Innovation

Technology innovation inpriority business areas isaprerequisite for the Companys successful long-term growth.

Gazprom Nefts strategic goal istoproduce 100mn TOE annually by2020. This will require year-on-year growth ofhydrocarbon output amajor challenge, which will make great demands onthe energy and abilities ofthe Companys science and innovation specialists. They need toincrease the efficiency ofoil production from depleted resources atageing fields; develop new regions inYamal, Eastern Siberia and Orenburg Region; begin offshore operations, including work beyond the Arctic Circle inthe Pechora Sea, Kara Sea and Barents Sea; implement projects outside Russia; and gain competence inproduction ofnon-conventional hydrocarbons, including bitumen, bituminous sands, bituminous shale and high-viscosity crude oil.

The Companys innovative development strategy upto2020 includes arange ofprograms tomake exploration more efficient, using the latest advances ingeology and geophysics, and exploiting oil and gas deposits with minimal environmental impact. Asreserves production will increase over time, the Company will need tocreate and apply technologies toraise recovery levels ofcrude from deposits inprematurely drowned fields, fields with hard-to-recover deposits and low saturation. The latest technologies for directional drilling, multi-shaft wells, and drilling ofsidetracks will bedeployed. Atthe same time, use ofinnovative technologies will reduce the cost ofwell interventions and make workovers much more efficient. The Company will also start touse arange ofenergy-saving technologies atits fields.

INNOVATION IN EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION

The Companys main objective inscience and technology istoapply the most recent and most appropriate know-how, and todeploy new equipment and technologies, inorder toensure dynamic production growth. The critical innovation factor for any business isthe ability tocreate and efficiently apply new technical solutions and technologies. Use ofadvanced technologies isbecoming adecisive criterion ofcorporate competitiveness.

In2011, aJoint Scientific and Research Centre for Innovation Technologies inPetroleum Production (JSRC) was jointly established byLLC Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre and bySt. Petersburg State Mining University. The project was part ofthe Consortium for Development and Implementation ofInnovative Technologies for Hydrocarbon Production and Refining, which was created earlier. The JSRCis centred oneight R&D laboratories (for well-log preparation; oil and gas formation physics; rheological and filtration studies; oil and gas field development modelling; research into oil dispersal systems; research into formation petroleum filtering processes, grout and drilling fluid studies; and for analytical control, salt and paraffin deposition, and corrosion). The laboratories have the most up-to-date experimental tools and equipment. Inaddition, LLC Gazprom Neft STC has allocated RUB 20mn for the purchase ofspecial equipment, laboratory furniture, and some RUB 10mn for software. Inthe reporting year, Gazprom Neft made investments inpriority research inthe following areas: improving oil yield from formations and well output; research into petroleum composition and properties; solid deposits and corrosion inpetroleum production equipment; the composition and testing ofliquids used for work area treatment; well kill; repair and insulation work; geological surveying; technology development and adaptation; and calculating the composition ofdrilling muds and grouts.

InSeptember 2011 specialists ofLLC Gazprom Neft STC and experts atthe Muravlenkovskneft subsidiary ofGazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz began aproject tocontrol water-flooding inatest area atthe Sugmutskoye field inorder tooptimise the formation pressure system and extract hard-to-recover oil reserves indepleted field areas. The project will take three years, but isexpected toprovide benefits for 10years and produce 62,300t ofadditional crude oil. Additional production asofDecember1, 2011, was 1,100t ofoil, which matches earlier estimates.

Specialists from the STC incooperation with the UfaNIPIneft Research Institute, have developed acomprehensive program for alkali-surfactant-polymer water-flooding and treatment ofworking areas inproduction wells and injection wells atJurassic deposits which are part ofthe Yaraynerskoye field ofGazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz. The area ischaracterized bylow filtration and capacity properties, and complex geological structure. The project should stabilise development ofthe deposits, and produce atleast 9,200t ofadditional crude oil.

In2011, work was carried out aspart ofGazprom Nefts Integrated Exploration and Research Program at14production wells atthe Sutorminskoye field (operated byMuravlenkovskneft), inanattempt todeactivate aformation for purposes oftransition toalower horizon. Two new technologies were attempted injection ofcompounds based onpolymers F100 and WGA111 and asuccess rate of93% was achieved. Daily average oil production rose by6.5t asaresult. AsofJanuary1, 2012, anadditional 6,229t ofcrude oil had been produced, and 12wells were involved.

Work was done toeliminate multiple gaps that compromise sealing ofthe production string. Interval-based injection ofacompound that was previously used atfields ofGazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz enabled sealing ofall three tightness gaps inthe production string with just one application, thereby saving 240 hours ofwork for the well overhaul team. The work onreactivation, sealing multiple gaps inthe production string and hydrofracturing was rewarded byadditional production of8,300t ofoil, with the average increase ofcrude yield amounting to29.8t/day during the effective period.

Research was carried out in2011as part ofthe project entitled Monitoring ofSalt Formation inWell Equipment; Use and Optimisation ofTechnologies toPrevent Salt Formation tofind the causes ofsolid sediment inside borehole equipment atthe Priobskoye, Palyanovskoye and Zimneye fields (operated byLLC Gazprom Neft-Hantos). The research also sought toselect the most appropriate reagents and concentrations inorder toaddress the problem (four out ofapossible 16were selected). The four reagents are being tested inproduction conditions during 2012. Optimizing the inhibition system toprotect borehole equipment has already given asaving ofRUB 7.7mn and afurther RUB 14.2mn isexpected tobesaved in2012. Borehole equipment runtime inthe salt-rich environment increased from 313 to382 days (22% growth); in2013, runtime isexpected toreach 420 days (10% improvement). All borehole equipment has undergone salt and acid treatment. The effect oftreatment lasts for 21days onaverage, and savings ofRUB 32.5mn have been made.

Specialists of the STC carried out test operations in 2011 on technologies and methods to fight corrosion in underground equipment at production wells in the Urmanskoye Field of LLC Gazprom Neft-Vostok. Corrosion inhibitors for borehole equipment were tested, and used as a basis for creating a uniform measure of corrosion inhibitor efficiency for use at the fields of LLC Gazprom Neft-Vostok. The following regulatory and technical documents were prepared and applied to further extend the service life of borehole equipment, and to reduce related operating costs:

  • Methodology for classifying wells as requiring special recovery techniques;
  • Classifier of corrosion types in borehole equipment;
  • Methodology for calculating the relative efficiency of anti-corrosion activities;
  • Methodology for selecting protective measures;
  • Manual on operation of pipes;
  • Forms of test operation and reports on test operation;
  • Regulation on preparation of well-kill fluids.

Based onthe newly prepared documents, the plan for 2012is todevelop and implement software that isintegrated with existing corrosion-related databases inorder tocalculate and forecast the evolution ofcorrosive processes inborehole equipment. The activities in2011 reduced the specific rate ofcorrosion-caused failures inoperating stock from 0.37 to0.16.

Over the year, the permanent database onidle wells was improved, corporate databases underwent comprehensive integration; automatic selection criteria were added for well intensification; mapping representation materials were developed tosupport decision-making; and economic analysis was expanded. The system can now build lists ofwells ranked bytheir economic and production performance for purposes ofreactivation; design specific interventions that are needed for well reactivation; build additional reports; select submersible equipment; and handle maps and data inaninteractive way. Further development ofthe program will increase the depth and scope ofanalysis, and add selection methodologies. The time needed toanalyse idle wells was reduced by15times after the permanent database became available for idle wells ofJSC Gazprom Neft-Noyabrskneftegaz and the Muravlenkovskneft branch.

The Companys subsidiaries and associates worked with STC specialists in2011, conducting tests ofperiodic brief activation mode (PBA mode) ofthe submersible centrifugal pump unit. The result was toincrease the service life inlow-yield and complex wells by1.5-2 times, with the same level ofpower cost savings. When the Companys standard manual entitled Operations with Submersible Centrifugal Pump Units was written in2011, STC specialists also worked out rules for selecting PBA mode. Plans for 2012 include further activities toresearch and implement the PBA mode within the Company. The forecast effect offull-scale adoption ofthe technology inlow-yield complex wells and invariable flow stock isRUB 148mn in2014-2016.

INNOVATION IN PETROLEUM REFINING & PETROCHEMICAL PROCESSING

Further improvement ofpetroleum refining and petrochemical technologies isneeded inorder tocomply with Russian Government requirements for fuel quality, toaddress the implications oflevelling ofcustoms duties payable ondark and light petroleum products, tomeet demand for new petroleum refining and petrochemical products (premium-grade branded fuels, lubricants, new grades ofbitumen and coke), and tooptimise and reduce production costs and dependence onforeign-made catalysts and technologies.

The main goals ofGazprom Nefts innovation and scientific research efforts inpetroleum refining are tomake competitive products, raise product quality, cut production costs, invent and apply new technologies, products and services, resolve current production problems, and todevelop afavorable, innovative corporate image.

In2011, Company management approved the Strategy for Development ofInnovation and Scientific Research inOil Refining and Petrochemical Processing upto2020. The document defines the principles and key performance indicators for innovation activities inlogistics, refining and sales, aswell askey directions todevelop innovative technologies inpetroleum refining and petrochemical processing: higher product quality (inparticular, lower sulphur content and aromatics ingasoline and diesel fuels), deeper refining ofcrude oil, the development ofnew product types, higher efficiency, and asmaller environmental footprint. The Strategy envisages annual financing ofuptoRUB 450mn for R&D inpetroleum refining and petrochemical processing inthe period to2015. Planned investments in2012 should exceed RUB 200mn.

R&D inpetroleum refining and petrochemical processing isbeing carried out inpartnership with Russias major research entities, which have experience inthe areas that Gazprom Neft regards asits priorities. The Companys partners include the Topchiyev Petrochemical Synthesis Institute, the Gubkin Oil and Gas Institute, the Institute for Problems ofHydrocarbon Refining, JSCNPP Neftekhim and others.

During 2011, the Companys petroleum refining units implemented large long-term innovative projects todevelop strategically important technologies, and workshoplevel R&D tomeet the production needs ofaspecific refinery. One large-scale innovative project in2011, carried out jointly with the Siberian Chapter ofthe Institute ofHydrocarbon Refining under the Russian Academy ofScience, was the development and production launch ofabiceolyte catalyst for catalytic cracking atGazprom Neft-Omsk Refinery. Use ofthe new catalyst helped the Omsk Refinery toincrease its output oflight petroleum products, achieve deeper refining, and lower sulphur content inproducts, while also cutting production costs. Gazprom Neft iscurrently Russias only manufacturer ofthe catalyst.

Key innovation projects scheduled for 2012 include development oftechnologies tosynthesise fluid hydrocarbons ofnatural gas and associated gas, alkylation with aheterogeneous catalyst, and hydroconversion oftar oil.