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Home / Issue Archive / 2011 / July - August #7 / Sibneftegeofizika: Make Oil Exploration Easier

№ 7 (July - August 2011)

Sibneftegeofizika: Make Oil Exploration Easier

   Sibneftegeofizika Company celebrates 40th anniversary. Sibneftegeofizika general director Stanislav Losev tells a story of company success.

By This article was supplied courtesy of Sibneftegeofizika

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   Stanislav Yuryevich, tell us please about the main lines of your company’s activities.
   Stanislav Losev: Sibneftegeofizika was founded on 3 September 1971 as a subdivision within the USSR Oil Ministry. The company’s current organizational and legal form is an open joint-stock society. The company was established to pursue scientific and production-oriented goals in the field of seismic survey. However, the logic of subsequent events had taken a course that made it imperative for the company to shift its activities completely toward the production-oriented operations. We have seen several generations of experts come and go since those early days. Still, the original elements of our former scientific orientation have remained both in our approach to what we do and in our selection of the personnel to do it. The greater part of Sibneftegeofizika’s computer software and development products currently applied in our work are the result of many years of our earlier research activities.
Today, Sibneftegeofizika performs a full range of seismic survey operations, including field acquisitions in 2D and 3D modifications, seismic data processing and all-inclusive interpretation of geological and geophysical data prior to their conversion into three-dimensional geological models. Enlisting the services of a specialist unit with the Siberian Experimental and Methodological Geophysical Drill-hole Survey Company (SOMGEIS), we perform drill-hole geophysical investigations and VSP seismic profiling. Field seismic exploration work is the company’s main field of activity earning it close to 90 percent of its income.

   What up-to-date equipment and facilities do you have?
   Losev: To perform seismic exploration work in the field, the company operates 11 seismic prospecting crews equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including 20 recording systems (mostly latest Sercel 408/428 models), over a hundred different drilling rigs, some thirty vibration units, and 40 Yenisei-type electromagnetic impulse-generating seismic vibrators. Topographic survey crews are equipped with advanced global-positioning navigational systems. The geophysical teams with our field units are equipped with state-of-the-art computers and software support programs which are for the most part developed by Sibneftegeofizika’s own experts and built into our integrated system of fieldwork planning, control and supervision. Over the last decade, our organization has recorded more than 70,000 linear kilometers of 2D seismic profiles and performed over 9,000 square kilometers of 3D seismic surveys.
What is characteristic of Sibneftegeofizika’s work in the field of processing and interpretation of seismic data is:
The use of software tools developed by world market leaders;
Development of custom-tailored solutions for each site being explored; and
A high degree of individual skills of our experts.
For the processing of seismic material, our company possesses unique methodologies and techniques for the solution of tasks concerning such areas as near-surface effects compensation; the migration mapping of seismographic records; suppression of all sorts of interferences; and analysis of field seismic acquisition data. The final outcome of all-inclusive interpretation of seismic acquisition data is the construction of a digital three-dimensional geological model of the geological body surveyed, with that outcome being presented in the form of lithological sections (cubes), porosity stratification factors, permeability coefficients or hydrocarbon saturation factors. To perform those tasks, it is necessary to solve the traditional problems of seismic survey, viz. to determine the occurrence depth of the reflecting horizons being the survey targets, perform a quantitative interpretation of the geographic information system’s results, and perform an inverse modeling of seismic data in order to make a prediction of the desired quantities. Our company has a perfect command of all of the above techniques and methods.   

   What is the geography of the company’s activities today? Who are the company’s customers?
   Losev: The geography of the Sibneftegeofizika activities today is fairly broad, stretching as it does from the north-end of Yamal Peninsula in the north to the southern regions of Uzbekistan in the south and from Mangyshlak Peninsula in the west to Yakutia in the east. Seismic work has been performed in Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The various regions of Eastern and Western Siberia constitute the main areas where the company is conducting its operations today. Currently, we have contracts signed to perform seismic survey work in Yamal-Nenets District, Khanty-Mansiysk District, Tomsk Region, and Yakutia.  
Among our principal customers are the following oil and gas companies: Tomskneft VNK, Gazprom Dobycha Noyabrsk, Gazpromneft Shelf, Gazpromneft NNG, Novatek, Sibneftegaz, Surgutneftegaz, Kumskaya Neft, Matyushkinskaya Vertikal,  Slavneft-Megionneftegaz,  Tomskgazprom,  Gazpromneft Vostok, Slavneft-Krasnoyarskneftegaz, STS-Servis, Petrogrand, Kolvaneft, Novosibirskneftegaz, Terneftegaz, Rosneft-Kazahstan, Tuimaada Neft, TNK Uvat, Samotlorneftegaz, TNK-Nizhnevartovsk, Vostokgazprom and others.
Also, Sibneftegeofizika has performed government contracts for the conduct of regional geophysical operations. We have already performed work under contracts with the Subsoil Use Department for Khanty-Mansiysk District, the Subsoil Use Department for Yamal-Nenets District and the Subsoil Use Department for Siberian Federal District. In the forthcoming surveying season we shall perform work under a contract with the Subsoil Use Department for the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

   How would you describe your company’s special characteristics and particular style?
   Losev: The company’s own style consists in the high-quality performance of work at all stages of the operation, viz. field acquisition and data processing and interpretation. In the conduct of acquisition work in the field, it is in the following way that we do it in our organization to obtain high-quality initial data:
The use of the latest in data acquisition equipment;
Custom-tailored and high-level analytical approaches to the selection of conditions governing data acquisition and seismic response stimulation;
The conduct of test surveys during the whole of the surveying season;
The use of our own software tools, methods and techniques; and
The use of special methods of production engineering.

   To raise the level of objectivity of operational control surveillance of the seismic material quality, Sibneftegeofizika has instituted its own service of internal controls performed by geophysicists seconded to the seismic prospecting crews operating in the field during the acquisition period. The prime objective of the geophysicist attached to a field prospecting crew is to perform quality monitoring of the acquired material and take steps to assure improvements in that quality. Significantly, the geophysicist concerned does not report to the management of the crew. It is this kind of organizational set-up that has helped promote our high quality of seismic data acquisition. Strict adherence to that particular course has, on occasions, led to the extension of operational time-limits or failure to meet the deadlines established for the execution of an order as a whole. Nevertheless, the prevailing feeling in our company is that on-time performance of a work scope, to the detriment of its quality, is simply not acceptable.

   How do you view your company’s prospects?
   Losev: Trivial as it may sound, our company is pinning its hopes on the expected rise in oil prices. The higher the price index the more money is invested by oil and gas companies into new programs to further specify the geological structure of mineral deposit fields and to search for and explore the newer ones and, consequently, the greater the demand for our own services. The 2008 financial crisis has dropped, by a third, our work scopes, financial well-being and profits. The oil prices have now risen to their pre-crisis levels. Yet, no visible stirring of the oil and gas companies’ activities is anywhere to be seen, however, even though there are some observed signs of a certain revival of the market. Companies are not eager right now to seek out new license areas, something that can be seen from numerous subsoil-use tenders that have failed merely because of the absence of bidders. As a consequence of that, only a small number of orders are placed for seismic survey work. This, however, is only a result of certain inertia and of planning approaches that are based solely on the earlier volumes. My own prediction is that, if not the forthcoming field season, then the next one after that to be rich in profitable orders and deals. What makes that optimistic forecast possible is the Russian Government’s declared intention to double the size of budget appropriations allocated to geological exploration activities.

   On Sibneftegeofizika 40th anniversary, it is with considerable optimism and confidence that we are looking into the future.

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