Gazprom Neft has begun geological investigations in Paleozoic hydrocarbon deposits in the Tomsk Oblast. Thus far, the complex structure of the pre-Jurassic complex has not been deemed an independent geological prospect, investigations into which demand the modification of traditional prospecting methodologies. The aim of this project — the first of it’s kind in Russia — is to identify optimum approaches for investigating oil-bearing Paleozoic deposits, allowing greater efficiency in geological prospecting as well as reducing costs, and resulting in an additional 25 million tonnes of recoverable reserves, as well as more than one billion tonnes of hydrocarbons in place,* from this region alone.
Investigations into the geological structure and conditions dictating the formation of the pre-Jurassic complex (created during the Paleozoic era)** are being undertaken at Gazpromneft-Vostok’s fields in the Tomsk Oblast. The goal of the project is to create appropriate technologies to investigate promising facilities by involving and bringing together all possible information, obtained through various theoretical and experimental approaches, and scientifically adapting and modifying these in line with the underlying geology of the pre-Jurassic complex. Because of its complex structure and the availability of more easily accessible Jurassic- and Cretaceous-era facilities, the Paleozoic section has not been adequately studied, and basic research is expected to reveal new features and patterns.
Cumulative geological and technological factors have allowed three characteristic zones to be identified among the various hydrocarbon accumulations within the Tomsk Oblast, investigation of which will involve six wells being drilled throughout
Kirill Strizhnev, Executive Director of Gazprom Neft’s Bazhenov Project, commented: “Paleozoic deposits have never been considered a target for geological prospecting. Deposits in sediments of this age have, mainly, been found opportunistically, while exploring other oil- and gas-bearing formations. Realising the need for an integrated approach, we have put together a research programme directed at engaging the scientific community of the Tomsk region, and have, already, completed the drilling of the first exploratory well”.
An application has been submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation for state funding for scientific and research activities in technology, being implemented as part of Russia’s 2014 — 2020 “Research and Development in Priority Areas” Federal Target Programme. Gazprom Neft is acting as commercial (industrial) partner to leading scientific institutions, undertaking the role of setting real and immediate problems, as well as issues around which research and development activities might be centred, and co-financing such work. Gazprom Neft specialists are now undertaking research into Paleozoic deposits in conjunction with Tomsk Polytechnic University. It is expected that other institutions and universities (Tomsk State University, GeoPrime, and others) will take part in such research work, in the future. Preliminary expert estimates suggest that identifying appropriate technologies for developing deposits in the pre-Jurassic complex may take in the order of about three years, although their further application will allow a manifold increase in exploration drilling success rates — with the Tomsk region, alone, expected to see an increase of more than one billion tonnes of reserves-in-place.
* Such recoverable reserves comprise a proportion of the reserves-in-place, subsoil production of which (as at the date of calculation) is commercially viable under competitive market conditions assuming the use of modern production technologies and solutions and subject to compliance with requirements regarding subsoil and environmental protection. Geological reserves constitute the oil, combustible gases, and related components therein found within the subsoil under exploratory drilling.
** The Paleozoic era began approximately 540 million years ago, and lasted for 290 million years. Many of the largest and most important coal and oil deposits were formed during the Paleozoic era.