Development of unconventional hydrocarbon reserves, to include the Bazhen suite reserves, is one of the focal points of Gazprom Neft’s Technology Strategy. Science and Technology Center coordinates studies of the Bazhen and other unconventional hydrocarbon reserves and supervises the planning of pilot projects, using advanced technologies for drilling and development of such deposits.
Development of the Bazhen reserves is the paramount strategic objective for the country. According to different estimates, the Bazhen’s resource potential stands at some 760 mln tons of recoverable hydrocarbons. Still, there are no cost-effective projects at this time to develop these resources, and producers are only trying to pick the best technologies to start development of the Bazhen deposits.
In September 2017, Gazprom Neft and the Government of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District (Yugra) signed an agreement to set up Bazhen Technology Center in the region. This industry forum will unite the efforts of oil and gas producers and oilfield service companies, the academia, investors and the state; it will become home for cutting-edge competencies and technologies that are required to develop cost-effective techniques for the Bazhen development. Russian Ministry of Energy declared this a national project.
Technological Competence Center is one of STC’s units that designs, tests and evaluates new Bazhen exploration technologies as part of the “Development of unconventional reserves” domain of Gazprom Neft's Technology Strategy. The Center is involved with integrated engineering of Upstream projects associated with unconventional resources, to include scientific and technological development of key areas of concern.
The Bazhen project is building an innovation environment to address knowledge-intensive challenges. Back in 2014, Gazprom Neft became the only industrial partner to the consortium of research institutions that were running the most ambitious Bazhen study project in history.
In order to support experimental studies of hydraulic fracturing at a technology test range in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District, STC and MIPT Center for Engineering and Technology have established the Hydraulic Fracturing R&D Support Center in St. Petersburg to identify the optimal fracturing scenarios for the Bazhen development. The new center has given jobs to geologists, rock mechanics and engineers. The unit plans to support dozens of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing jobs in high-tech horizontal wells to be drilled as part of Gazprom Neft's Bazhen development projects. The Center’s specialists provide expert support in the selection of well types and help determine the optimal fracturing parameters (injection rate, fracture placement points and geometry, etc.) with due regard to geological features of the Bazhen.
Apart from working with “shale” resources, the Company is involved in a major project of developing the pre-Jurassic resource potential in West Siberia. Tyumen Region, where most of the Company’s pre-Jurassic reserves developed by Gazpromneft-Vostok are located, was chosen to be the testing ground for exploration technologies development.
Pre-Jurassic sedimentary complex in West Siberia is a poorly explored area that promises substantial hydrocarbon production levels. To enable geological exploration of the pre-Jurassic, STC developed technologies for prospecting of promising subsurface features by engaging and consolidating all the information acquired with the help of theoretical and experimental approaches, and such technologies were later customized to the unique geology of the region. Due to its complex geology and presence of easier to reach subsurface features of the Jurassic and the Cretaceous, the Paleozoic sequence remains understudied, and its fundamental research will help identify new patterns. To make this happen,STC specialists are working to identify the technologies best suited for geological exploration of the pre-Jurassic complex.