№ 7 (July 2007)
ROSING Conference Sets Emphasis on Oil Recovery
The annual conference on oil and gas recovery and production enhancement held by the Russian Association of Oil and Gas Engineers (ROSING) is very popular among industry experts. The great interest to the event was confirmed by the full house at the Moscow City Hall. Having moved from the picturesque scenery of the Volga river in Samara to the Russian capital located on the other great Russian river, this year’s conference, which was accompanied by traditional motor vessel cruise, was 11th in a row. But, as opposed to previous events it was held as plenary sessions: rapporteurs’ speeches were accompanied by heated discussions.
The Council of Federation of the Russian Federal Assembly, the Fuel and Energy Complex Department at the Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Supreme Engineering Council, the Russian Association of Oil and Gas Producers, Russian Academy of Science (RAS), the RAS Research Council for Geology and Development of Oil and Gas Fields, the Russian Academy of Natural Science, Russian oil and oil service companies – all contributed to organization of the ROSING conference.
“The first conference, which was held 11 years ago enjoyed a hearty welcome by the oil engineering community for there was a slowdown in engineering in 1996,” Vyacheslav Manyrin, the ROSING president, reminded the audience at the opening of the conference. “Five years later, when we saw a positive trend, we felt an urgent need to establish an association of oil and gas engineers using foreign associations as an example. Generally speaking, such an organization should have been established 70 years ago, so we did everything possible to match the standards of a developed engineering society in the last five-six years”. According to Vyacheslav Manyrin, ROSING today has about 20,000 members (cf. SPE is 50 years old and has 73,000 members world-wide. Its fastest growing region is Russia. – editor).
As to the subject of the discussion, Manyrin said: “This subject, which seems narrow at the first sight, covers the most important facet of production industry development in the oil and gas sphere. It is difficult to suggest any further success in our development without improving the oil and gas recovery since the reserves structure is still depleting, with production almost twice exceeding the reserves growth.” During the discussion, experts, employees of producing companies and research institutes strived to find a solution to the problem, which is being tackled for many years by top brains of the oil and gas industry, namely “How to improve the recovery rate?”
According to the Council of Federation of the RF Federal Assembly, the increase of recovery rate in Russia from today’s 0.28 to 0.5 that the country had in the past, and 0.55 achieved by foreign companies, means doubling the recoverable reserves without additional exploration work and expenses for construction of new oil and gas fields with pipelines.
Academician Anatoly Dmitrievsky pointed out that improving the oil and gas recovery by only 1 percent would be equal to discovery of a giant field such as Samotlorskoye. The prominent scholar said that high stimulation parameters depend on the capability to preserve energy characteristics of a field.
Dmitrievsky is rather wary of the popular hydraulic fracturing method finding it unacceptable for reservoirs with good characteristics. At the same time, the scholar admits that application of the hydraulic fracturing method to recover gas from thick reservoirs in the US was a leap forward in the field of gas recovery. Nikolay Lisovskiy, the head of the Central Development Commission at the Federal Agency on Subsoil Usage, advocated the method, which had always caused heated discussions. In reply to one of the speakers stating that the hydraulic fracturing method was not widely used in the US, he objected saying that the USA accounted for nearly half of 40,000 hydraulic fracturing operations carried out worldwide, with 5,000 falling on Russia. According to Lisovskiy, the statement that hydraulic fracturing damages subsoil is contrary to the facts, reasoning that one hydraulic fracturing operation costs about $100,000-200,000 and in some cases even surpasses $700,000, which urges engineers to carefully select the place and the procedure. “If the Priobskoye field was developed by traditional methods, the recovery rate would only reach 0.109, but application of the hydraulic fracturing method made it possible to project 0.367 and increase recovered reserves by 628 million tons,” stated Lisovsky as an example of efficient use of the hydraulic fracturing method. He also said that the Central Development Commission numbers 80 members with half of them having the Doctor of Science and Candidate of Science degrees, which proves the solid scientific background of application of this method.
“In the next five years the company plans to produce about 20 million tons of oil using a number of hydraulic fracturing methods”, said Mars Khasanov, head of research at Rosneft, confirming readiness of the leading Russian oil and gas company to use the controversial technology. At the same time, Mars Khasanov believes that the large variety of assets owned by the company today should be matched by a large variety of applied state-of-the-art technologies.
Among examples of efficient introduction of modern technologies by Rosneft is the construction of high-tech wells comprising both construction of horizontal wells and ERD wells, as well as different methods of well completion and monitoring of during operations (the so called “intelligent wells”). According to the company’s estimates, the synergy of these technologies accounts for more than 2 million tons of oil annually.
“A wise technological approach to hydraulic fracturing with its simultaneous application on the operating and injection well stock made it possible to reach high debit increments in 2005 (50 tons/day) and maintain the positive trend in 2006 with 24.5 tons/day,” reported Yuri Ikonnikov, head of production department at LUKOIL. However, one of the major tasks for the company is the improvement of hydraulic fracturing technologies and reduction of those with a low profitability. LUKOIL widely uses ratholing, which has increased almost threefold over the last three years. The bulk of production gain here is due to application of physical methods, with the hydraulic fracturing accounting for 82.9 percent of all applied methods, and branching – 13 percent.
Mariann Zakopchan, a senior field geologist at Moravske Naftove Doly, a company from the Czech Republic was at the ROSING conference for the first time. He told the participants about the development strategy used for Dambořice field providing for reservoir pressure maintenance by injection of gas alongside with expansion of production well stock through the use of horizontal wells.
To develop natural bitumen deposits in Tatarstan, VNIIneft (Bugulma) – a regional research and technology center, came up with a number of development schemes outlined by Zumara Yangurazova, deputy director of the Ural-Volga research and technology center (Bugulma).
Experts from the Atombiotech Research and Technology Company presented gas well blocking and killing technologies with the use of polymeric materials, in particular the “Temposcreen” agent, the effectiveness of which was confirmed by its application in Urengoigazprom.
The “Lateral” technology presented by Permneftegeophyzika was designed to ensure control over well stimulation operations in horizontal wells. A so-called “wet input” electric connection device is a core element of the Lateral-2005 complex.