Development of non-conventional reserves

As a result of natural depletion of conventional oil reserves, development of hard-to-recover and non-conventional reserves became one of the prioritized focus areas of Gazprom Neft’s strategy.

In Russia, non-conventional reserves include deposits of the Bazhen suite. This is a horizon identified in the central part of Western Siberia at the depth of 2-3 km. Bazhenov suite covers some 1 mln square kilometers and has an average thickness of around 40 meters. Optimistic geological estimates show that oil resources of Bazhen formations may sum up to  100-170 bln tons only in Western Siberia. Bazhen suite is built from solid clay material that is considered oil source rock. A unique feature of Bazhen suite that makes it commercially valuable is its saturation with high quality light and sweet oil, which means it is easy to refine.

Development of non-conventional reserves is one of the key focuses of Gazprom Neft’s Technological Strategy. Gazpromneft STC coordinates the studies of Bazhen suite and planning of pilot projects with the use of advanced well construction and reservoir management technologies.

Development of non-conventional reserves

Gazprom Neft is currently working on two major projects to study the Bazhen suite, first one is on the Palyanovskaya area of Krasnoleninskoye field and the second one - in the Yuzhno-Priobskoye field (both located in Khanty-Mansi AD). Several directional wells have been drilled with subsequent hydraulic fracturing and generation of oil influx for development of non-conventional reserves on these assets. In early 2016, Gazprom Neft started its first Bazhen suite study project in Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.

The unique nature of Bazhen suite requires a fundamental change in the approaches to field development, as well as buildup of a fundamentally new technological portfolio. As part of the focus area, STC is developing a technology to forecast potential hydrocarbon saturation of Bazhen deposits. it will help identify the most perspective areas of non-conventional reserves among those available. STC experts works on new hydraulic fracturing technologies, since conventional fracturing methods have not demonstrated the desired level of efficiency in the Bazhen formations. Another major project is “Development of technology for hydrocarbons generation from the Bazhen suite”. Under this project, STC is looking for technologies to speed up generation of hydrocarbons in non-conventional reservoirs.