JSC Gazprom Neft to start fourth shale oil exploration project

Gazpromneft-Khantos, a subsidiary of JSC Gazprom Neft, has been granted a licence to carry out geological exploration of the deep oil-saturated prospective horizons in the Achimovskaya and Bazhenovskaya formations of the southern Priobskoye field.

Hydrocarbons at depths of 2,500–2,700 metres are difficult to recover due to the poor filtration properties of the reservoir rocks.

In 2014, work will include analysis of existing geophysical data, core analysis, re-interpretation of 3D seismic survey data and development of a conceptual geological model of deep horizons in the South Priobskoye field. It is expected that by 2015, it will already be possible to identify the sectors with the best prospects for exploratory well drilling and to select the most appropriate technology for developing these prospects.

Exploration of the Bazheno-Abalaksky complex in the South Priobskoye field will be carried out with support from Schlumberger. At the beginning of 2014, JSC Gazprom Neft and Schlumberger signed an agreement to expand technological cooperation to achieve greater efficiency in the development of hard-to-extract reserves, mainly shale oil. As a technical partner, Schlumberger will provide JSC Gazprom Neft with proven technical solutions backed by the experience and expertise of both Russian and international unconventional resource experts from the oilfield services company.

“Advances in technology mean that oil companies are now able to develop reserves which in many cases were regarded as unrecoverable just a few years ago. JSC Gazprom Neft is now in a position to proactively develop both hard-to-extract and unconventional reserves, including the Bazheno-Abalaksky complex horizons. By using cutting-edge technology, we are constantly developing our experience and expertise. For example, over the last two years, JSC Gazprom Neft has increased its overall proportion of high-tech wells from 4% to 35%, becoming one of the leading Russian oil and gas industry companies in this sector**”, said Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO of JSC Gazprom Neft.

Reference

*Shale oil is contained in the Bazhenovskaya, Abalakskaya, and Frolovskaya rock formations in Western Siberia, which have super-low permeability and a high level of oil saturation.

**In 2013, JSC Gazprom Neft drilled over 230 horizontal wells, more than twice as many as during the previous year. The number of wells drilled using multistage hydraulic fracturing (fracking) increased by more than a factor of five, up to almost 150 wells. A total of 24 simultaneous horizontal wells were drilled, compared with just five in 2012.

To date, JSC Gazprom Neft is working on three projects involving shale oil deposit exploration. The first is in the Palyanovskaya zone of the Krasnoleninskoye field (also being developed by Gazpromneft-Khantos). In spring 2013, tests were completed on the development well drilled to study the Bazheno-Abalaksky horizon. The well produced an oil flow at a rate of 80 cubic metres per day. The second stage of the exploration programme includes the drilling of four inclined wells to depths of 2,700–2,800 metres by autumn 2014. JSC Gazprom Neft is also gaining experience in the development of similar reserves through a 50/50 joint venture with Shell: Salym Petroleum Development (SPD). In January, SPD announced that it had begun to drill its first horizontal appraisal well to explore the Bazhenovskaya formation in the Upper Salym field. In 2014–2015, SPD plans to drill a total of five similar wells using multistage hydraulic fracturing technology. Moreover, in 2013, a second joint venture between JSC Gazprom Neft and Shell was created: the Khanty-Mansi Oil and Gas Union (St. Petersburg). The company will carry out new shale oil deposit exploration and development projects in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area. In 2014, the company acquired the rights to carry out geological exploration in the Yuilsky-4, Yuilsky-5, and South Lungorsky-1 sectors of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area.