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Gazprom Neft to develop hard-to-recover oil production technologies in conjunction with the Russian government and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra

The “Technologies for the Development of Hard-to-Recover Hydrocarbons” federal project expands Gazprom Neft’s work on creating tools for developing unconventional hydrocarbons. Gazprom Neft has been working with the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation on creating technologies for developing Bazhenov Formation reserves since 2017. During that time the company has, through deploying its own solutions, almost halved the cost of producing Bazhenov oil — from ₽30,000 per tonne at the start of the project in 2017 to ₽13,000 per tonne by 2021.

The “Technologies for the Development of Hard-to-Recover Hydrocarbons” programme is due to form part of the “Developing the Oil and Gas Industry” initiative under the government’s “Energy Development” programme.

The project is designed to promote the development of Russia’s oil and gas industry, develop a market for high-tech oil and gas services, and promote the establishment and localisation of new production facilities — including facilities for manufacturing fracking equipment, for mobile surface facilities and well drilling, and for new kinds of reagents and surfactant materials for enhancing oil recovery. This work will involve industrial as well as oil and gas companies, together with scientific and educational establishments throughout Russia.

Participants involved in implementing the project include specialists from Gazprom Neft, the Administration of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, together with Russian subsoil agency Rosnedra and representatives from partnering technology companies.

The Bazhenov Formation is Russia’s main source of unconventional resources, containing most of Russia’s shale oil. Bazhenov deposits are spread throughout the Western Siberian oil and gas province, covering an area of more than one million square kilometres. A conservative forecast suggests recoverable reserves here could increase to 760 million tonnes by 2025.

Pre-Jurassic (Paleozoic) deposits date back to the formation of the earth’s crust about 540 million years ago. Pre-Jurassic deposits are marked by their universal oil-bearing capacity, complex geology and very deep occurrence (2.5 to 5.5 kilometres). The main challenge in working with Paleozoic deposits is the lack of prospecting technology. Experts estimate Paleozoic oil reserves in Western Siberia at more than 20 billion tonnes — matching total current recoverable reserves in Russia as a whole.

Chemical enhanced oil recovery (CEOR) refers to technologies that increase the oil recovery factor (ORF, a metric indicating what proportion of total reserves are produced from strata) through the use of various kinds of chemical flooding. About 80% of fields in Western Siberia are marked by a high water cut.