* The Zifergauz Digital Transformation Centre is Gazprom Neft’s dedicated technology space, located in the historical “House No. 12” on New Holland Island, St Petersburg. The new centre brings together cross-functional teams working on projects in industrial digital transformation, and offices involved in digital transformation programmes on behalf of the company’s various directorates and divisions. Activities at the Zifergauz are directed at finding solutions for changing traditional business processes and improving their efficiency through cutting-edge technologies. The main projects at the centre include digital field-exploration and development solutions, remote-controlled drilling technologies, industrial automation, logistics robotisation, and more. Technological laboratories are also in operation at the centre, covering artificial intelligence (AI), video analytics, robot and drone control, 3D-printing, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), testing of new services, and the development of industrial gadgets and sensors.
** About 1,100 people are employed at the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre, including four professors, five Higher Doctorate holders, and 82 PhDs. The STC’s key areas of activity are focussed on developing new technologies in oil production and engineering, as well as expertise in hydrocarbon exploration and production projects, analysis and monitoring of oil field development and geological prospecting operations, geological and hydrodynamic modelling, technological support, and operational drilling control. The Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre is the only such centre in Russia to bring together scientific research, the development of oil production technologies, and remote control over high-tech production processes. The STC includes the unique GeoNavigator Drilling Control Centre, through which — using high-tech technologies and equipment — the company is able to manage the drilling of high-tech wells in Russia and abroad remotely, from St Petersburg. Together with Gazprom Neft-Technology Partnerships, the STC is working on commercialising technologies developed by the company.
*** Examples of the company’s work in the “innovation ecosystem” include the Paleozoic and CyberFracking 2.0 simulator projects. The Paleozoic project is directed at developing technologies for finding unconventional hydrocarbon reserves in Western Siberia, including Paleozoic oil —of which oil initially in place (OIIP) is estimated at 26 billion tonnes. The Paleozoic technology project is being implemented by the Gazpromneft-Technology Partnerships’ Industrial Integration Centre together with Mubadala Petroleum as part of the Gazpromneft—Vostok joint venture. Partners on this project include the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, the Tomsk Oblast Administration and Tomsk Polytechnic University. As a result of all parties’ interests being integrated around the coordination centre, Gazprom Neft has been able to make significant headway in investigating Paleozoic oil reserves, the university has gained a new scientific and educational centre, and the Tomsk Oblast has gained new opportunities for developing the regional economy.
A further example of successful cooperation concerns a unique Russian digital tool for working out complex enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations below ground — the CyberFracking 2.0 simulator. The Cyber-Fracking 2.0 simulator has been developed by Gazprom Neft as part of a consortium including the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), Skoltech, St Petersburg Polytechnic University, and the Institute of Hydrodynamics, with the involvement of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. When used in conjunction with the company’s other digital tools this technology can increase effectiveness in oil production at low-permeability reservoirs by up to five percent. The programme has successfully completed comparability testing against international manufacturers’ simulators with similar functionality. Algorithms developed by Gazprom Neft’s Science and Technology Centre have demonstrated better outcomes than currently available alternatives, with tests showing Russian technology to be