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Gazprom Neft’s digital solutions improve efficiency in well drilling

The Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre has developed the industry’s first self-learning programme for optimising costs in horizontal well construction. Replicating this solution across the company’s assets will allow cost reductions in new well construction in the order of RUB1 billion, as well as cutting drilling times. This innovative technology helps company engineers, based on inferential data, clarify strata geology and, where necessary, take a decision on correcting the drilling trajectory, in real time.


Following the drilling trajectory in well construction is important in order to remain within the boundaries of the oil reservoir at all times. Data transmitters are used to that end, feeding information on the surrounding geology from drilling equipment. Currently, however, the construction of even the most cutting-edge equipment means this can be located only 15 to 30 metres from the boring head. This results in a delay in data being received, giving rise to the risk of the productive zone being breached.

A new digital tool has been developed within Gazprom Neft to address this problem. This programme uses machine learning in order to analyse metrics received directly from drilling equipment — the level of vibration, drilling speed, rotor spinning and drill-bit pressure — quickly. This metric changes depending on the nature of the strata, making it possible to determine rock composition without having to wait for data from sensors on the drilling equipment itself. This approach means drilling can be adjusted quickly in situations where actual strata location and positioning differs from that anticipated.

This programme is self-learning in its operation, with predictions as to the surrounding rock becoming more precise with every metre drilled. The technology can be adapted for use at various fields. It has successfully completed commercial testing at Gazpromneft-Yamal assets, with accuracy in predicting changes to surrounding geology during well drilling reaching 70 percent.

The proportion of high-tech wells in Gazprom Neft’s production-well portfolio is moving towards 60 percent — on which basis the company is now the leader in Russia’s oil and gas industry.

Vitaly Koryabkin, Head of the Gazprom Neft GeoNavigator Drilling Support Centre, commented: “Work in the oil industry is closely connected with technological challenges. This stimulates us to develop and implement new digital tools which help optimise production processes. In using cutting-edge technologies we are moving towards a new level of efficiency.”
Vitaly Koryabkin Head of the Gazprom Neft GeoNavigator Drilling Support Centre