The Company and the Group prioritize the Geological Exploration and Production segment, which generates a major part of the consolidated net profit and cash flow. The Company focuses on the development of competitive advantages and technologies in this segment in accordance with the existing and prospective assets.

In 2019, the comprehensive Technological Leadership program was set up to develop key areas of technological expertise and implement the best technical solutions along the entire process chain. It includes projects in the following areas:

  • Technology to upgrade geological exploration performance;
  • Increased oil recovery factor (ORF);
  • Technologies for efficient development of small fields.

Geological exploration works performance improvement – resource base expansion

Within the framework of the Technological Leadership Program, a comprehensive innovation project titled “Opening” has been initiated and implemented.

The purpose of the project is to ramp up the resource base and to transform it into commercial reserves in order to achieve a production level of more than 15 MM t.o.e. by 2030, in accordance with Zarubezhneft JSC’s Corporate Strategy.

Achievement of this goal is ensured by performance gains in searching for promising features at the existing assets as well as in complex traps; detailed field appraisal, localization and development of residual reserves through innovative methods for exploration works.

Development and implementation of advanced technologies for comprehensive interpretation of seismic materials and well-logging data (neural networks, machine learning, artificial intelligence), geological and basin modeling, automation of repetitive manual labor while improving performance standards – all these rank high in the Company’s activities related to geology and exploration.

A high-priority objective of the Opening Project for the period until 2025 is to create and automate a continuous chain from digital core, petrophysics, well-logging data, seismic survey, and regional and basin modeling to digital geological models, as well as to update them in an automated fashion based on the new data that are constantly received. Application of Big Data and Data Mining technologies (acquisition of new knowledge based on the data – machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc.) will improve the accuracy of planning and decision-making time.

The experience with application of 3D/4C seismic surveys using seabed recorders on the Vietnamese offshore fields is an example of how the information content of seismic data can be improved. When longitudinal and converted waves are jointly used, not only the lithological composition of rocks can be predicted, but also the fluid saturation of the reservoirs.

Increased oil recovery factor (ORF)

The Company successfully implements technologies to increase the oil recovery factor and maintain the base production levels:

  • Application of technologies aimed at developing previously non-drained reserves in the development (Kcov);
  • Application of technologies aimed at increasing performance of displacement from hydrophobic reservoirs (Kdisp);
  • Selection of technologies for efficient development of previously unprofitable reserves.

Positive production dynamics are ensured through implementation of the following measures.

Optimization of formation pressure maintenance (FPM) system at terrigenous reservoirs of the White Tiger field

In 2019, a successful building of the FPM system at the terrigenous features of Block 09-1 fields on the Vietnamese offshore fields was resumed. Block-by-block development analysis elicited some problem sites and an individual approach to the FPM operation was developed for each of them. Geological and hydrodynamic models are used as a FPM optimization and calculation tool, which makes it possible to assess the impact of each measure and their interaction with the peripheral formation area. One of the solutions is intermittent injection aimed to increase the performance of displacement (when the volume of injected water is decreased) due to a non-steady impact and injected water breakthrough risk minimization.

Also in 2019, a large-scale revision of the formation pressure maintenance (FPM) system continued on the central arch segment of the Lower Miocene of the White Tiger field while a line-drive water flooding was being developed. Overall, the measures carried out in 2018-2019 allowed to reduce the base production decline rate at terrigenous facilities from 25% to 20%.

Implementation of hydraulic formation fracturing (HFF) program on the offshore field of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

By applying the knowledge and expertise of the Russian Participant in 2019, a program was successfully carried out the application of hydraulic formation fracturing (HFF) at JV Vietsovpetro fields (Blocks 09-1 and 09-3/12). The total actual growth in production at the wells amounted to more than 600 t/day. The successful outcomes allow us to count on development of up to 40 million tons of non-drained geological reserves of the Upper and Lower Oligocene on the offshore field in Vietnam.

Technology for enhanced oil recovery of high-viscosity oil fields by the method of catalytic aquathermolysis. The Enthalpy Project

The Company initiated and implemented a comprehensive innovation project entitled “Enthalpy” to systematize work in this area. The project objectives are:

  • To achieve target production levels at the Boca de Jaruco field;
  • To develop SAGD modeling and design technologies;
  • To develop characterization approaches for bituminous formations;
  • To elaborate technological processes for bitumen production and processing;
  • To develop technologies for monitoring development by thermal methods;
  • To develop specialists’ expertise in the area of thermal EOR.

Zarubezhneft JSC together with Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University carried out R&D work on technology for enhanced oil recovery of high-viscosity oil fields using the catalytic aquathermolysis method. The technology will allow for intensifying in-situ upgrade of heavy oil during thermal-steam treatments, which will enhance the produced oil quality, decrease oil viscosity and, ultimately, improve the energy and economic performance of the Boca de Jaruco field development.

Technology development for exploration of low-permeable and unconventional reservoirs. The TIGHT OIL Project

Global trends in recent decades show that oil companies introduce assets with hard-to-recover reserves concentrated in low-permeability reservoirs into production. While understanding the importance of this phenomenon, Zarubezhneft JSC expanded its resource base based on unconventional reservoirs, having acquired the Lutseyakhskoye field with residual recoverable reserves of 11 million tons.

Technologies for efficient development of small fields. The NESTRO-TEC Project

The NESTRO-TEC project is being implemented as part of the “Technological Leadership” strategic focus in order to ensure efficient oil production with minimal capital and operating costs, increase mobility based on production of modular aerial equipment, increase energy performance, and introduce new product-processing technologies.

The NESTRO-TEC Project includes a set of technological initiatives aimed at developing mobile process solutions and equipment, as well as cutting the cost of existing components, which contributes to the end product recovery at the pilot field operation stage, with the possibility to influence the performance of technological operations.

The objectives of the comprehensive innovation NESTRO-TEC Project are:

  • To develop fields with mobile preliminary water discharge units at the early stage of construction and development;
  • To generate electric power using oil instead of diesel fuel;
  • To cut capital and operating costs of APG processing associated with electrical power generation;
  • To reduce the APG flared volumes;
  • To cut specific energy costs associated with production of oil-containing liquid;
  • To cut operating costs associated with energy-consuming equipment;
  • To improve the quality of scheduled repair operations involving surface equipment;
  • To ensure efficient operation of wells of a complex profile;
  • To reduce capital costs associated with field facilities installation.

Within the framework of the NESTRO-TEC Project, it is planned to carry out complete testing and reproduction of technologies developed in 2016-2018, including:

  • MWDU for small fields (NESTRO-KSI/Kickoff Surface Infrastructure) — Mobile Water Discharge Unit (MWDU) is deployed directly at the field for the period of pilot production and it can be quickly relocated using road and rail transport;
  • A Russian-made oil-fueled power plant running on all types of oil — this is a diesel power plant equipped with fuel equipment developed by Zarubezhneft JSC, to be operated using class 3 oil;
  • Energy Performance of Oil and Gas Enterprise Analytical Information System (EPOGE AIS);
  • Oilfield Equipment Integrity Management Information System (OEIMIS) — an automated system for areal oil production, preparation and transportation facilities.