Gazprom Neft experts have joined a governmental Working Group supporting a competition* for the development of a Russian IT product for modelling in hydraulic fracturing (fracking**) — a development which will facilitate better planning and management in fracking operations, extending the life of mature fields and the development of new hard-to-recover reserves.
The aim of the competition is to identify the project consortium best placed to develop competitive domestic software for modelling fracking operations. Gazprom Neft is actively involved with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation in developing a fracking simulator and, together with other oil and gas companies supporting the competition, is offering the winners a platform for product testing, as well as providing technical support during development. The company will also offer members of the winning consortium the opportunity of working with the company’s Joint Scientific and Research Centre.
The development of a programme for modelling in hydraulic fracturing is a highly pertinent objective for Gazprom Neft in its upstream operations currently, since more than half of all new wells drilled at the company’s fields can be classified as high-technology wells, including horizontal wells for multi-stage fracking. Added to which, fracking operations are technologically complex and somewhat expensive, demanding careful preparation. The outcomes of such modelling will allow optimum fracking criteria to be identified, as well as reducing expenses while, at the same time, improving productivity.
Gazprom Neft’s “Technology Strategy”, directed at developing oil production technologies, includes more than 100 technological initiatives, categorised into nine key priority areas, including the implementation of cutting-edge fracking technologies. Specifically, Gazprom Neft has, together with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) Engineering Centre, already developed a programme for modelling fractures in the strata of the Bazhenov Formation — a structure markedly different from “traditional” oil reserves in its geological structure and physical features.
«Hydraulic fracking is one of the most effective techniques for working with hard-to-recover oil reserves which, in Russia and worldwide, are becoming ever more important. Gazprom Neft has fully mastered this technology, quite recently undertaking the first
30-stagefracking operation in Russia. At the same time, the job of the company’s Joint Scientific and Research Centre is to continuously improve the effectiveness of production processes, and improve existing technologies and IT solutions. We appreciate that current IT products for modelling in fracking operations are not adequate for addressing these new challenges. A new fracking simulator will deliver greater effectiveness here, and will prove useful both in mature fields and in new complex projects».Mars Khasanov Gazprom Neft Technology Directorate Head
* The “CyberFracking” Competition is being held by the Skolkovo Foundation, supported the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, together with the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Media, and major Russian oil and gas companies. Competition winners will be recommended by these ministries, as well as the Ministry of Education and the Skolkovo Foundation, to receive government financial support in implementing projects, as well as receiving support from these institutions in securing private investment. Individual researchers are invited to take part in the competition, as well as independent teams, technology companies, engineering companies, representatives from the scientific community, and investors. Further information can be obtained from the competition website.
** Hydraulic fracking is a means of increasing oil production. It involves the high-pressure injection of a mixture of fluids and a special proppant agent (proppant) into strata. The process of injecting the mixture creates highly conductive channels (“hydraulic fractures”) connecting the well (bore hole) and the strata. These fractures allow oil to flow that would not, under other circumstances, reach the well. Under multi-stage fracking, multiple fracking operations can be undertaken from a single horizontal well, allowing a manifold increase in the catchment area covered from that well.