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V. 4 (41) / 2019 «Issues for resource provision of gas-extractive regions of Russia»

Science editor
doctor of geology and minerology V.A. Skorobogatov
doctor of engineering D.N. Krylov

Searching and prospecting of hydrocarbons have been carried out in Russia and in the World for more than 150 years, especially proactively in the second half of the 20th century. Their chief target is creation of a reliable mineral base for gas and oil production. Maintenance and compensation of oil and gas mineral resources must become a touchstone for further perfection of the domestic petroleum industry and its analytical and methodical support.

Nowadays, civilization progress considerably depends on a status and outlooks of the power complex, and first of all, on reserves and predicted resources of the fossil fuels. At that, production and consumption of natural gas rapidly increase in many states and globally. In 2018, totally the world produced 4,4∙109 t of liquid hydrocarbons (oil + condensate) and 3,8∙1012 m3 of gas (Russia 556∙109 t and 725∙1012 m3 correspondingly). It is supposed that in the nearest 10–12 years gas production will surpass oil production in gross output. Along with Russia and Turkmenia, traditionally being the “gas” countries, such situation is known in the USA, Iran, Australia, Qatar etc. Many states are better covered with natural gas than with oil. The official assessment of potential gas and oil resources (geol./recoverable) is 288/240∙1012 m3 and 250/111∙109 t correspondingly.

In Russia, short-term and mid-term (till 2030) gas production is provided with the current reserves, but further the mineral resources need replenishment by virtue of new field discoveries. Prognosis of oil-gas presence bases on the comprehensive study of origination of hydrocarbon agglomerations and patterns of their horizontal and vertical distribution in sedimentary basins. Within the scientific geological activity, the primary role belongs to the analytically reasonable and feasible prediction of future discoveries of hydrocarbon deposits which takes into account amounts of reserves and phases of hydrocarbons. Namely, one should explain where, how deep, with which geological reserves and production capabilities the deposits will be discovered and prospected. In the absence of an evidence-based forecast and assessment of promising objects searching hydrocarbons is often poor and expensive.

Contemporary period of oil and gas prospecting (2018–2020) in Russia is notable for complication of the exploration areal and, consequently, increase of geological risks. It means: 1) the more complex structure and the deeper location of the prospected hydrocarbon deposits; 2) “dwarfing” of the discovered hydrocarbons (lesser than 10∙109 m3 for gas, and lesser than 3∙106 t for oil); 3) appearance of multiple oil rims even in the preferentially gas-bearing regions (the oil rims trouble prospecting and development of gas fields); 4) absence of big onshore search objects; 5) minimal increase of the current commercial reserves due to the “pure” discoveries; 6) structural deterioration of prospective and predicted hydrocarbon resources (especially oil ones); 7) discovering oil and gas agglomerations with “extreme” production capabilities which should be mostly considered to be the alternative ones, etc.

The chief oil-gas-producing and oil-gas-promising regions of Russia are the Eastern and the Western Siberia, the Northern region (including the Komi Republic and an eastern part of the Arkhangelsk region), the Pre-Caspian and the Volga-Urals regions (Astrakhan, Orenburg etc.), as well as the continental shelves of the Arctic and the Far-Eastern seas. Western Siberia and subsoil of the Barents and the Kara seabed are the national strategic reserves for searching, prospecting and development of hydrocarbons in the 21st century. In the nearest future (till 2030), development of Russian gas industry by 80–85 % will be determined by the Western-Siberian region (lands and the nearest waters, namely gulfs, the marine parts of the fields like Kharasevey), and the identified reserves and predicted resources of free gas, condensate and oil in its northern and Arctic districts. Up to 2035, the Kara and the Barents shelves (e.g., Pechora Sea) and waters will be of the second priority.

Russia possesses more than 60 % of the world Arctic self and nearly 40 % of the Far-Eastern shelf – from Chukotka to the New Zealand. Exactly, the hydrocarbon potential of the northern and the Arctic areas of Northern Eurasia will become a foundation for increase of gas reserves and it production in mid-term and long-term (till 2050) perspective. There are few problems which should be solved in respect to Eastern-Siberian subsoil, where many things are still unclear, and a prognosis of new discoveries is indefinite, especially at the northern part of Siberian Platform. Several articles here highlight this quite a troublesome question.

New ideas, concepts and technological innovations related to searching, prospecting and development of hydrocarbon fields will make the Gazprom PJSC’s affiliates optimize building of the fossil fuels mineral resource base within the onshore and offshore boarders of the Russian Federation.

Twenty collected articles in this issue describe studies carried out in 2018–2019 by the geologists and geophysicists from the Gazprom VNIIGAZ LLC and other institutes. Revealed information could be interesting for researchers and practitioners employed in scientific and industrial companies of gas and petroleum specialization. It will be also useful for students and postgraduates from correspondent universities.


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