Gazprom Neft and Zarubezhneft have used this year’s St Petersburg International Economic Forum to sign an agreement on establishing a joint venture for the exploration, development and production of hard-to-recover oil reserves, including unconventional hydrocarbons.
The document was endorsed by Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, and Sergei Kudryashov, General Director, Zarubezhneft. Once the transaction closes Gazprom Neft will hold a 51-percent interest in the joint venture, and Zarubezhneft 49 percent. The joint venture’s asset portfolio will include the Salymsky-3 and Salymsky-5 license blocks located in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug.
A programme of geological exploration works by the new joint venture is expected to run to 2023. Almost 700 square kilometres of 3D seismic works, as well as the drilling of the first exploratory well, are planned at the Salymsky-3 and Salymsky-5 blocks as early as 2019. The partners are hoping to clarify the geological characteristics and potential resources at these assets. Available information suggests that these reserves are likely to fall into the “hard-to-recover” category, and are likely to include unconventional hydrocarbon reserves. Gazprom Neft’s advanced skills and competencies, gained through its production of Bazhenov oil, together with Zarubezhneft’s extensive experience in developing carbonate reserves on international offshore projects will be a distinct advantage to the joint venture in developing these challenging assets.
Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Continuing progress in our company’s technological advancement means we can start investigating new reserves, and make preparations for developing them. We need to determine our strategy for developing the Salymsky blocks through our new joint venture, making full use of our own unique experience in Russia, and our partners’ unique experience abroad in working with hard-to-recover and unconventional reserves.”
Sergei Kudryashov, General Director, Zarubezhneft noted: “Zarubezhneft is a market leader in developing — and implementing technologies for developing — hard-to-recover oil reserves. The company’s technology portfolio includes a range of unique, and quite rarely used, technologies that have practical uses at the company’s fields. The joint application of our two companies’ highly developed skills and competencies on this project will allow both to significantly increase our resource bases and gain further experience in developing hard-to-recover reserves.”