Gazprom Neft has begun commercial hydrocarbon production at the Tazovskoye field in the north of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. This is the first oil and gas field in Russia for which infrastructure has been put in place under the severe constrains of the COVID-19 pandemic. The field will become the centre of Gazprom Neft’s new production cluster, at which oil initially in place (OIIP) is estimated at 1.1 billion tonnes of oil.
The launch ceremony for the Tazovskoye field took place on 16 June 2021,* through a teleconference connecting the oil field with the company’s Zifergauz Digital Transformation Centre in St Petersburg. The instruction to start production was given by Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and Alexander Dyukov, CEO, Gazprom Neft. The event at the Tazovskoye field was attended by Alexey Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic, and Dmitry Artyukhov, Governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Gazprom Neft has commissioned an entire field-infrastructure complex at the field, commencing with development from the Tazovskoye-field oil-rim deposit, one of the most challenging assets in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Reserves initially in place are estimated at 419 million tonnes of oil and 225 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas. Production infrastructure at the field includes oil and gas wells, a gas turbine power plant, oil and gas treatment facilities, oil and gas pipelines, a crude oil delivery and acceptance point (CODAP), and an employee housing complex. Annual production is expected to reach 1.7 million tonnes of oil and 8 bcm of gas.
In-field infrastructure construction has been conducted under the severe constraints arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,*** complicating the delivery of supplies as well as access-clearance for contractors and shift workers. Gazprom Neft’s anti-COVID barrier system, together with effective project management, has allowed it to overcome these challenges, however, and speed-up commissioning of the facility. Digital tools — including BIM modelling, and a “digital twin” of the field — were used in designing and building field facilities. Works oversight and approval was managed remotely using drones, together with airborne-laser scanning. Using a modular-block approach has reduced capital-construction volumes and halved lead-times in building field infrastructure.
The Tazovskoye oil and gas condensate field (OGCF) forms part of Gazprom Neft’s promising production cluster in the Nadym-Pur-Taz region in the north of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.**** This project also includes the Meretoyakhinskoye and Severo-Samburgskoye fields, and two Zapadno-Yubileiny license blocks. Reserves initially in place across all of these assets — which include traditional reserves as well as hard-to-recover Achimovsky-strata reserves — stand at around 1.1 billion tonnes of oil and 492 bcm of gas.***** Geological prospecting is currently ongoing at these blocks, following which Gazprom Neft will formulate a development strategy for this cluster. Gazprom Neft subsidiary Meretoyakhaneftegaz will be the Operator on this new asset.
“The Tazovskoye field is the first oil and gas field in Russia to go into operation following the peak of the pandemic. This has been made possible thanks to the effective barrier system we have put in place to combat COVID-19 and, also — digital technologies. These have made it possible to carry out and monitor many operations remotely, including using drones. The Tazovskoye field was one of the first to discovered in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, back in the 1960s. But starting full-scale development was impossible without today’s innovative approaches and solutions. Commissioning the Tazovskoye field symbolises our turning a new page in the history of oil and gas production in the Polar region. This major project — in which we are investing more than ₽150 billion to 2030 — will be the core of Gazprom Neft’s new production centre in the Arctic, with potential reserves of more than one billion tonnes of oil.”Alexander Dyukov CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft
“Today marks a genuinely significant event for the country’s oil and gas industry: the commissioning of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug’s Tazovskoye field. This is a unique field in terms of its geological features, and one of the largest in Western Siberia. The Gazprom Neft team have done an enormous amount of work to ensure that the technologies for developing such a challenging Arctic field have been identified, and applied. This challenge has been solved by using cutting-edge digital technologies together with solutions in artificial intelligence, Big Data, and robotization. There are plans to develop a major production cluster in this region, going forward. This will give further impetus to developing the oil and gas industry, as a whole; to the economy of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug; and to addressing social and economic problems.”Alexander Novak Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
* At the time it was discovered, in 1962, the Tazovskoye oil and gas condensate field’s gas reserves exceeded all of Western Siberia’s fields then under development.
The Tazovskoye oil and gas condensate field’s reserves occur in an “oil rim” — a thick layer of oil between a “gas cap” and a water horizon. The field is marked by low reservoir temperatures, a high gas factor, and a predominance of high-viscosity oil. Drilling is undertaken in an ultra-thin stratum (of about eight metres in height) demanding high-tech downhole equipment as well as pinpoint accuracy. Multi-branched (“multi-hole”) and multilateral wells, with a horizontal section of more than 2,000 metres (including “fishbone” wells) are being used in developing Tazovsky deposits.** The wells at the Tazovsky OGCF are similar to offshore wells in terms of their uniqueness and complexity, and are among the most challenging in international practice.
** “Fishbone” well construction refers to a multilateral well running at a specific trajectory, with multiple offshoots running from the horizontal shaft — giving the well a “fishbone” shape. This construction significantly increases coverage of oil-saturated reservoirs.
*** Infrastructure construction at the Tazovskoye field has been undertaken by Gazpromneft-Razvitiye, Gazprom Neft’s major-projects operator.
**** Gazprom Neft’s oil and gas production cluster in the Nadym-Pur-Tazovsky region includes the Tazovskoye, Meretoyakhinskoye and Severo-Samburgskoye fields, and two Zapadno-Yubileiny license blocks.
The Meretoyakhinskoye field is in early production. Major geological prospecting works have been undertaken, on which basis the geological model of this asset will be updated, and a development and infrastructure-solutions programme put in place.
Oil initially in place at the Severo-Samburgskoye field is estimated at 460 million tonnes. Exploration wells at the field have been re-tested, high-quality 3D-seismic undertaken, and two horizontal wells (involving multi-stage fracking) drilled. Planned further geological prospecting investigations are now being updated in line with information gathered, as is the asset’s development strategy.
The Zapadno-Yubileiny blocks form part of the Nerutinskaya exploratory zone in the Nadymsky district of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Gazprom Neft is undertaking extended geological and geophysical downhole surveys. Geological prospecting works are expected to be complete by 2023, on which basis the business case for this project will be updated.
***** The Achimov Formation refers to strata located in the lower part of Cretaceous sediments. Achimovsky reservoirs occur throughout practically the entire West-Siberian Basin, over an area covering more than 900,000 square kilometres. The thickest formations have been identified in the Nadymsky and Purovsky districts of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Achimovsky strata have a complex geological structure, requiring the use of sophisticated technologies in development. Specialists estimate total reserves at the Achimov Formation to be in the order of 60 billion tonnes of oil.