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Gazprom Neft & Skoltech Agree to Establish Innovative Digital Lab

Source: 6/1/2018, Location: Asia

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The Science and Technology Center of Gazprom Neft and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology signed a collaboration agreement at the Skolkovo Startup Village — the largest startup-conference in Russia and CIS for technology entrepreneurs. The parties have agreed on the further development of joint research and innovation/entrepreneurship activity. In particular, as part of the agreement a new digital lab will be formed to conduct research in the field of Modeling of Multiphase Systems in the Oil & Gas Industry.

This team will be led by Professor Andrei Osiptsov and will be based in the Skoltech Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery, which is managed by Professor Mikhail Spasennykh. The key area of research of the new lab is the modeling of complex flows of multiphase media (oil, gas, water, solid particles) with the aim of developing the most effective technologies for field development at each stage, from conceptual planning to brownfield.

This will be the first joint platform to run research in the area of multiphase flow modeling for Gazprom Neft with minimal use of imported IT-technologies to develop prototypes of Russian modeling software packages.

Skoltech has been one of the key scientific partners of Gazprom Neft for a number of years already, running a portfolio of joint industry projects in the fields of geology, the design of new superhard materials, machine learning and data science technologies, as well as digital modeling.

The lab for the modeling of multiphase systems will be established as part of Skoltech’s Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery. Research conducted in the framework of the new entity will be focused on the development of complex integrated models for fluid mechanics processes at each stage of field development, as well as for unconventional and hard-to-recover reserves. The full portfolio of upstream technologies will be covered, from drilling, cementing and cleanup to multistage fracturing in near-horizontal wells, flowback, and transient production regimes.

For the modeling of joint motion of fluids and gases, one needs to take into account numerous effects, which requires one to apply new digital instruments and deep academic knowledge from the area of dynamics of multiphase media and numerical methods. At present, for such modeling one typically needs imported commercial software, however no such particular product allows one to model, plan and control the full cycle of technology application from conceptual modeling to the late stage of field development. The new lab in particular will work on new integrated Russian products for the modeling of the full cycle of technological applications.

The application of digital models helps to replace expensive physical experiments by using electronic analogues (digital twins), which enable one to effectively manage the processes of field development, cut costs, and improve the accuracy and reliability of forecasts of the impact of various factors and technologies on the oil recovery process.

The agreement also stipulates the joint participation of Gapromneft STC and Skoltech in contests, grant calls, and tenders in the field of science-rich innovative technologies, joint work on educational programs, and the organization of joint science forums, workshops and other events.

“The modeling of multiphase systems requires a combination of fundamental models, high-performance computing and validation on real lab and field data. These days a perspective direction is a hybrid digital modeling based on a synergy between mechanistic modeling and elements of machine learning and big data analytics. Skoltech gathered the best talent in these areas from Russia and the world. The foundation of the joint lab on the modeling of multiphase systems with Gazpromneft STC presents a unique opportunity for the development of prototypes of integrated software packages for the design of oil production technology for the success of national industry,” said Skoltech’s Osiptsov, head of the new lab.

“Today while producing from unconventional and hard-to-recover reserves Gazprom Neft solves problems so complex that five years ago they would have been perceived as unrealistic. To achieve a technological breakthrough, the company benefits from tight links between academic science and business challenges and also from the partners of the innovative environment —leading Russian and international research centers.

Gazprom Neft has been successfully implementing joint projects with Skoltech for a number of years now. The expansion of this collaboration opens new avenues for the entire national oil and gas industry,” said Professor Mars Khasanov, managing director of Gazprom Neft Science & Technology Center and Director for Technology of Gazprom Neft.

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