Tatneft set to launch R&D Centre in Skolkovo

By Lada Ponomareva, December 26, 2012

Tatneft will set up an R&D center in the Skolkovo technology hub. The agreement was signed in presence of the Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Skolkovo fund president Viktor Vekselberg and Tatneft’s General Director Shafagat Takhautdinov.
The company has already mapped out a rough plan of operations, says Ravil Ibatullin, director of TatNIPIneft R&D Centre, which will initially house the Tatneft R&D team. Tatneft’s research projects will be launched once the team is firmly established in Skolkovo, together with industry professionals from such education centers as Kazan University, Mendeleev’s Russian Chemical Technology University and others. According to Ravil Ibatullin, Tatneft’s research activities are defined by the company’s core values: protection of the environment, researching the production methods for difficult reserves (only in Tatarstan these are estimated at 7 billion tons, largest in Russia) and utilization of crude and its products to their maximum potential.
At the signing ceremony, Tatneft unveiled three projects planned for development in 2013.
First is the microbiological methods of enhanced oil recovery (the company has dipped the toe in this field earlier). Now Tatneft research the challenge together with specialists from the Institute of Microbiology of Russian Academy of Sciences. Such methods will primarily focus on carbonate deposits with heavy oil, which are considered as difficult reserves.
The second project is about using the method of nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the viscosity of heavy oil in the well. This would solve the challenges of measuring the viscosity of heavy (over 10,000 cps) oil directly inside the well and of sampling the crude (currently both are off the limits for the science). As export duties’ concessions are based on the indicators of reservoir oil viscosity, this method will be popular with the companies applying for such benefits. Hopefully the nuclear magnetic resonance method will be ready for the field within three years’ period, noted TatNIPIneft director.
The third project aims to develop methods of cleaning the water produced with the heavy oil. This water cannot be used in steam generation as it contains many impurities: oil residue, sand particles and hydrogen sulfide. The method will be developed jointly with experts of Mendeleev’s Russian University of Chemical Technology.
To date, Tatneft science team holds patents for about 2400 inventions. Using the Skolkovo hub, the company hopes to enter the federal level; it is already puts much effort in IT-technologies and energy efficiency of its facilities. The company also does not rule out application of its products by other oil producers (most of the technologies developed by Tatneft experts are already used extensively in the field by both Russian companies and foreign producers).
General Director of "Tatneft" Shafagat Takhautdinov, speaking at the signing ceremony, said that over the past few years, using enhanced oil recovery methods the company boosted production by almost a third: about 45% of produced crude entails EOR.
Viktor Vekselberg, Skolkovo president, says that agreement with Tatneft is very important for the innovation center: “History of the Russian oil industry is rooted in Tatarstan. The basis