New horizons of Urengoi
The general annual meeting of Gazprom’s stockholders is traditionally held in Moscow in late June. It is a major event for all company shareholders who decide future plans, sum up the results of the year, and determine short-term development course. The stockholders of the biggest Russian company have what to be proud of. On the background of protracted global financial and economic crisis Gazprom succeeded to preserve the reputation of a reliable partner and energy supplier on the domestic and foreign markets. Gazprom retained numerous advantages, including long-term rules of the game and the absence of risks from the technological and economic points of view. On the eve of the annual meeting of Gazprom’s stockholders all subsidiaries of the company summed up performance results and discussed prospects. Deputy Director General of Gazprom dobycha Urengoi in charge of gas condensate production and treatment Stanislav Sorokin told VIP-Premier about current affairs and problems of the enterprise.
Stanislav V. Sorokin has been deputy director general of Gazprom dobycha Urengoi in charge of gas condensate and oil production and treatment since 2004. Born in 1961 in Moscow he graduated from the Gubkin Institute of Petrochemical and Gas Industry in Moscow and the Ufa State Oil and Technical University as expert in the development and operation of oil and gas fields. He also finished Gazprom’s re-training courses for would-be top managers. He worked as pipeline fitter, foreman, shift head of the production and dispatcher unit, head of the production department, chief engineer of the department, and head of the line production unit of the company. He was awarded with the medal of the Order for the Merits to the Motherland II degree, Honorary Certificates of Gazprom for major personal contribution to the development of the gas industry and achievements in inventions and rationality.
– Mr. Sorokin, tell us about production results of Gazprom dobycha Urengoi in 2009 – early 2010.
– Gazprom dobycha Urengoi is a leading subsidiary of Gazprom. In three decades the company created a unique complex to produce gas, oil and gas condensate in conditions of permafrost. The system that was created in many years operates steadily without faults and fulfills all the tasks set by Gazprom even in crisis periods.
As for last year performance, it should be noted the year was difficult in many respects, but nevertheless fruitful. All production plans were completely fulfilled.
An informal event of 2009 was the registration of our company in the Russian Book of Records as the only enterprise in the world that produced the biggest amount of gas at one field – over 6 trillion cubic meters.
As for this year I want to stress that in March 2010 Gazprom dobycha Urengoi completed two major projects: pilot production began at complex gas treatment unit #22 (UKPG-22) and two compressor stations to recover associated gas at central oil collection facilities.
If UKPG-22 is an industrial facility aimed at increasing hydrocarbon production, investments into compressor stations resolved both economic and ecological problems. The amount of flare gas dropped by 90 billion cubic meters a year, associated gas recovery at the Urengoi oil and gas condensate field upped to 95 percent, discharge into the atmosphere of polluting substances resulting from flared gas lift and associated petroleum gas (carbon oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and charcoal black) decreased, and reliability improved of gas lift systems that ensure oil production at over 70 percent of operating oil wells.
– You said a major achievement of the enterprise was the startup of UKPG-22 at the second test section of Achim deposits. Can you speak in detail about the project? How important are Achim deposits?
– The Urengoi field is unique because hydrocarbons are embedded in strata there. After three decades of development the upper and most accessible ones – Cenomanian and Valanginian – decreased reservoir pressure and consequently the amount of extracted gas. It is a natural and predictable process. At the same time Achim and Jura deposits located 3.5 thousand meters deep and lower contain big reserves of the “blue fuel” and remained practically intact until recently.
In 2008 in the framework of Achimgaz Russian-German joint venture created by Gazprom and Wintershall AG our experts joined efforts with German colleagues to develop the first section of Achim deposits at the Urengoi field. After Achim gas production was launched at UKPG-31 it became clear that Big Urengoi got new prospects and a third breath.
After Gazprom dobycha Urengoi launched pilot production at its own Achim facility – UKPG-22 – experts estimated total production at UKPG-31 and UKPG-22 will comprise up to 12 billion cubic meters of gas and 4.5 million tons of gas condensate after the facilities reach the projected capacity. Gazprom dobycha Urengoi holds licenses for six Achim fields. Their development is a question of time.
It is to be noted that Achim deposits productivity has been confirmed on a considerably wide territory of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district. Therefore, pilot production startup at the first sections is considered as a new quality stage in the development of the resource base of the Nadym-Pur-Taz area.
– Which difficulties did you encounter in the development of the Achim horizon? Which new technologies did you use at UKPG-22?
– Achim deposits are located at a depth of over 4.000 meters and are contained in low-permeability and inhomogeneous gas reservoirs with abnormally high pressure of over 600 atmospheres. Reservoir fluid is characterized by heavy fractional composition of the condensate with increased content of paraffin hydrocarbons of normal structure that settle out during cooling (yet at above-zero temperatures) in solid form.
That initially demanded the search for and introduction of new technical and technological solutions that differ from traditional ones used to develop Valanginian and Cenomanian deposits. Thus, the UKPG-22 used directional inclined wells with sub-horizontal end. At the first stage it is planned to launch 20 such wells united into five clusters. A completely automatic operating system has been installed to control and run field facilities. System equipment ensures remote control and operation from the control room of all basic technological processes. The set of equipment was selected and devices installed to ensure safe maintenance, easy assembly, check-up and repairs. Thus, the UKPG-22 is a unique high-tech last-generation complex with all the necessary life-support, automatic and control systems.
At present the facility is operating in pilot production regime with three gas condensate wells and daily produces up to a million cubic meters of gas and 500 tons of gas condensate.
– Who supplied the equipment for the facility?
– Technological equipment assembled at the field is mostly Russian-made. Technological complexes with reinforcements were designed by the Central Design Bureau in the town of Podolsk and produced by domestic chemical machinery enterprises in Kurgan, Penza, Ruza, and many others.
The field also uses imported equipment however its share is small. It mostly includes switch gear and cutoff valve operating stations used as underground equipment or at measuring and regulating units of gas well clusters.
– Did you have to retrain personnel?
– After it was decided to begin the development of Achim deposits Gazprom dobycha Urengoi created a production-dispatcher service to build UKPG-22. It employed experienced staff with a long service record in the oil and gas production department. The employees participated in decision-making related to all construction issues from design to construction control and startup works. From January 1, 2010 all of them were employed by the Achim deposit development department created by a Gazprom decision.
The creation of the specialized unit to develop Achim deposits confirms major significance of the deposits for Gazprom. It should be noted that our experts became Gazprom’s pioneers in the sphere. The work they did offered an excellent school for Gazprom staff to receive the necessary knowledge and valuable experience in “deep gas” production and treatment.
– What does Gazprom dobycha Urengoi plan for 2010?
– Major 2010 tasks of the company include the startup of the West Pestsovaya section of the Urengoi field, the startup of a boosting compressor station at the 5B Valanginian deposit and nine wells at the second test section of Achim deposits. Naturally, we do not limit ourselves by the mentioned tasks. This year we shall continue to implement production tasks approved by Gazprom. The main aim of our company is to ensure stable and uninterrupted production of hydrocarbons and prepare them for transportation.
By Yelena Danilova