The Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre (STC) has concluded a Cooperation Agreement with St Petersburg State University on collaboration in developing projects under the company’s Technology Strategy, and on engaging Russian scientists in the key sciences in solving the challenges facing the oil industry. Within the framework of this cooperation, new algorithms and technologies for field development will be created, and training programmes for young professionals and students implemented.
Collaboration with St Petersburg State University is expected to be undertaken under various areas of Gazprom Neft’s Technology Strategy, * including technologies for geological prospecting and field development, the creation of bespoke software (Electronic Asset Development, ERA), and well drilling technologies.
Research and development (R&D) activities will be undertaken through the St Petersburg State University Research Park,** including, in particular, in creating new algorithms for determining optimum solutions in integrated project management in field development. That is, finding the most effective solutions for combining below- and above-ground infrastructure, taking project economics and production feasibility into account. Another area of cooperation concerns the process modelling of downhole solid-flows in order to determine the optimal regime for their operation and to prevent clogging.
Under the framework of the Cooperation Agreement a technical project — “Geo-chemical Control Technologies in Reserve Recovery” — is to be undertaken with one of the university’s resource centres, the Chemical Analysis and Materials Research Centre. This will involve carrying out multiple (inter-disciplinary) investigations into oil, using chemical analysis. This technology is directed at studying multi-layer deposits, determining the most productive layers, identifying sources of water encroachment, and evaluating the effect of fracking operations.
In order to undertake detailed analysis of the company’s needs and the challenges it faces, St Petersburg State University specialists are expected to be involved in various projects in exploration and production so that, having investigated the specifics of the industry, they will be able to propose and develop new technological solutions. In particular, a Laboratory for Digital Geological Modelling is to be put together involving representatives from the key sciences (physics, chemistry and mathematics) in order to undertake research and develop new software allowing deeper analysis of geological information.
Mars Khasanov, Director of the Gazprom Neft Technology Directorate and General Director of the Scientific and Technical Centre commented: “Ongoing implementation of new technologies is one of our company’s priorities. It’s obvious that industry development is dependent on new programmes for modelling various processes. Using digital solutions, we now have the opportunity to calculate tens of thousands of different options and find the best ones, allowing us to increase efficiency and manage costs even more effectively. However, introducing innovation is not possible without engaging the intellectual potential of Russian scientists, which is why we establish partnerships with our country’s leading scientific centres and the most important Russian universities, involving them in studying the technological challenges we face, in order to find new solutions together.”
* At the end of 2014 various Gazprom Neft projects, directed at improving efficiency in oil and gas production, the development of new reserves, and the implementation of the company’s strategic objectives, were brought together in a single concept document, named as the company’s “Technology Strategy”.
** The St Petersburg State University Science Park comprises 26 active resource centres, each of them related to four priority areas, depending on their scientific and research activities:
- Nanotechnology and Materials Science (15 resource centres);
- Biomedicine and Human Health (three resource centres);
- Information Systems and Technology (five resource centres);
- Ecology and Nature Management (three resource centres).
The purpose of the Research Park’s Resource Centres is to support cutting-edge research techniques, analytical control and diagnostics for researchers at St Petersburg State University and other organisations engaged in research and development (R&D).
St Petersburg State University’s “Chemical Analysis and Materials Research Centre” was created with the aim of supporting research activities in analytical chemistry, as well as providing analytical support in R&D, design and experimentation, and industrial applications, undertaken in conjunction with (and on the premises of) partnering organisations. The centre utilises various research methods to undertake analysis of substances of various levels complexity.
Gazprom Neft has been working closely with St Petersburg State University for several years and, since 2013, through its “Rodniye Goroda (Home Towns)” corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme has supported the Chebyshev Laboratory, under the direction of St Petersburg State University Professor (and Fields Medal Laureate) Stanislav Smirnov. The company finances the secondment of Russian students and scholars abroad, as well as conducting seminars and conferences through the Chebyshev Laboratory.
With the support of Gazprom Neft the university has been able to conduct the Gustav Lamé competition for invited professors of mathematics, allowing the organisation of a series of lectures, from internationally renowned scholars, at St Petersburg State University. The company has endowed a series of financial awards for students and junior mathematics researchers at the university, with recipients chosen by a selection committee comprising colleagues from the Chebyshev Laboratory and associate.
Gazprom Neft began cooperating in educational development with St Petersburg State University in 2014. Through its collaboration with the university the company co-finances a specialist programme in “Legal Regulation in Natural Resources Management” within one of Russia’s leading law schools.