The Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation has approved Gazprom Neft’s application for its project on “Developing Domestic Technologies and High-technology Equipment to Develop Reserves at the Bazhenov Formation” to be awarded the status of a national project. This state-sponsored project envisages the development and implementation of technologies for geological prospecting at promising oil and gas-bearing Bazhenov deposits, based on domestically-developed seismic, magnetic and gravitational methodologies, as well as specialist well investigations and technologies for geological-hydrodynamic modelling of strata.

Implementation of the national project also envisages the development of Russian technologies for the construction of multi-stage horizontal wells, optimised for the mining and geological conditions of the Bazhenov Formation, as well as strategies for bringing light shale oil reserves into development through thermochemical oil recovery. Assuming all such technologies prove successful on implementation, consistent with Gazprom Neft’s adopted strategy for developing its resource base on the basis of non-traditional hydrocarbons, target production from reserves at the Bazhenov Formation could reach approximately 2.5 million tonnes per year. Key research and investigations under the national project will be undertaken by 2021. Commercial implementation of the technologies developed — and their roll-out on the domestic and international markets — is expected to occur throughout 2022 — 2025. The systemic development and testing of new domestic technologies is expected to be undertaken at the Centre for Engineering and Technology for Hard-to-Recover Reserves, established by Gazprom Neft in conjunction with the Administration for the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Yugra.

Gazprom Neft First Deputy CEO Vadim Yakovlev commented: “As part of its in-house Technology Strategy Gazprom Neft is investigating the possibility of bringing non-traditional reserves — of which the Bazhenov Formation is considered to be the most important source in Russia— into development. We are constantly searching for the most effective methods of working with this category of hydrocarbons. The national project for investigating the Bazhenov Formation, bringing together Gazprom Neft’s technological and scientific resources, as well as leading research centres, service companies and equipment manufacturers, will allow the creation of technologies to locate reserves precisely, optimise drilling, and investigate the effectiveness of thermochemical recovery. In implementing these projects we hope to see the Bazhenov Formation categorised as comprising reserves ready for commercial development, creating a new impetus for the development of Russia’s entire oil and gas industry.”


The “Bazhenov formation” refers to a specific geological stratum identified in the centre of Western Siberia, running to depths of 2,000–3,000 metres. Estimates suggest that oil reserves at the Bazhenov reservoir could amount to as much as 100–170 billion tonnes in Western Siberia alone. The stratum covers an area of approximately one million square kilometres and is 10–100 metres thick. The Bazhenov Formation is classified as unconventional type of reserves, comprising what is known as “shale oil”, development of which currently awaits the selection of technological solutions for its full-scale development.

Gazprom Neft has already been investigating the Bazhenov Formation for several years, and has made significant progress in developing technologies for prospecting for and producing oil here. The most important results achieved in 2016 were obtained at the Palyanovsky license block in the Krasnoleninskoye field, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and at the Vyngayakhinskoye field, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Project operations at these assets are continuing in 2017, with a well also being tested at the Salymskoye field to assess the geometric configuration of hydraulic fractures and to allow the construction of a geological model, allowing the optimum design of a multi-stage fracking well to be determined.

Gazprom Neft commenced its first project on the study of the Bazhenov formation in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in late 2015, with fracking operations on Bazhenov deposits undertaken at the Vyngayakhinskoye field via one new appraisal and two directional wells, and oil inflow being achieved throughout. Appraisal wells were drilled for sampling and well-core analysis, and an extensive range of geophysical information recorded for detailed examination of the drill core and development of a geological model.

2016 saw the completion of the full development cycle at the Krasnoleninskoye field, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, with two high-technology horizontal wells drilled for multi-stage fracking, achieving a commercial-inflow of 45 tonnes of oil per day. Total cumulative production at these wells has now reached 10,000 tonnes per month, proving the operational efficiency and technological effectiveness of the essential technology, as adapted for the Bazhenov Formation.