Gazprom Neft R&D; Center to Set Up Assembly Line for Innovations Implementation

By Elena Zhuk, November 28, 2012

Information on the day-to-day operations of the research centers of major Russian oil companies rarely appears on the pages of industry journals. OGE tried to redress the balance. Mars Magnavievich Khasanov, General Director of Gazpromneft NTC, gave his first interview since taking office in December 2011.

Oil and Gas Eurasia: Mars Magnavievich, please, tell us what is the purpose of the R&D Center?

Mars Khasanov: The task of Gazpromneft NTC (Gazprom Neft R&D Center) lies in scientific and technical support for such business processes as exploration, upstream, field development, drilling, equipment selection; ensuring full utilization of the wells’ potential during their operation, development and selection of the latest new-generation technologies that increase the oil recovery factor. Another goal is to control the efficiency and to optimize operating and capital costs. For new technologies, the R&D Center is often both the tool and the design office for the creation of an “assembly line” with regard to technology implementation, assessment, ranking of technology-related challenges, and controlled introduction of technologies into production via projects.

OGE: How old is the Center?

Khasanov: Gazpromneft NTC celebrates its 5-year anniversary this November. The center is actually a successor to Gazprom Neft’s R&D Department. At the time of founding, the R&D Center was organized along three strategic directions: geology and exploration, upstream design and monitoring, and engineering and technological project support. It started operating in Moscow in the corporate headquarters of Gazprom Neft, but in the spring of 2008, the head office of Gazpromneft NTC moved to St. Petersburg. The Center also has separate departments in Moscow, Tyumen and Noyabrsk.

OGE: What new technologies has the Center developed for maturing fields in Russia?

Khasanov: To boost the efficiency for current assets, increase the oil recovery factor and reduce the cost of oil production, we introduced the ERA Programme (“Electronic Research of Assets”), a set of computer technologies for controlling the upstream production process. Between 2013–2015, several technologies will be implemented within this programme, such as the smart selection of segments and wells for geological and technical actions, selection of filtration flow technology, as well as increasing the production capacity of the wells. This will reduce the rate of production decline, and simultaneously boost the efficiency of geological and technical measures by 20 percent, thus ensuring up to 6 million tons per year of extra oil by 2020.

Our current assets include less productive zones with very low permeability; these currently stay idle because of the very low profitability. At such zones we drill, for example, multi-stage horizontal wells (with five to seven  fractures per 700-1,000-meter horizontal well). This is the most effective method for developing unproductive, low-permeability and low-yield reservoirs. The volume of horizontal, branched, multicore, multi-directional wells is on the rise in the company. Sometimes the wells have to be drilled with fine precision, horizontally up to three meters wide. To ensure such high-precision drilling, we established the Geosteering Center. With remote online access, rotary systems and geosteering, our specialists use the field model to control