Gazprom Neft’s digital tools will improve drilling

Gazprom Neft’s Science and Technology Center (Gazpromneft SCT) has developed the industry’s first self-learning program to optimize complex horizontal drilling costs. Replication of the technology across the company’s production assets will help cut the cost of new well drilling by approximately 1 bln rubles and reduce the drilling time. The innovative technology enables the company’s engineers to update the reservoir geology data in real time relying on indirect parameters and, if necessary, make the decision to adjust the drilling trajectory.


In the course of drilling operations, the drilling trajectory must be constantly monitored to make sure it stays within the reservoir boundaries. This is achieved with the help of sensors that transmit data about the surrounding rock from the drilling machinery. Yet, even the most high-tech instruments today can be installed no closer than 15–30 meters away from drill bit due to certain design constraints. Therefore, the data is received with a lag, leading to a risk of moving away from the pay zone.

Gazprom Neft has come up with a digital tool to meet this challenge. The software uses machine learning to promptly analyze the parameters received directly from the drilling machinery, such as the vibration level, drilling rate and rotor speed, and bit load. These variables change depending on the reservoir parameters, which means that lithology can be promptly characterized without waiting for data coming from sensors on the drilling tool. This approach enables online control of the drilling process in situations when the actual reservoir position turns out to be different from what was expected.

The software is self-learning as it works, and the forecast of surrounding rock composition becomes more accurate with every meter drilled. This technology can be customized for use at different oil fields. It was successfully tested at various assets of Gazpromneft-Yamal, where the software demonstrated 70% accuracy of forecasting the rock alternation during the drilling process.

«There are many technological challenges in the oil industry. They give us a boost to evolve and introduce new digital tools that help optimize the operating processes. By using advanced technologies, we can climb a new height of efficiency», says Vitaly Koriabkin, Director of GeoNavigator Drilling Management Center.

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