Gazprom Neft develops enhanced oil recovery technologies at the Bazhenov Formation

Gazprom Neft develops enhanced oil recovery technologies at the Bazhenov Formation

Gazprom Neft has successfully tested an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique at the Bazhenov Formation, using a xanthan-gum-based fracking fluid. Using this new technology has facilitated a 66-percent increase in hydrocarbon production at those wells on which it was tested.

Specialists at the Bazhen Technology Centre (a Gazprom Neft subsidiary) and the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre have confirmed the effectiveness of this new gelling agent under pilot testing at the Palyanovskaya testing facility at the Krasnoleninskoye field in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, with the new fracking fluid, based on xanthan gum, facilitating the production of 1,000 tonnes of Bazhenov oil.*** Other kinds of fracking fluids, in contrast, used under similar geological conditions and over a similar period of time, failed to deliver production of more than 600 tonnes.

Xanthan gum is an alternative to traditional guar-gum gels, and has several advantages over these.*** It transports proppant well, and reduces well-wall friction, making it possible to increase the rate of fluid injection; it also displays minimal sensitivity to water condition and temperature.**** Xanthan gum is the most environmentally friendly solution available, and is completely water-soluble following fracking. This new mixture has demonstrated its high effectiveness under 19-stage high-speed hydraulic fracturing, involving the injection of 150 tons of proppant at each stage, with a flow rate of more than 12 cubic metres per minute. Undertaken at the Bazhenov Formation for the first time, this represents a unique operation for the industry.

The Bazhen Technology Centre has, so far, tested the new mixture at two wells, and is currently testing it at a third. A decision on rolling-out this technology will be taken following an assessment of the economic and productive benefits of well stimulation.

«The future of the oil and gas industry is directly linked to developing non-traditional hydrocarbon reserves — the world’s largest source of which is the Bazhenov Formation. One of the key tools in developing these is high-tech fracking. Improvements here are bringing us closer to developing a viable technology for producing Bazhenov oil. The innovative solutions developed through this work are also helping to develop the industry, and are likely to be in considerable demand in developing fields throughout Russia», — CEO, Bazhen Technology Centre, Kirill Strizhnev.

Reference

Notes for editors

* Hydraulic fracking is the key technology used in developing non-traditional reserves, whereby the pressure of liquid being forced into strata causes a network of fissures to form: held open by proppant, these fissures allow liquid hydrocarbons to flow into the well.

** Xanthan gum is a promising biological source for fracking fluids, being a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by fermenting Xanthomonascampestris bacteria from any high-sugar material — such as corn, wheat, dairy waste, etc.

*** Guar gum is a plant-based mud- (drilling-fluid) thickener, traditionally used to produce fracking gel. It is produced from guar beans, a legume crop.

**** Proppant is a granular material used to stop the fissures formed under strata pressure from closing up during fracking.


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