Specialists from Gazpromneft Khantos, under the leadership of the company’s geology and development function and experts from the Gazprom Neft Research and Development Centre, have undertaken multi-stage fracking using new “non-ball-and-socket (Mongoose)” technology at the Gazprom Neft Priobskoye field: the use of this innovative technology allowing 11 fracking operations to be undertaken from a single well — a record for the company. This new approach removes any limitations on the number of fracking operations that can be conducted from a single well, and promises greater efficiency in the development of the company’s reserves.
The key feature of this new technology, predominantly, lies in isolating the frac ports (the points inside the well from which fracking is expected be undertaken) from each other. Under more traditional “ball and socket” technology, each new fracking zone is separated from the preceding one by a metal (or composite) ball. The diameter of these balls increases from zone to zone, with the result that the way these wells are constructed makes more than 10 fracking operations impossible.
Multi-stage fracking at the Priobskoye field does not involve using balls as isolators, but, rather, a special instrument with a multi-use compacted “cushion”, which expands to isolate those areas in which fracking has been completed. Once work has been completed this deflates to its normal size and can be transported to the next area of the well from which fracking is to take place — in contrast to the more traditional balls, which have to be destroyed once fracking is completed. In which circumstances, the number of fracking operations is limited only by the extent of the well itself, and by technical and economic considerations.
In addition to which, and, again, in contrast to more traditional technologies, this method allows research to be undertaken from within the well, as well as allowing repeated fracking and the quick commencement of production once all fracking operations have been completed.
Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Searching for, testing, and disseminating new technologies is an absolute priority for Gazprom Neft. We are committed to continually improving the company’s technological efficiency — one example we can cite here being the manifold growth in high-technology wells, with these now accounting for 40 percent of our total portfolio. And the number of multi-stage fracking wells has, in three years, increased almost six-fold. Utilising the most reliable, economical and safe technologies is what underpins the long-term growth of Gazprom Neft, the development of the business, and our resilience against external factors.”
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a means of intensifying oil production, through 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. Hydraulic fracking is undertaken through horizontal wells. 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.
Gazprom Neft continues to increase its use of high-technology drilling, with high-technology wells comprising 40 percent of the company’s total wells as at end-2014 — a market-leading performance within the Russian oil and gas sector. In particular, the total number of horizontal wells drilled throughout the company’s enterprises has now reached 297, an almost
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