Gazprom Neft selecting technologies for development of hard-to-recover reserves


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- The first exploratory well has been drilled at Achinsk field (Tomsk Oblast, under development by Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazpromneft-Vostok), part of a federal project to establish a regional testing ground to identify effective technologies for the development of hard-to-recover (tight) reserves. Operations, financed by Gazprom Neft, are also aimed at conducting a study of the unconventional hydrocarbon reserves of the Bazhenov formation.

A Gazpromneft-Vostok operated field, Tomsk Oblast. Image: Gazprom Neft.

Sampled at a depth of around 2,600 m, approximately 30 m of core samples have been extracted from the Bazhenov formation and subsequently transferred to the All-Russian Research Geological Oil Institute (VNIGNI, the primary institute of the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency).

Analysis of the material obtained will allow further clarification of the structure of the Bazhenov formation, as well as delivering insights into the long-term prospects for production from these deposits, and the identification of optimum strategies for their development. Drill samples will also be studied by specialists from the Gazprom Neft Scientific and Research Center.

The Bazhenov formation is a key source of unconventional hydrocarbon reserves. A specific geological stratum identified in the center of Western Siberia, this rock formation runs to depths of 2,000–3,000 m. While the stratum covers an area of approximately one million km2, it is comparatively thin, with a thickness of only 10–40 m. Optimistic estimates suggest that oil reserves of the Bazhenov formation could amount to as much as 100–170 billion tonnes. The development of these reserves in Russia is currently awaiting the selection of appropriate technologies for full-scale commercial production.

An agreement on the establishment of a testing ground for the development of technologies for the exploration and production of hard-to-recover reserves was signed in March 2014 between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation and the Administration of the Tomsk Oblast. The project is being implemented by the Tomsk association, the Research and Development Center for Innovation in Subsoil Use, of which Gazprom Neft is a member.

Gazprom Neft is also actively involved in the investigation of the Bazhenov formation in other regions. The company is working on the selection of technologies for the development of these strata in Yuzhno-Priobskoye and Krasnoleninsk fields (Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug).

The Gazprom Neft Scientific and Research Center also partners another federal program in this area, again directed at the further evaluation of the key characteristics of the Bazhenov formation and the identification of potential technologies for its development. This project is being implemented by the Engineering Center of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

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