“Oil capital” forum discusses boosting oil production in difficult-of-access reserves
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The fourth international youth and practical science forum “Oil Capital” opened on Wednesday in Khanty-Mansiysk in western Siberia – the first offline meeting within the sector since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. Speakers represented Russia and other countries, including Australia, Benin and France.

    Sergey Brilev, President of the Global Energy Association, moderated the first plenary session to take place after the opening ceremony – entitled “Smart Oil.”

    A key theme for participants at the plenary session was the reduction in Russian oil stocks. According to data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, the volume of proven oil stocks in Russia in 2019 stood at 107.2 billion barrels – or 4.4 % less than in 2000 (112.1 billion barrels). At the same time, estimated world-wide stocks increased by a third (to 1,733.9 billion barrels).

    Against a background of a shrinking resource base, the example of Tatarstan is striking – thanks to  improved technology, companies have proven able to support production at developed deposits, according to Alexey Kontorovich, an academician at the Russian Academy of Sciences and laureate of the Global Energy Prize.

     Kontorovich believes that Russia could produce at least 100 million tonnes of oil annually at the  Bazhenov Formations mountain sites in western Siberia. Rosnedra, the federal agency for mineral resources, estimates that the area contains at least 10 billion tonnes of oil.

    Increased production could also be boosted by production at small and even very small deposits. Kontorovich suggests that in order to proceed with such a development, it is vital to develop our own technology and adjust legislation affecting small-scale oil and gas enterprises.

    Difficulties in the resource base were a reason behind an experiment with a tax on additional income for hydrocarbons, according to Pavel Sorokin, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister. In contrast to the mineral extraction tax, the tax on additional income is calculated not on the basis of the amount produced but, rather, on the basis of earnings derived from that production. This method allows more flexibility in examining the feasibility of projects.

    The Energy Ministry stimulates operations in remote or difficult-of-access reserves through a federal programme previously named “Bazhenov”. By 2025, the ministry plans to use this programme to make production possible for more than 760 million tonnes of stocks of hydrocarbons.

     Companies are directly involved in dealing with this task – for instance, Salym Petroleum Development (SPD), joint affiliate of Gazprom Neft, and Royal Dutch Shell, which when working on the Salym deposits in Khanty-Mansiysk region uses polymer flooding technology to increase oil recovery from strata. This technology has been used in Canada, China and the United States – as was described at the forum by Salym Petroleum’s CEO, Michael Collins.

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