Russia's Samotlor to produce 90 more years

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, Apr. 3 -- Western Siberia's supergiant Samotlor field should continue to produce until the year 2099, said the TNK-BP Russian amalgam, which plans to invest $1 billion/year through 2011 to sustain it.

Samotlor, discovered in 1965, on marshlands and taiga in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous area just north of Nizhnevartovsk in the Tyumen region, has produced 19.2 billion bbl of oil since development began in 1969, TNK BP said.

The latest study found remaining recoverable volumes of more than 7 billion bbl of oil and 3.53 tcf of gas. Samotlor is one of the world's five largest oil fields, TNK-BP said.

Apr. 3, the 40th anniversary of Samotlor's commercial development, finds the field producing 582,750 b/d. TNK-BP said its efforts should maintain production at or slightly above this level at least until 2012 even though decline rates are accelerating in the field's most mature parts.

Production peaked in 1980 at nearly 3.2 million b/d, almost half of Russia's output, and had fallen to 400,000 b/d by 1999. Samotlor has 13,400 oil wells and 4,500 injection wells.

Under a development plan approved in 2005 by Rosnedra, Russia's agency for subsoil use, the existing well stock and certain specific exploration and technological activities will account for just over 70% of production in the next 90 years. The rest will come from access to new reserves in field extensions and application of advanced technologies.

Samotlorneftegaz and TNK-Nizhnevartovsk, incorporated into TNK-BP, took over operation of the field in 2003. TNK-BP's license runs until 2038.

Since 2003, it has reactivated more than 1,250 idle wells, pumped hydrofracs at workovers, run electric submersible pumps, and drilled sidetracks.

It is near completion of 4,000 sq km of 3D seismic from which it has identified numerous satellite structures, five of which are under development with extended reach drilling. One satellite, Ust-Vakh, has yielded more than 46.5 million bbl of oil in 5 years with 100 million bbl left to recover.

Samotlor's ultimate recovery was estimated at 15 billion bbl of oil in a 1986 compilation by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. It listed the producing formation as a Cretaceous sandstone at 7,300 ft.

The US Energy Information Administration in 1997 gave Samotlor's EUR as 24.7 billion bbl of oil, 11.9 tcf of associated gas, and 3.2 tcf of nonassociated gas.

Contact Alan Petzet at alanp@ogjonline.com.

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