Gazprom Neft, Mubadala Petroleum and the Russian Direct Investment Fund have announced the completion of their transaction on 5 September 2018, establishing a joint venture through Gazpromneft-Vostok. The partners are committed to improving efficiency at this asset, to ensuring its further development, and to developing technologies to ensure the viable production of hydrocarbons at pre-Jurassic deposits in the Tomsk Oblast. Read more about Gazprom Neft’s partnership with Mubadala Petroleum and the RDIF, the reasons for the joint venture, and the potential development of Paleozoic deposits in western Siberia in this interview with Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO at Gazprom Neft.
— What were the reasons for establishing a joint venture through Gazpromneft-Vostok?
— You could say it’s a new stage in developing the business. The tasks facing us at the previous stage were centred around bringing the bulk of traditional reserves into development, and putting gas infrastructure in place. These jobs are largely done. Involving a partner now means we can speed up returns on those investments implemented earlier. And for our partner, this represents an opportunity to get a return on their investment immediately, since this asset is generating a positive cash flow.
— Why would an Arabian company be interested in hard-to-recover geological reserves in Russia?
— Russian oil assets are demonstrating considerable resilience in the face of an unstable pricing environment. I think our partners saw this, and appreciated it. If they’d been easy, traditional reserves, then we would have included all income from production in the deal price. They’d have paid it, and it would have been a “zero-sum” game. But for there to be any point in joining forces with partners, you have to generate added value. And, in that context, the promise here lies in bringing the Paleozoic reserves into production. That’s an interesting challenge: we know how to work with Paleozoic deposits — we’re producing oil at these deposits at the Urmano-Archniskaya group of fields. But the prospects are much wider.
— How does the company assess the potential of working with Paleozoic deposits?
— Field potential is about 20 million tonnes. The geological prospecting programme we plan to implement with our partners includes drilling six exploratory wells, together with the equivalent of about 950 square kilometres of seismic. We will be implementing an R&D programme together with scientific and educational institutions in Tomsk. After that, once this programme is completed (and we’re talking over the next three years), hopefully confirming the geological outlook, then we will begin the task of improving efficiency in developing these reserves, finding the most effective approaches in managing the development of these kinds of hard-to-recover reserves, and improving technologies for drilling out these deposits.