $10billion, 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 tones (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 5 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.

Sakhalin is located close to emerging economies in Asia and its 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 more than the next 20 years.

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 plant, 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 LIMS to manage the sampling process from upstream through 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 manage 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 widely used LIMS for 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 products 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 (SPA’s) 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


  • To provide unbiased laboratory services and advice to LNG/OET and third parties in a timely, accurate and reliable manner.
  • To achieve and maintain a high standard in health, safety and environmental performance.

The new LNG/OET laboratory handles the samples coming from upstream operations, through the LNG plant and the final products.  The analyses of final products are performed when the LNG storage tanks are prepared and isolated or during the ship’s loading. When sufficient reproducible results are obtained, the mean and weight average composition are both calculated.  The mean composition of each cargo is used to calculate density and gross heating value and all values are included on the Certificate of Quality.

Any data required by the business is automatically available from the LIMS with sophisticated automatic data transfer.  The LIMS is used to interface seamlessly with critical IT systems including Sakhalin Energy’s corporate Energy Components (ER) package and process information  (PI) system for efficient reporting and documentation support.
Therrmo Scientific SampleManager LIMS was selected by Sakhalin Energy because of its pedigree in this industry.  A proven system that works in the rugged demanding environs of the oil and gas industries, SampleManager LIMS is used in many organizations needing to demonstrate regulatory compliance while ensuring optimum product quality.  The company required a LIMS that could offer ISO17025 compliance   ISO 17025 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories is applicable to all organizations performing and / or calibrations.

The Sakhalin Energy facility handles the entire process from extraction through to issuing SOPs and Certificates of Quality with all samples tracking managed from within the SampleManager system. The laboratory has to operate according to GLP/OECD guidelines and uses SampleManager to demonstrate its procedural conformity.

Sakhalin Energy staff use SampleManager LIMS 24/7 to help manage the data from the thousands of samples that are required throughout the sampling stages on Sakhalin Island. Some instruments of the laboratory are planned to be connected into the LIMS so that reports can be accessed centrally and instruments can be scheduled for calibration etc from within the LIMS   The  data from the facility’s state-of-the-art equipment, including GCs, etc etc is all directly transferred into the LIMS and SampleManager is tasked with storing and tracking data processed in the laboratory. The LIMS is also used for data trending and analysis, to identify when product is moving out of specification.

Since the implementation of SampleManager LIMS at the LNG/OET laboratory, major benefits realized include improved sample turnaround times, centralized access to data and improved operational efficiencies. The system also meets the laboratory’s need for GLP and ISO17025 compliance. The solution has been capable of handling standard and non-routine sampling requirements, providing audit trails to track deviations and amendments to each study.

Sunil Pandya explains “SampleManager was selected due to its proven performance within the Shell group of companies and in this industry.  Our laboratories have been designed from the ground up to support this site – this project represents the new frontier in oil and gas development and our laboratory needed a LIMS that was proven to be reliable in this environment and dependable for the future of the project.”

Sakhalin Energy is Russia’s largest project in the oil and gas industry and its ultra-modern laboratory has been designed to provide the scientific background to ensure LNG production is maintained year-round.   With both a commercial and a scientific driving rationale, Sakhalin Energy has equipped its laboratories with the technologies and infrastructure that allow it to deliver consistent support to the production and shipping cycle of finished product.  To deliver this reliability of service while demonstrating regulatory compliance, Sakhalin Energy has standardized on SampleManager LIMS in its new state-of-the-art LNG/OET Laboratory. Since its implementation, the system has allowed Sakhalin to develop and manage a sophisticated sampling program with the assurance that all the LNG supplies for the emerging Asia markets will be assured from Sakhalin Island for the coming decades.

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