Gulf of Ob

Gulf of Ob

[awb, ob; Russ. awp]

The Gulf of Ob (also known as Ob Bay) (О́бская губа́, Obskaya guba) is an immense bay of the Arctic Ocean in Northern Russia, at the head of which is the mouth of the Ob River.

This Gulf flows into the Kara Sea between the Yamal and the Gydan peninsulas. It is is about 1,000 km (600 mi) long and varies from about 50 km (30 mi) to 80 km (50 mi) in width, running generally north and south. It is relatively shallow, with an average depth from ten to twelve metres which restricts heavy sea transport. The Taz Estuary is an eastern side-branch formed by the Taz River.


There are several islands near the mouth of the Ob, at the beginning of the estuary, like Khaley. All these islands are close to the shore and they are generally flat and low-lying. They are protected wetlands under Ramsar. Further north, except for a few islands located close to the shore, like Khalevigo and Nyavigo, the Gulf of Ob is free of islands until it meets the Kara Sea.

Economic importance

Very large gas and oil deposits have been discovered in this region. Oil and gas from the wells are sent South via pipeline and rail transport. The Yamburg gas field was in 2001 considered to be one of the largest in the world, and lies between the southern portion of the gulf and the Taz Estuary to the east.

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