Gazprom Neft’s key focus in developing its resource base lies in the organic growth of existing assets, involvement in developing oil assets owned by Gazprom PJSC, investigating and bringing non-traditional reserves into commercial development, and proactive geological exploration, both in new prospecting zones and offshore. The overriding strategic objective is to develop a resource base sufficient to achieve production of 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) by 2020, and subsequent increases to that figure.
Four new fields and 27 hydrocarbon deposits were discovered at Gazprom Neft license blocks through that strategy in 2018. The company entered four new exploration zones, both in locations in which it is already active — the Yamal Peninsula, the Orenburg Oblast and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug-Yugra — and in a new area for the company, the north—east of the Gydan Peninsula (Krasnoyarsky Krai). The drilling of 50 prospecting and exploratory wells in one year set a new company record here.
Organic growth at existing assets
Given the considerable maturity of a number of the company’s existing fields, the main objective at these assets will be cutting per-barrel production costs and bringing new reserves into production. Digital technologies are creating new opportunities for this.
The company is already engaged in oil production at the Vyngapurovskoye field (in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug) where reserves have been identified using new algorithms and self-learning digital systems. These reserves would have been almost impossible to locate through traditional methods.
Bringing Gazprom oil assets into production
Gazprom Neft is always looking for synergistic benefits by working with its parent company in developing Gazprom Group assets. Effective approaches have been developed for bringing Achimovsky deposits into development at the Yamburgskoye field, with Gazprom developing the gas deposits overlying these.
A similar approach is being taken at oil-rim («gas-cap») deposits in the Orenburg Oblast and the Nadym-Pur-Tazovsky region in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Investigations into the Ayashsky license block, offshore from Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk, remain ongoing. A new field — the Triton field — was discovered there in 2018, while estimated reserves at the Neptune field (discovered the previous year) have been revised upwards. Total reserves in place at these two assets, endorsed by the State Reserves Commission, stand at more than 500 mtoe.
Investigations into non-traditional reserves
The main focus of attention at Gazprom Neft today is on preparing oil reserves at the Bazhenov Formation for commercial development. The Bazhenov Technology Centre (a Gazprom Neft subsidiary and operator on the national project to develop breakthrough technologies for developing non-traditional hydrocarbon reserves) has been established in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, to that end.
That organisation acts as a forum in bringing together resources from the government, oil producers and oil-services companies, the R&D community and business in addressing the strategic goal of bringing Bazhenov oil into development. Approximately 20 partnerships have been developed within the Bazhnov Technology Centre, with eight new technologies pilot-tested in 2018.
2018 also marked the launch of the first phase of a well-core research laboratory at the V.I. Shpilman Subsoil Usage Research and Development Centre in Khanty-Mansiysk. This centre will host full-cycle core investigations, the outcomes of which will help identify approaches to developing hard-to-recover oil reserves.
The company’s resource base was further enhanced by another kind of non-traditional reserves — Domanic-Formation oil deposits, present at two blocks acquired by the company in the Orenburg Oblast. Recoverable Domanic reserves here stand at about 200 million tonnes.
Together with international oil company Mubadala Petroleum (UAE) Gazprom Neft is continuing its implementation of a technological project to investigate a pre-Jurassic complex of deposits (Paleozoic deposits) in Western Siberia.
Inorganic growth and new exploration zones
Almost half of all licenses made available through auctions in Russia in 2018 were acquired by Gazprom Neft. All acquisitions were made in line with the company’s resource-base development strategy, with the intention, in the first instance, of developing the company’s resource potential in those locations in which it operates.
Total potential production across the company’s new exploration zones in Yamal (the Yuzhno-Novoportovsky and Surovy blocks), Gydan (the Leninsky and Pukhutsyayasky blocks), seven Karabashsky blocks in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and a new exploration cluster in the Orenburg Oblast (comprising the Nadezhdnynsky, Kornavarinsky, Zapadno-Rubezhinsky and Solnechny license blocks) together stands at about 400 mtoe.
Gazprom Neft is proactively using both 2D and 3D seismic — as well as modern non-seismic techniques — in investigating new exploration zones. These include gravity-, magnetic- and electrical-prospecting, geochemical prospecting, and geomorphological analysis. New approaches to exploration, together with the deployment of digital solutions in data interpretation, are facilitating significant efficiency gains in geological prospecting.
Key performance indicators
* Gazprom Neft’s total reserves include allocations proportional to the company’s interests in affiliated companies (including Slavneft, Tomskneft, Salym Petroleum Development, SeverEnergia, Messoyakhaneftegaz and Nortgaz, as well as assets in Iraq and Venezuela), but exclude the company’s reserves arising from its interests in NIS, Serbia.
** The PRMS (Petroleum Resources Management System) is the most widely used hydrocarbon reserves evaluation system in the world. Developed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the system not only takes into account the likely detection of oil and gas reserves, but also the economic viability of their recovery, with reserves classified according to three categories — proved, probable, and possible.