Gazprom Neft Started Full-Scale Explorations of the Pre-Jurassic Horizon to Discover Petroleum Reservoirs

Gazprom Neft has started exploring the Paleozoic petroliferous rocks in the Tomsk region. Up till recently, the Pre-Jurassic formations were not considered as a separate exploration target because of their complicated structure which required adaptation of conventional exploration methods to be looked at. The goal of the project is to choose, for the first time in Russia, the optimal approaches to studying petroleum potential of the Paleozoic rocks, which will allow increasing the exploration efficiency and reducing exploration costs. These efforts are expected to give an increment of about 1 billion tons of petroleum initially-in-place (PIIP)* or 25 million tons of recoverable reserves in the Tomsk region alone.

On its fields in the Tomsk region, Gazpromneft-Vostok is making studies of the geological structure and formation conditions of the Pre-Jurassic petroliferous complex that was formed in the Paleozoic era**. The project aims at creating a technology to identify and delineate petroleum prospects by summarizing and merging all the information available that was obtained by applying various theoretical and experimental approaches reasonably modified to match the Pre-Jurassic geology. Because of its complex structure and the existence of the more readily available reserves of the Jurassic and Cretaceous reservoirs, the Paleozoic formations have not been studied well enough, and some fundamental research will help reveal new regularities.

Within the borders of the Tomsk region, several petroliferous areas were reviewed, out of which three most characteristic zones were selected based on the combination of geologic and reservoir engineering considerations. To explore these zones, six exploratory wells will be drilled there in 2017-2019. Engineers of the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Center will define a set of technologies that are most suitable for explorations of the Pre-Jurassic rocks. The exploration program in the first of the wells has already been started.

“The Paleozoic rocks have never been considered a target for geological prospecting. Commercial reservoirs in these rocks were discovered mainly by chance, when some other petroleum horizons were being explored. Realizing the need for an integrated approach, we have prepared an exploration program, invited the scientific community of the Tomsk region to participate, and already completed drilling of the first exploratory well”, – the Gazprom Neft Bazhen Project Executive Director Kirill Strizhnev said.

In cooperation with the Tomsk Polytechnic University, Gazprom Neft submitted to the Russian Federation Ministry of Education and Science an application for obtaining government funding of the research activities under the technology project that is being implemented in the framework of the Research and Development Projects in Priority Areas in Russia for 2014-2020 federal target-oriented program. Gazprom Neft acts as an industrial partner for the leading scientific institutions, performing the tasks of formulating topical problems and identifying areas for scientific research and taking part in financing these projects. These days the Gazprom Neft experts are studying the Paleozoic rocks in cooperation with the Competence Center established under the Tomsk Polytechnic University. It is expected that in the future these research efforts will attract other institutions and universities (Toms State University, Geoprime, etc.) as well. According to experts’ preliminary estimations, development of a technology for prospecting and exploration of petroleum reservoirs in the Pre-Jurassic complex may take about three years, and continued application of this technology will allow increasing by several times probability of success of exploration drilling and in the future achieving a PIIP increment of more than 1 billion tons in the Tomsk region alone.


* Recoverable reserves are part of petroleum initially-in-place that are economically viable for recovery as of the date of the estimate under the competitive market conditions with an application of modern production equipment and technology that meet subsoil and environmental protection requirements. Petroleum initially-in-place (PIIP) is that quantity of petroleum (crude oil, combustible gases and their side components) which is estimated to exist originally in naturally occurring accumulations discovered by exploratory drilling.

** The Paleozoic era began about 540 million years ago and lasted for 290 million years. In the Paleozoic era, many of the largest coal deposits and petroleum accumulations were formed.

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