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New digital exploration planning system deployed at Gazprom Neft

New software to increase efficiency in geological prospecting has been developed by Gazprom Neft’s Science and Technology Centre. This algorithm means lead times can be optimised (by several days to up to one month) in choosing engineering strategies for field development, and analysis of non-seismic data speeded-up two-fold. The potential benefit of deploying this development throughout Gazprom Neft assets could amount to several billion rubles over the next seven years.

This new system has been developed by Gazprom Neft in partnership with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) Engineering Centre. It makes it possible to make optimum and timely selections in choosing non-seismic geological prospecting technologies — including electro-magnetic prospecting, gravitational prospecting, geomagnetic prospecting, aerial and geochemical prospecting — for any kind of field, in terms of their impacts and costs, and analyse the economic outcomes of these.

Along with classical seismic exploration, finding oil and gas deposits and clarifying their characteristics is helped by aerial surveying, investigations into electric, magnetic and gravitational fields, and registering ground-surface molecular traces of hydrocarbons. The effectiveness of each of these methodologies varies in line with differing types of deposits. In order to obtain full information for field development, these all need to be combined. Traditionally, selecting a range of appropriate methodologies has depended on expert evaluation, and typically proves a labour-intensive operation.

This digital tool works with a conceptual model of the area for which the research programme is being developed, using knowledge — accumulated both within the company, and worldwide — regarding the applicability of various prospecting technologies, under various geological conditions. The programme generates a list of recommended methodologies and produces accurate, high-quality data on the likelihood of geological features being detected under various kinds of investigations. The system calculates the economic value of the geological information generated through each methodology — thanks to which, specialists then have the opportunity to plan all kinds of non-seismic investigations, taking their economic viability into account. The programme also offers a unique function in data interpretation: it allows datasets on various investigations to be combined and generalised into a single cohesive concept, allowing appropriate physical models, for geologists and developers, to be built.

The Science and Technology Centre has already tested this digital system across more than 10 assets: testing remains ongoing. The programme will be rolled out to Gazprom Neft subsidiaries by the end of 2020. It is expected to be commercialised for sale internationally, in the future.

“Gazprom Neft’s engineers work with large masses of data at every stage of field development, trying to extract maximum value from these. The quality and speed of analysing this information impacts all business processes, directly. Together with our research partners, we have created a digital tool that helps us determine the optimum prospecting scenario in order to get the maximum return on investment. We will finish testing the product this year, and will be investigating the possibility of it being launched on the international market.”
Alexei Vashkevich
Alexei Vashkevich Director for Technological Development, Gazprom Neft