Russian Drilling Programs Poised to Best 2012 Highs

By Lada Ponomareva, March 5, 2013

Russian drilling plans are expanding vigorously compared to last year. According to the results of OGE's 2013 analytical review, we can expect to see strong oil production growth, an increase in drilling acreage, a greater overall number of wells drilled, and strong financial results from the major industry players this year (see "Gaining Positive Momentum" in the  February issue of  «OGE»).

By the end of 2013, Gazprom Bureniye expects to increase drilling by approximately 13 percent to over 600,000 meters, compared to 530,000 total meters drilled in 2012. Other companies are also expected to continue to increase drilling rates: last year alone Eurasia Drilling Company increased drilling by 26.6 percent to 6.051 meters, while RU-Energy Group increased drilling by 22 percent to 1.438 million meters.

Russia's vigorous drilling programs mirror what is happening world-wide. But there are some differences to consider. The Baker Hughes rig count estimates the average number of drilling rigs in operation around the world in 2012 was 3,519 – the highest in over 27 years (1985 was the peak year for drilling rigs, reaching 3,566, while in subsequent years average drilling rigs in operation varied between 2,000-3,000 annually) (see Table 1 and Fig.1).

 Table 1 . Worldwide Rig Count 2012 

2012

Latin America / Латинская Америка

Europe / Европа

Africa / Африка

Middle East / Ближний Восток

Asia Pacific / АТР

Canada / Канада

U.S. / США

Total World /
В мире

January / Январь

420

108

78

311

254

577

2 003

3 751

February / Февраль

439

120

81

311

253

706

1 990

3 900

March / Март

438

109

89

312

244

492

1 979

3 663

April / Апрель

423

118

80

312

245

158

1 962

3 298

May / Май

457

118

83

318

249

133

1 977

3 335

June / Июнь

435

115

106

400

229

227

1 972

3 484

July / Июль

415

110

105

401

233

307

1 945

3 516

August / Август

417

118

111

388

227

316

1 913

3 490

September / Сентябрь

411

124

108

381

230

355

1 859

3 468

October / Октябрь

412

124

104

377

242

365

1 834

3 458

November / Ноябрь

3 98

127

102

394

246

385

1 809

3 461

December / Декабрь

414

136

102

363

238

353

1 784

3 390

Average /
В среднем

423

119

96

356

241

365

1 919

3 518

 But because of the difficulty of obtaining accurate, verifiable information on rig activity in Russia and in China, these global numbers are skewed towards the Americas where shale drilling is driving drilling and elsewhere in the world where western service companies dominate the market.

Favorable Effect
In Russia, over the last few years, private and state-owned oil companies have constantly discussed issues regarding the development of new technology to explore more advanced geologic formations and enhance oil and gas output at brown fields.

Companies are increasing the number of horizontal drilling