Exploration and production

Gazprom Neft is developing large-cluster projects on the Yamal Peninsula, in Eastern and Western Siberia, and in the Orenburg Oblast, both directly and through joint ventures.

The key driver of our resource base expansion in 2020 was organic growth from existing assets, with 45 exploration and appraisal wells drilled. The total depth of exploration drilling totalled 152,600 m.

In 2020, Gazprom Neft acquired 3,160 line km of 2D and 5,330 sq km of 3D seismic data.

In late 2020, Gazprom Neft and the LANIT group developed a digital twin to boost the performance of seismic operations at oilfields. The digital twin uses historical seismic data from all of the company’s oilfields across different regions to benchmark the data available on drilling prospects against the most successful solutions used in comparable geological settings. These insights enable asset teams to design optimal prospect-exploration strategies.

This integrated real-time environment is expected to improve seismic acquisition monitoring and yield high-quality geophysical data. Gazprom Neft will evaluate the performance of the digital twin in the field, using data gathered in the 2020–2021 winter acquisition season.

Our portfolio management system, established over the past few years, performed well during the turbulence of 2020, with operations promptly refocused on less risky projects that give a quick return on investment.
Vadim Yakovlev Deputy CEO for Exploration and Production, Gazprom Neft PJSC


The competency centre run by Gazpromneft-GEO manages turnkey projects on behalf of the Group. This centre ensures continuous additions of commercially recoverable reserves to the company’s resource base to maximise the efficiency of capital employment.

Our approach to exploration is based on:

  • managing a portfolio of major exploration projects;
  • concentrating our financial and managerial exploration capabilities in a single centre;
  • optimising the transfer of business-ready cases for further development;
  • assessing each project in terms of its geology and investment case, as well as logistics, infrastructure, and technological complexity.
Achimov Formation development

The Achimov Formation, in the heart of the West Siberian Basin, is made up of petroleum reservoirs overlying the Bazhenov Formation. Its complex structure, great depth and abnormally high pressure call for innovative exploration and production methods. The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug contains more than half of the Achimov reserves.

Gazprom Neft has built the industry’s first digital model for the Achimov Formation, covering the whole of Western Siberia. In 2019, the company launched Achimovka NNG, a major new project to perform integrated exploration of the hard-to-recover Achimov reserves under the current licences held by Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz. This project is implemented in partnership with Gazpromneft-GEO and the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre.

In 2020, Gazprom Neft launched a major exploration project within the Severo-Yamburgsky licence block, estimated to hold over 500 mtoe, and developed a prototype of an expert system to aid in selecting generic technologies for this type of reserve. Hybrid hydraulic fracturing piloted in the Vyngayakhinskoye field proved a viable method, boosting the well’s productivity index by 60%. Furthermore, a TAMLTechnology Advancement for Multi-Laterals - international classification of multilateral wells Level 3 multilateral and multistage-fractured well in the Vyngayakhinskoye field flowed at initial rates twice as high as those from conventional-completion wells, saving 10% in САРЕХ. As part of its 2021 agenda, the company plans to calibrate the regional model for the Achimov Formation against the latest local geological data, establish a generalised geological conceptualisation for the Nerutinskaya zone, complete a detailed survey of the Olikuminskaya zone for its commercial petroleum quantities, and continue with pilot production at the Vyngayakhinskoye field.

Project portfolio

Major exploration projects in 2020

Zima (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug–Yugra)
  • 95 mt added to the resource base following 3D seismic interpretation.
  • 3D seismic survey completed across the Zapadno-Zimny licence block.
  • 3D seismic survey launched across the Srednevaysky and Severo-Vaysky licence blocks.
  • Seven exploration and appraisal wells drilled (including two wells at the Vaysky licence blocks).
Exploration on the Gydan Peninsula (Krasnoyarsk Krai and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug)
  • Joint venture established with Shell, targeting the Leskinsky and Pukhutsyayakhsky licence blocks.
  • 1,300 line km of 2D seismic data acquired.
  • First exploration well spudded in November 2020.
Karabashsky-zone exploration (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug–Yugra) through a joint venture with Repsol
  • A unique, multilateral well was drilled, with 7,675 m of reservoir exposed to the wellbore, and provisional test rates supporting our optimistic production projections.
Yuzhny Orenburg (Kornavarinsky, Nadezhdinsky, Solnechny and Zapadno-Rubezhinsky licence blocks, Orenburg Oblast)
  • 3D seismic survey completed for the licences within the project area, with 1,109 sq km of 3D data captured in 2020.
Yamburg, Achimov Formation (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Gazprom Dobycha Yamburg being the licence holder)
  • Four horizontal wells drilled, including one well with a 1.8 km horizontal section. This is the well where MPD (managed-pressure drilling) was successfully piloted to minimise wellbore issues and improve drilling efficiency.