Gazprom Neft has identified the main areas of business that require innovative solutions and which have been given top priority for the long-term development of exploration and production. Among them:
- increasing the efficiency of oil production from depleted resources at aging fields;
- developing new regions in Yamal and Eastern Siberia;
- offshore exploration and use, including operations beyond the Arctic Circle;
- implementing projects outside Russia;
- developing non-conventional hydrocarbons;
- reducing the industrial burden on the environment, improving energy efficiency.
In 2012, the Company widened its portfolio of innovative projects, including technological improvements such as:
- intelligent well operation systems (EDA Project);
- production of shale oil (Bazhenov and Frolovskaya suites);
- technology of soda-surfactant-polymer (ASP) water flooding;
- developing oil rims;
- developing carbonate fractured reservoirs;
- energy efficiency program;
- high-tech wells;
- integrated support for drilling;
- expansion of the laboratory and methodological basis for research;
- state-of-the-art technologies for remedial cementing;
- production operations beyond the Arctic Circle;
- developing a Technology Management System (knowledge management, adaptation of external technology and cooperation with external experts).
By collaborating pro-actively with domestic and international oil and gas companies in various projects, Gazprom Neft is able to reduce time and costs associated with industry-wide challenges. For example, the Company has successfully adopted an initiative already used in global companies: it has been decided to establish a regional Center of Competence (RCC) at each subsidiary and affiliate to address the Company’s key technological challenges. The main purposes for establishing these RCCs were to share best practices among Gazprom Neft’s subsidiaries and affiliates, analyze negative practices and exchange experiences with other oil companies.
Currently, the Company has four RCCs:
- LLC Gazprom Neft-Khantos (Developing formations with low permeability reservoirs);
- LLC Gazprom Neft-East (Developing fractured reservoirs);
- Gazprom Neft-Muravlenko Branch (Operating pipelines);
- OJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz (Enhanced oil recovery at the late stages of field development).
LLC Gazprom Neft-Khantos accounts for more than half of the reserves in low permeability reservoirs. The Company is planning to develop 125 million tonnes and produce 300 thousand tonnes in 2013.
The reliability index of pipeline systems across the Company (the specific index of ruptures per km of pipeline) should be reduced from 0.21 to 0.20 in 2013. At Gazprom Neft-Muravlenko Branch this index is expected reach 0.26 and so the RCC is focused on initiatives to reduce this in order to meet company targets.
In 2012, following the successful adoption of the latest sidetracking technology, OJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz carried out 57 operations that added over 230 thousand tonnes to the designed production. The Company is planning to increase the number of such operations to 80 in 2013, to yield an additional 300 million tonnes of oil per year.
LLC Gazprom Neft-East has more than 15 million tonnes of oil concentrated in fractured reservoirs. Projected production totals for 2013: Urmanskoye field — almost 126 thousand tonnes (Business Plan); Archinskoye field — nearly 10 thousand tonnes (Business Plan) and some 6 thousand tonnes at a production site for the pilot project on developing geologically-complex reserves (not included in the Business Plan), which ultimately amounts to 16 thousand tonnes. This will involve the development of more than 9 million tonnes, but the intensity of involvement will depend on the technologies applied.
Under the supervision of LLC Gazprom Neft R&D Center, a working group has been formed to monitor activities of the RCC that provide organizational support. In addition, the R&D Center is actively developing expert institutions in certain fields of knowledge and technologies extensively adopted by the RCC. This applies primarily to the following areas: offshoot spudding-in, multistage fracturing, geologically-complex reserves, chemicalization of production processes, and artificial lift. In 2012, as part of the RCC development, experts together with working groups from subsidiaries and affiliates designed, proposed and scheduled a number of pilot projects.
In addition to its in-house solutions, the Company adopts positive experiences from introducing innovations obtained in collaboration with world’s largest oil and gas companies. Last year, a joint company of OJSC Gazprom Neft and Shell, SPD, launched a pilot project for introducing a technology for soda-surfactant-polymer (ASP) water flooding to increase oil yield from formations at the Zapadno-Salymskoye field. Experiments on core material have confirmed the effectiveness of the selected chemical agent composition to produce additional oil volumes.
The project implementation is scheduled from 2013 to 2016, with
a total investment between RUB 2.0 billion and 2.5 billion. The
main advantage of this technology is the ability to significantly
increase oil recovery (up to
As explained above each identified technological challenge has been addressed through the development and introduction of new technologies at the Company’s fields. Above all, these technologies allow for a more qualitative approach to the localization and enhanced recovery of remaining reserves during the late stages of field development, as well as to the Company’s new, as yet undeveloped assets — the development of the Bazhenov and Frolovskaya suites.
In 2012, LLC Gazprom Neft R&D Center, with the participation of Beicip Franlab’s experts, conducted an areal study of the nonconventional reserve potential of the Bazhenov Suite covering over 44 thousand km2, including the western part of the Khanty-Mansi Depression, Salymskoye and Demyanskoye Elevations, as well as the adjacent Sytominskaya and Ust-Demyanskaya depressions, Salymsky Trough and the eastern part of the Krasnoleninsk Depression.
In 2012, the initial directional well was drilled in the fracture zone of the fault-block structure of the Bazheno-Abalak complex, at the Palyanovskoye field, with a planned yield of 35 tonnes of oil.
In 2013 and 2014, The Company is planning to implement a pilot project at the Zapadno-Salymskoye field for drilling five horizontal wells of different lengths and bore orientations and to conduct a multi-stage fracturing to assess more accurately the development potential of geologically-complex reserves in the Bazhenov and Frolovskaya suites.
In addition to innovations in technologies directly related to exploration and production, OJSC Gazprom Neft applies innovation in the areas of building and managing business processes. Among the Company’s key projects is an integrated program Electronic Development of Assets (EDA Project). Its initial phase will include the development and implementation of a set of software modules at the Company subsidiaries and affiliates: Hiding Chart + TechMode Information System, Energy-Efficient Design Software Package, and a Well Servicing & Workover Module. The management and control system chosen, including the projects mentioned above will automate key business processes, standardize and systematize information sources, generate quality analytical reports, and attain a maximum level of oil production. The developed modules, related to development and production technologies, aim to reduce the total cost of owning submersible equipment and to maintain productivity in well killing. They also target the prompt resolution of problems associated with choosing the optimal system for new assets evaluation and investment decision-making.
As part of the project, the following projects are scheduled
- module and database for under-performing wells;
- well killing and cleanout module;
- database of failures/records associated with the operation of submersible centrifugal pump units (including ground equipment) and tubing;
- automating the process of selecting candidates for optimization;
- downhole equipment operational efficiency analysis system;
- selection pattern for optimal development systems;
- Base Production Analysis & Control module;
- automation of reserves localization and well selection for primary interventions;
- tools for rapid geological structure assessment and data verification;
- integrated module for geological support of well drilling;
- automated qualitative analysis and expertise for 3D geological models;
- module for integrated quality control of geological information;
- spatial data system.
Drilling Support Center
In January 2012, based on interaction with Schlumberger’s drilling support expert group, the Company launched a project to establish a Center for Geological Support of High-Tech Well Construction (for wells with horizontal tailing-in, multilateral wells, with subsequent multi-stage fracturing, etc.). As of early 2013, high-tech well drilling is supported at the fields developed by OJSC Gazprom Neft- Noyabrskneftegaz; Gazprom Neft-Muravlenko Branch, LLC Gazprom Neft-Khantos, CJSC Gazprom Neft Orenburg, and LLC Gazprom Neft Development. In 2012, the construction of more than 150 high-tech wells received support (including well reconstruction by sidetracking), the drilling effectiveness for horizontal well sections in relation to the targeted production interval reached 85%, and the average daily yield of new wells totaled 107 tonnes. Plans for 2013 include increasing high-tech well drilling volumes, expanding the geography of works performed, and developing a corporate standard for geological approval of high-tech well construction.
In 2012, projects to introduce multi-stage fracturing assemblies at horizontal wells were initiated at the Company’s four major fields to enable reserves with low filtration properties to produce cost-effective oil yields during the development process. Applying fracturing phases 4 to 6 at the horizontal well section at 400 to 700 meters in length allowed the formation coverage area to increase without increasing the costs associated with drilling additional wells.
By applying this technology at 29 wells at the Vyngapurskoye field, OJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegas, the Yuzhno-Priobskoye field, LLC Gazprom Neft-Khantos, and the Vyngayakhinskoye and Yety-Purovskoye fields, OJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegas (branch of Muravlenkovskneft) a success rate of 98% was achieved with an average increase in daily oil yield of 79.2 tonnes. Additional oil production totaled 640.6 thousand tonnes as of January 1, 2013.
Rotary steerable systems and oil-based muds
Rotary steerable systems (RSS) are a new generation of downhole equipment for drilling wells. Applying the RSS enables directional wells drilling with a constantly rotating drillstring, thus greatly reducing the local torsion of the borehole and improving the quality of horizontal section cleaning. The direction of the boring head for extended reach drilling is set by directional drilling engineers without the need to lift assemblies onto the surface, thus simplifying geo-steering within thin layers. Reaching the remote target intervals allows the total number of wells and cluster sites to be reduced for field development.
The commercial introduction of RSS facilitates the following processes:
- drilling wells with extremely large waste (ERD);
- extended reach drilling to discover previously inaccessible objects;
- drilling vertical wells (with a maximum deviation angle of 0.2°).
In 2012, the RSS reduced capital costs by 1.4%, while increasing hydrocarbon production by 0.5 million tonnes. The total incremental increase between 2012 and 2015 is expected to reach 5.6 million tonnes.
The use of oil-based muds (OBM) at Company fields solves the problem of discovering productive formations, preserves reservoir permeability and porosity to the fullest extent possible, and reduces the risk of accidents in the course of overbalanced drilling. Capital costs decreased by 1.1% as a result of applying OBM in 2012, while yielding an additional 0.3 million tonnes of hydrocarbon production. The total incremental increase between 2012 and 2015 is expected to be 3.6 million tonnes.
At present, most of Gazprom Neft field’s are in stages 3 and 4 of development. It needs to be taken into consideration that some fields have adverse geological conditions which, given the late stages of development, create an imbalance in the proportion of reserves recovered from watering. Sidetracking solves the problem of recovering geologically-complex reserves and immovable oil recovery in the development process, and helps to avoid high watercuts.
The following projects were key for OJSC Gazprom Neft- Noyabrskneftegaz in 2012:
- localization of reserves — creating a proxy model for the BV8 formation of the Vyngapurskoye field;
- using milling bits for sidetracking wells in one drilling session (a well at the Vyngapurskoye field was successfully drilled using equipment from OJSC NPP Burservice). The technology is designed to bypass the emergency section of the well by sidetracking with a minimum of technical and economic costs, and can also be used for uncontrolled sidetracking;
- sidetracking with oil based muds (OBM) was successfully implemented at two wells at the Vyngapurskoye field. The use of OBM was used to address the instability of boreholes (cap rocks of productive formations) with drilling mud losses, and to obtain a high-quality initial penetration at abnormally low formation pressures;
- sidetracking with multi-zone fracturing (MZF) (was successfully conducted on a well at the Vyngapurskoye field after sidetracking; a bridge plug was used to isolate sections of the productive formation. The assemblies by CJSC OKB Zenith have been proposed for implementation. Testing and introducing sidetracking technology with multi-zone fracturing for the effective involvement of immovable oil in development for areas with low permeability and porosity will be carried out.
OJSC Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz’s plans for 2013 include:
- testing and introducing sidetracking well technology in one drilling session (bypassing emergency areas, barrel length of 300 m). The assemblies by CJSC OKB Zenith will be used with wells under repair with the need to bypass emergency areas;
- introducing the sidetracking technology with the use of OBM. Plans include works for three wells at the Chatylkinskoye, Vorgenskoye and Kholmistoye fields;
- using CJSC OKB Zenith assemblies in the course of multi-zone fracturing. Plans also include sidetracking operations with running MZF assemblies in holes for three wells at the Vyngapurskoye field; commencement period — March 2013.
Maintaining the current level of asset production
In 2012, efforts continued to implement a tool for oil production with enhanced energy efficiency — electric single-screw progressive cavity pump (ESP unit with thyratron motors). Reduced energy consumption was noted in all of the Company’s subsidiaries and affiliates. The greatest impact was achieved in wells operated using domestic equipment. On average, a 20% decrease in electricity consumption was recorded at each well. In addition to a higher efficiency, thyratron motors have smaller dimensions than common asynchronous motors. The smaller size allows for increased oil production by burying the equipment to record the geological potential of wells.
To maintain the current production on the depleted resource base of Company subsidiaries and affiliates, the Company, along with R&D experts, tested best practices in operating and controlling wells with low yields in the intelligent control mode during 2011 and 2012.
The difference between this method and the conventional batch mode is that the performance of the pumping equipment far exceeds that of the well, and, as a result, requires more careful mode tuning. In 2012, R&D experts developed the ‘Selecting the Regular Short-Time Actuation Mode’ methodology to ensure the successful implementation of the intelligent well control mode. This methodology was incorporated in the corporate standard ‘Operations with Submersible Centrifugal Pump Units.’ Following testing procedures, positive results were achieved at wells operating in the batch mode, as well as at underperforming wells. An increase in yield per well was recorded compared with operating in the batch mode. The MTBF also increased 1.5 to 2.0 times with energy cost savings at the same level. The forecasted impact of the full-scale adoption of this technology in low-yield complex wells and in variable flow stock is RUB 148 million between 2014 and 2016.
In 2011, work was carried out as part of Gazprom Neft’s Integrated Exploration and Research Program on 14 production wells at the Sutorminskoye field, OJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz (branch of Gazprom Neft-Muravlenko), in an attempt to deactivate a formation in order to transition to a lower horizon. The technologies for injecting compounds based on polymers F100 and WGA111 were applied and a success rate of 93% was achieved. Daily average oil production rose by 6.5 tonnes as a result. As of January 1, 2013, an additional 21.6 tonnes of crude oil had been produced, and 10 wells were involved.
As of February 1, 2013, the project to seal multiple gaps in the production string resulted in an additional production of 15.3 thousand tonnes of oil, with an average daily increase in yield of 25.5 tonnes.
In 2012, in the area of production chemicalization, as part of the project ‘Studying Deposits of Asphalts, Resins, and Parafins on Aboveground Pipelines at the Zimneye Field, LLC Gazprom Neft- Khantos,’ laboratory studies were conducted on the chemical composition of deposits at complex facilities, and the selection of compounds and their optimal concentration was determined in order to prevent the occurrence of asphalt, resin, and parafin deposits on overground pipelines at the Zimneye field (three selected out of 12), and to eliminate them (four selected out of 15). Given the conditions at the OJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz facilities, physicalchemical and filtration studies of ‘heavy’ kill fluids (10 samples) were conducted. Following these studies, three samples were used in pilot projects. Comparative physical, chemical and filtration studies of fortifying surfactant additives (three samples) were carried out. From 2008 to 2012, despite a 147% growth in the proportioning unit stock (to 920 units):
- overall reagent consumption decreased by 51% (a two-fold decrease, of 3,848 tonnes);
- Aquatech-525 consumption decreased by 76% (a four-fold decrease, of 5,040 tonnes from 6,620 t to 1,580 tonnes);
- the range of scale inhibitors grew from a single compound to 10 compound brands.