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New joint venture to develop “hard-to-recover” oil reserves in the Volga–Urals region established by Gazprom Neft, LUKOIL and Tatneft

Gazprom Neft, LUKOIL and Tatneft have closed a transaction on establishing a joint venture for the exploration and production of hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves in the Orenburg Oblast.

Orenburg Oblast

The new business’s — New Oil Production Technologies LLC’s — asset portfolio includes the Savitsky and Zhuravlevsky license blocks. Each party has been allocated an equal one-third interest in the joint venture.

The partners will be sharing operational and technological competencies in finding the most effective means of developing traditional oil reserves, as well as in developing viable technologies for the commercial production of hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves at two blocks in the Orenburg region.

Covering an area of 900 square kilometres across the Buzulksky and Grachevsky districts of the Orenburg Oblast, the Savitsky license block is marked by a high level of geological uncertainty.

Drilling of the first prospecting and appraisal well is currently coming to an end at the Savitsky block. The full geological prospecting programme at the block includes building six prospecting and appraisal wells, with horizontal completion. The partners will be undertaking a range of geo-physical investigations, including core and fluid sampling and analysis, research and development, and non-seismic field investigations. Eight-hundred and eighty square kilometres of 3D seismic surveying has already been undertaken, in addition to this.

Covering an area of approximately 120 square kilometres, the Zhuravlevsky license block is located in the Buzulksky district of the Orenburg Oblast, and abuts the Savitsky license block. It contains the Zhuravlevskoye field, discovered in 1965 but currently mothballed. According to data in the State Register of Mineral Reserves, reserves in place stand at approximately 2.5 million tonnes of oil: hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves may also be present.

The geological prospecting programme at the Zhuralevsky license block, expected to run from 2020 to 2023, includes 118 square kilometres of 3D seismic, and drilling of a prospecting well in traditional reserves: a further prospecting and appraisal well, with horizontal completion, will be drilled in non-traditional reserves. A pilot development programme for this asset will be put in place once exploration activities are complete, and once reserves have been confirmed.

Pilot development of the Savitsky and Zhuravlevsky blocks is expected to start in 2024.

“We are continuing to develop what is, for us, a key region for our business — the Orenburg Oblast. This new joint venture will be the first such example in Russia of three leading vertically integrated oil companies bringing together their resources and skills to address the complex technological challenges involved in developing hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves. I have every confidence that each of the participants will be able to bring their own unique competencies to this project, meaning these Russian partners will be able to address a challenge of major importance — not just for the joint-venture, in achieving its objectives, but also for the industry, as a whole.”
Vadim Yakovlev
Vadim Yakovlev Deputy Chairman of the Management Board and Deputy CEO for Exploration and Production, Gazprom Neft
Notes for editors

Gazprom Neft PJSC is a vertically integrated oil company, primarily engaged in the exploration and development of oil and gas fields, oil refining, and the production and sale of petroleum products. Gazprom Neft’s corporate structure encompasses more than 70 exploration and production, refining, and retailing enterprises throughout Russia, the CIS and worldwide.

Gazprom Neft is one of the world’s top-10 public companies by proven liquid hydrocarbon reserves, and a global leader in the rapidity of its reserves replacement. Gazprom Neft is one of Russia’s top three companies in terms of oil production and refining. The company’s hydrocarbon production stood at 96.1 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 2019, while refining volumes totalled 41.5 tonnes.

PJSC LUKOIL is one of the largest international vertically integrated oil companies which provides about 2% of global oil production and about 1% of global oil reserves. Its main business activities are exploration and development of oil and gas fields, production and distribution of oil products and petrochemicals, power supply. LUKOIL’s share in Russian oil production and refining is 15%. In 2019, LUKOIL produced 87,5 mln tonnes of oil and 35 bcm of natural gas, refined 68,7 mln tonnes of oil. The company successfully develops hard-to-recovery oil reserves at the Imilor field in Western Siberia, the Usinskoye and Yarega fields in the Komi Republic and other projects. In 2019 alone, advanced technologies allowed LUKOIL to increase production at key fields with highly viscous oil and low permeability reservoirs by 20%.

TATNEFT is one of the largest Russian vertically integrated oil companies, which includes dynamically developing oil and gas production, oil refining, petrochemicals production, a tyre manufacturing complex, a fuel filling station chain, as well as electric generating entities, development and manufacturing of equipment for the oil and gas industry, and a block of service structures.

The Company has considerable technological experience in developing hard-to-recover reserves. TATNEFT is the first Russian owner of a full cycle of technologies from exploration, engineering design and management of the high-viscosity oil fields development to heavy oil treatment and preparation thereof for refining and sale. The Company has patented more than 260 technologies and technical solutions in this area.