New specialist oil and gas faculty emerges at Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University

September 2015 will see the opening of a new specialist Gazprom Neft-supported faculty — Technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery in Tight Reserves*, a two-year master’s programme for specialists in the field — open at the Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University. Establishment of the faculty forms part of a wider partnership agreement on technological collaboration in unconventional reserves concluded between Gazprom Neft and the Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University in 2014.

Selection for entry will be made on a competitive basis, among students and graduates (holding a bachelor’s (first) degree or specialist diploma) from the Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University or higher educational establishments in Russia. Study during the first year of the course is expected to cover theoretical training, with the second involving practical experience at Gazprom Neft enterprises, as well as the writing of a thesis.

The Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University

The new faculty will be based within the Department of Chemical Engineering, including lecturers and staff including experts from Gazprom Neft, headed by D.Eng.Sc. Kirill Strizhnev, responsible for leading Gazprom Neft’s work on unconventional reserves, including those at the Bazhenov formation.

Gazprom Neft First Deputy CEO Vadim Yakovlev commented: “The opening up of hard-to-recover and unconventional reserves has a major role to play in the development of the entire oil and gas sector — a role that can only increase with every passing year. The establishment of a specialist educational programme not only widens the skills and competencies of trained specialists, but also refines their knowledge and skills for practical application.”

Gazprom Neft is currently implementing several projects on the study of the Bazhenov formation — a unique geological stratum identified in the centre of Western Siberia, running to depths of 2,000–3,000 metres. While the stratum covers an area of approximately one million square kilometres, it is comparatively thin, with a thickness of only 10–40 metres. Optimistic estimates suggest that oil reserves at the Bazhenov reservoir could amount to as much as 100–170 billion tonnes in Western Siberia alone.

These reserves are currently classified as “unconventional”, with their development currently subject to the identification of optimum solutions for commercial development. In the course of its work in non-traditional reserves, Gazprom Neft is also actively involved in hard-to-recover reserves;* through the use of new technologies, the company plans to bring an additional 300 million tonnes of hard-to-recover reserves into production by 2020.


*Reserves characterised by complex conditions for production — i.e., specific geological or reservoir conditions, as well as oil showing unusual characteristics, and other factors requiring the application of specialist technologies and strategies in production.

The Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University (awarded the status of a National Research University) is one of the most significant academic institutions in the oil and gas educational system in Russia. Gubkin University alumni include 38 winners of the Lenin Prize (in science and technology), with more than 300 being awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation or of the USSR. Numerous towns, enterprises, institutes, research vessels and oil and gas fields have been named in honour of Gubkin University staff and graduates. More than 90,000 specialists and doctorate holders (PhDs) have graduated from Gubkin University since 1930.

Several specialist faculties, supported by Gazprom Neft, have been established at higher educational institutions throughout the main regions in which the company operates. Two faculties are already in operation — on the Geology of Hydrocarbon Systems at the Gubkin Russian State Oil and Gas University, and on Oil Refining at the Omsk State Technological University. Postgraduate students supported by Gazprom Neft are currently working at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and at the St Petersburg State University. The opening of a further three postgraduate programmes are planned in 2015, at Tyumen State Architectural University, and at the Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University.

Every year more than 500 students undergo practical training at enterprises throughout Gazprom Neft. April 2015 saw the start of selection processes at the Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University for a two-year master’s programme on Mathematical Modelling of Oil and Gas Production Processes, to be held at the new Gazpromneft-Polytech scientific and educational centre. Gazprom Neft has already been working closely with the St Petersburg State University for a number of years. Since 2013 the company has supported the work of the Chebyshev research laboratory, and has financed master’s degrees in subsoil use regulation since 2014. One outstanding example of the company’s work in engaging talented young people to work for the company was the first “Oil and Gas Moot Competition”, held by Gazprom Neft in 2014. Bringing together more than 5,200 participants, its format, geographic range and sheer number of participants made this a unique event in the Russian oil industry. The competition final was held in St Petersburg.