Gazprom Neft begins developing Achimov strata and oil-rim deposits in the north of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazpromneft-Zapolyarye has concluded long-term risk-based operator agreements with Gazprom PJSC subsidiaries, allowing the company to start developing Achimov strata at the Yamburgskoye oil and gas condensate field as well as oil-rim deposits at its parent company’s Pestsovoye and En-Yakhinskoye fields.
The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Gazprom Neft has begun implementing large-scale projects involving the development of Achimov oil deposits at the Yamburgskoye oil and gas condensate field, and oil-rim deposits at the Petsovoye and En-Yakhinskoye fields in the Nadym-Pur-Tazovskoye region of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.* Preparations for developing these assets were initiated in 2018.
Two exploratory wells have been retested at the Yamburg field, and commercial oil inflows obtained. Drilling of high-tech horizontal wells, together with multi-stage fracking, will commence here during the course of this year, following which a decision will be made on the terms — and speed — of implementing this project.
Commercial production is expected to start at the Yamburg field’s Achimov deposits in 2024, following clarification of the geological structure and the completion of hydrocarbon treatment and transportation infrastructure. Daily production volumes are expected to reach up to eight million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) per day. Implementing this project will allow technologies to be developed for subsequent use in developing oil reserves at Western Siberian Achimov deposits previously considered unviable.
Development of oil-rim deposits at the Petsovoye and En-Yakhinskoye fields is expected to commence at the end of 2021. Production volumes at these blocks are expected to be in the order of two million toe per year. Experience of working at these assets will allow cutting-edge technologies to be developed, opening up new opportunities for developing oil-rim deposits at oil and gas condensate fields.
Developing Gazprom-owned license blocks for the first time will be undertaken under risk-based operator contracts. Long-term risk-based operatorship contracts will allow Gazprom Neft to conduct activities under Gazprom subsidiaries’ licenses, on terms identical to the licenses it owns, meaning reserves, production and financial results can be consolidated on the operating company’s balance sheet, under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The main point under this mechanism being that Gazprom Neft will be investing its own resources in geological prospecting activities and infrastructure construction, and bearing all geological and operational risks. This new structure also creates a legal basis for raising project and shareholder financing on what is a large-scale and technically challenging project, involving the development of Achimov and oil-rim deposits, both of which are categorised as “hard-to-recover” reserves.
Licenses to develop Achimov** or oil-rim deposits,** which are integral to a field’s oil and gas or oil and gas-condensate reserves, cannot be assigned, sold or transferred to another company by the owner of that asset. In a situation where a subsoil user holds the rights to a field, and Gazprom Neft has the key skills and competencies necessary for developing liquid hydrocarbon reserves, a risk-based operatorship agreement is the most effective mechanism for bringing such reserves into production.
Long-term risk-based operatorship agreements could be used by Gazprom Neft in the future in developing oil-bearing reserves at the Zapadno-Tarkosalinskoye, Chayandinskoye, Urengoy and Orenburg fields, as well as in developing hydrocarbon reserves at fields owned by its parent company in the north of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, commented: “The development of Achimov reserves and oil-rim deposits is one of the key areas for developing Gazprom Neft’s resource base. The key to these kinds of reserves — the development of which was, for a long time, considered unviable — lies in modern drilling technologies, and, specifically, in building wells of complex design. Risk-based operatorship mechanisms, and synergies with existing asset infrastructure, mean we can bring the oil component at our parent company’s fields into production. About 50 percent of Gazprom Neft’s total production will be produced in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug as soon as 2020.”
Tags: hard-to-recover reserves
* Reserves in place at oil-bearing Achimov deposits at the Yamburgskoye oil and gas condensate field stand at 1.2 billion tonnes.
Reserves in place at the Pestsovoye field total more than 70 million tonnes.
Reserves in place at the En-Yakhinskoye field stand at more than 130 million tonnes.
** Achimov deposits are strata located in the lower part of Cretaceous (chalk) deposits almost directly above the oil-bearing Bazhenov formation — a group of geological formations in Western Siberia, located at depths of two, three and four kilometres. The Achimov strata occur throughout the central zone of the West Siberian basin, with the most important being found in the Nadymsky and Purovsky Districts of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Achimov strata are characterised by complex geological structure, necessitating the use of technologically complex techniques in developing these reserves.
*** An “oil rim” reservoir is one that forms part of an oil or gas-condensate deposit in which gas constitutes a considerably greater volume than oil. It is, in fact, a thin seam between a significantly larger gas cap and a water-bearing stratum. The effective development of such geologically complex resources demands the use of new technological solutions in drilling complex wells, identifying ways of lifting liquid with a high gas content, and extreme precision in integrated design engineering.
Gazprom Neft has extensive skills and successful experience in oil-rim development, which the Novoportovskoye and Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye fields, as well as the Eastern section of the Orenburg oil and gas condensate field could, can be classified as, given the nature of their reserves. Gazpromneft-Zapolyarye has, previously, been involved as operator on pilot works at oil-rim deposits at various other Gazprom projects, including at the Chayandinskoye, Orenburg, Zapadno-Tarkosalinskoye and Yamburg fields.