Innovation

Gazprom Neft considers innovation to be a valuable tool that ensures the efficiency and technological improvement of the Company, which is essential in order to achieve its strategic goals in both the upstream and downstream sectors.

In 2013, the Gazprom Neft Board of Directors approved the Company’s 2020 Innovation Development Programmeme, which includes information on the main areas of Gazprom Neft’s innovation development, as well as key performance indicators corresponding to the indicators of the Innovative Development Programmeme of OJSC Gazprom, the major shareholder. The Programmeme’s primary aim is to enhance the Company’s technological skill in the areas of exploration, production, and refining.

In the reporting period, the Company developed and approved an Innovation Policy setting out the key principles and approaches to managing innovation development, relating to the analysis of technological challenges, the research and selection of possible solutions, and the implementation of innovation projects.

In the second half of 2013, the Company established a Strategy and Innovation Department with a mandate to implement the Innovation Policy, ensure the development of Gazprom Neft’s technology strategies and monitor the implementation of the Innovative Development Programmeme.

Field exploration and development

In the reporting year, a large-scale implementation of advanced production technologies was witnessed at enterprises of the Exploration and Production Segment, the main technological development areas of which include:

  • Improvement of resource base forecasting quality;
  • Economic increase in production and ORF at current fields;
  • Development of oil and gas condensate deposits;
  • Development of fractured reservoirs;
  • Development of shelf fields;
  • Development at the Bazhenov suite; and
  • Improvement of industrial and environmental safety.

In 2013, projects to introduce multi-stage fracturing assemblies at horizontal wells were initiated at 10 of the Company’s major fields in order to develop reserves with low filtration properties. Applying this technology allowed the formation coverage area to increase without increasing the costs associated with drilling additional wells. The average increase in the daily oil yield amounted to 46.4 tonnes. Additional oproduction totalled over one million tonnes as of 1 January 2014.

For the first time in Russia, a horizontal well was brought on-stream following a ten-stage hydraulic fracturing process at Gazprom Neft’s Vyngapurovskoye field, operated by OJSC Gazpromneft Noyabrskneftegaz. The depth the new well is nearly 4,500 metres, and the length of the horizontal section is over 1,000 metres. The flow rate obtained at the well was over 135 tonnes per day, which exceeded the results obtained at horizontwells with a lower number of hydraulic fracturing stages by approximately one-third.

An acid multiple hydraulic fracturing operation was carried out for the first time in the eastern area of the Orenburg oil and gas condensate field as part of Gazprom Neft’s depleted reserves programme. Once toperations have been completed, the combined average flow rate of both wells will add up to approximately 80 tonnes of oil per day. The wells function via natural flow. Horizontal well drilling with multi-stage hydrofracturing is currently one of the main technologies for recovering depleted reserves.

The rotary steerable systems – a new generation of downhole equipment for drilling wells – reduced capital costs by 0.6%, whilst increasing hydrocarbon production by 0.6 million tonnes.

Approximately 4.5% of the Company’s own production in 2013 was generated thanks to the application of technologies such as horizontal wells, multi-stage hydraulic fracture technology, side tracking, rotary steerable systems and oil-based muds.

In the past year, Salym Petroleum Development, a joint venture between Gazprom Neft and Shell, continued with its pilot project to introduce a technology for alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) water flooding to increase oil yield from formations at the Zapadno-Salymskoye field.

In the reporting period, Gazprom Neft drilled the very first Russian four-borehole horizontal well at the Umseyskoye field.

A new world seismic surveying record was set at the Shakal block in the Iraqi Kurdish Autonomous Region. During the seismic study, data was transmitted from more than 6,200 sensors. This is the highest number of sensors ever used in simultaneous wireless real-time data transmission. The application of this innovative technology will enable the Company to improve the quality of its geological surveys, by reducing time and improving efficiency.

In 2013, Gazprom Neft continued its study of oil reserves at the Bazheno-Abalaksky complex of the Palianovskaya area at the Krasnoleninskoye field. Once Gazprom Neft had completed tests on the first exploration well of 2,700–2,800 metres in depth, which resulted in an oil flow at a rate of 80 tonnes per day, a model of the field and the complex reserves was built. The model of a fracture-block stratum structure allows the identification of potentially productive zones for the drilling new wells. The well revealed that the fracture zone was an oil filtration channel. In autumn 2014, Gazprom Neft will consider moving on to the next stage – drilling commercial production wells at the Bazhenov suite.

Previously, a joint venture between Gazprom Neft and Shell – Salym Petroleum Development (SPD) – had started to develop the Bazhenov suite of the Verkhne-Salymskoye oil field in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District. In April 2013, Gazprom Neft and Shell also signed an agreement to set up a joint venture looking at new projects to explore and develop shale oil reserves in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District – Yugra.

Oil refining and petrochemical industry

A LARGE PROPORTION OF REFINING INNOVATION PROJECTS ARE IMPLEMENTED AS PART OF REFINERY MODERNISATION PROGRAMMES. RECONSTRUCTION AND THE LAUNCH OF NEW PLANTS WILL ENABLE THE COMPANY TO CONSIDERABLY REDUCE FUEL OIL PRODUCTION AND INCREASE THE OUTPUT OF LIGHT PETROLEUM PRODUCTS TO 77% AND THE REFINING DEPTH TO 95% BY 2025.

One of the priorities of the Company’s innovation policy is energy efficiency, including the optimal use of existing resources.

In July 2013, NIS lunched the first cogeneration module as part of a long-term programme for the efficient use of gas resources. The cogeneration project involves APG utilisation. The programme also envisages the construction of an amine plant at the NIS LPG workshop and the start of CO2 injection — after CO2 separation at the amine plant — to operating wells (to increase hydrocarbon recovery). This programme will not only enable NIS to generate electric and heat power using its own resources (APG), but also to improve the quality of the natural gas produced by the company at its gas fields. This programme will help NIS utilise up to 90% of the associated gas — that is, 90 million cubic metres per year — as soon as year-end 2014.

Refining and petrochemical R&D initiatives are implemented in partnership with the leading Russian research institutions that already have some know-how in Gazprom Neft’s priority fields of technology . The Company’s partners include the Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis, RAS, Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Institute of Hydrocarbon Processing of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and OJSC All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Refining. The Company’s key cooperation areas with research organisations and universities in 2013 included the development of catalysts and the improvement of oil refining processes.

In 2013, a process was developed for viscosity breaking and coking gasoline refining without the use of molecular hydrogen. The method under development will significantly increase the refining depth of thermal process gasoline and the quality of product output. In particular, the application of the new technology may help to reduce the olefin content in the gasoline output by over 95%, and sulphur content by over 98%, with an approximate output of 90% gasoline fraction mass. Moreover, the octane level of the refined gasoline will increase by 4–5 points.

2013 also saw an active implementation of projects to develop technologies aimed at obtaining gasoline components with no less than 92-95 octane level. Development began on the creation of a green technology prototype aimed at producing solid acid catalyst-based alkylates. A laboratory research stage was completed for the indirect alkylation technology aimed at obtaining high-octane components from low molecular weight olefins. A pilot plant is expected to be launched next year to commercialise this technology. The Company developed its own catalyst to obtain an oligomerizate, another high-octane component. These projects will provide the Company with its own technologies that enable it to produce premium-grade gasoline. The Company’s deeper refining projects include a tar hydrocracking project aimed at producing at least 90% light petroleum products from the heavy oil stock.

Isodewaxing catalyst research and testing was completed, and the catalyst will be used to produce winter and Arctic fuels. The R&D results are protected by patents for inventions.

In 2013, the Oil Refining Department initiated an R&D market and specialist analysis in the oil refining and petrochemical industry to engage the most competent researchers in order to meet the Company’s technological development objectives. The project will be completed by creating an R&D priority list by 2025.