Gazprom Neft has signed a memorandum of cooperation with IBM at this year’s St Petersburg International Economic Forum covering the use of information technologies in exploration and production (E&P). The agreement outlines the key areas of technical collaboration, and the key principles behind this, as well as plans for the implementation of joint initiatives in the development of new technologies for optimising and automating oil production processes. The memorandum was signed by Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, and John Brantley, Vice President, IBM.
Gazprom Neft is extending its collaboration with IBM as part of the company’s “Electronic Asset Development (ERA)*” project, directed at developing new IT instruments and software for optimising processes in geological prospecting, project management, field development and operation.
The companies will work together in developing strategies for optimising various oil production processes with the help of cognitive data analysis technologies (the search for trends and patterns in raw data), in machine learning (algorithms learned in the course of data processing), and high-performance computing (the processing of large volumes of data). The application of such technologies will allow the identification of new strategies for increasing effectiveness in field development, increasing the oil recovery factor (ORF), and reducing costs. An initiative for optimising the water-flooding** process at mature Gazprom Neft fields, with the aim of increasing the ORF and reducing injection volumes, has been identified as a pilot project.
Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Digital technologies are changing every aspect of our lives, including oil companies’ approaches to selecting options for field development and operation. Cutting-edge approaches to working with information allow greater efficiency in the use of field data, and allow the best-considered and thought-through decisions to be taken, on that basis. A key component of our Technology Strategy is directed at precisely this — optimising asset development through the application of cutting-edge information technologies.”
John Brantley, Vice President, IBM, added: “Initiatives in technological collaboration allow synergies to be achieved in the application of industrial research. Given Russia’s enormous scientific potential we are delighted to combine forces with Gazprom Neft in developing the latest IT solutions for the oil and gas industry.”
* Implementation of Gazprom Neft’s “Electronic Asset Development (ERA)” project was initiated in 2012; merged into the company’s Technology Strategy in 2014, it now encompasses approximately 30 projects. In establishing the ERA project developers have drawn upon Gazprom Neft’s own in-house IT initiatives throughout subsidiary production enterprises. The examination of the potential and long-term development of digital information systems has allowed growth points in the future development of assets, to be identified, and the most problematic areas brought to light. Estimates suggest implementing the ERA project and optimising algorithms will lead to an increase in oil production, reduce energy consumption by 12 percent, increase the useful life of downhole equipment by 15 percent, and also reduce drilling costs.
Gazprom Neft’s Technology Strategy is a single document covering all of the company’s technological initiatives within the Upstream Division. The use of technology will make a major contribution to achieving the company’s strategic objectives of producing 100 million tonnes of hydrocarbons per year by 2020 and maintaining this volume through 2025. All of the technological challenges currently facing the company have been categorised into nine priority areas, including specific projects with pre-determined time-scales and anticipated outcomes.
Gazprom Neft is developing new software not just in cooperation with partners, but also independently. In particular, in 2014 the company completed testing of a development of its own, the GeoMate information system, allowing the accumulation and analysis of data across all Gazprom Neft fields. The GeoMate system brings together approximately 80 percent of all data available from the analysis of geological and geophysical information — seismic data, maps, the results of well surveys, well-core data, and so on. Access to a single, fully comprehensive IT environment allows direct and immediate access to all data, allowing the construction of field models and the identification and detailing of promising zones and formations. The Gazprom Neft Joint Scientific and Research Centre is currently implementing a project to further extend the functionality of the GeoMate system.
** “Water flooding” is a means of maintaining reservoir pressure by injecting water into strata. A specific arrangement in the location of wells through which water is pumped allows oil to be displaced from strata in the direction of the production well.