New Technologies Could Help Russia Prevent Decline in Oil Production

By Irina Dubrova, June 27, 2013

EXCLUSIVE, Moscow. Many of Russia's main oil fields are becoming depleted, and replacements for them have not yet been found. Oil production, according to assessments by most analysts are holding to current levels (from 505 million tons to 520 million) for another five to six years. After that, given the existing condition of the sector, the volume of explored and ready reserves, production will begin to slow and this could happen by 2016-2017. "The time of easy oil has passed, when we could be leaders without drilling more wells", Executive Vice President of NewTech Services, Valeriy Bessel, said during the plenary session of the 11th Russian Petroleum and Gas Congress, which was held June 26, during the MIOGE 2013 exhibit. He said that the fact that today Russia's volume of drilling is five times lower than in the United States and that Russian production is 50% higher than in America can only be explained by the fact of more attractive geological conditions and time factors.

Andrey Petrakov, the Director of the Scientific EOR Center with VNIIneft, also cited the United States during the congress, noting that the USA produces 30 million tons using artificial lift technologies. The huge resources created by artificial lift includes associated petroleum gas (APG), one-fourth of the amount produced today is flared – and that is a volume of 17 billion cubic meters a year. "Unfortunately, subsoil developers still treat APG as a waste, although the fine for flaring above norms (the Russian government  has resolved that 95% of APG should be recovered) is $36 per ton", Petrakov said. In carrying out projects who propose pumping water and gas mixtures into formations is evidence of the effectiveness of this approach, while the coefficient of oil extracted grows 5 to 6 %, but the majority of subsoil developers are still slow in making use of innovation, the VNIIneft expert said.

According to Tatneft board member Rinat Muslimov, innovative projects need to be implemented en masse, while at the same time each oil field requires technologies that suit its individual geological composition. "If we do not raise oil output, we will not have production reserves and Russia's reserves are huge", Muslimov stressed.