Kazakhstan has identified 230 possible technology solutions to address prime challenge areas the oil and gas industry faces in the country. The technologies are related to reservoir characterization, field equipment, fluid flow and processing, well and field management, and HSE and operations.
The identified technologies are part of the 2013 Kazakhstan Upstream Oil and Gas Technology and R&D Roadmap. The 15 prime challenges all stem from the subsurface characteristics in Kazakhstan (the geology and hydrocarbon fluid composition), complicated by conditions on the surface like the harsh environment and logistics.
Roughly 80% of Kazakhstan’s oil and gas reserves are in sub-salt carbonate or terrigenous sediments with significant heterogeneity.
“The reservoirs in our assets are at high pressure (ca 750 bar) and contain lethal levels of H2S, up to 16% in the Kashagan field. The presence of H2S is a constraint for simultaneous operations (drilling, construction, production, and maintenance activities) and thus affects productivity,” said Daniele Bertorelli, executive vice president, Central Asia, Eni, which is involved in the development of two major oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan: Karachaganak and Kashagan.
Bertorelli said reservoir complexity and high pressure make things difficult for operators and require cutting-edge technology.
“The sour gas reinjection pressures are also pushing the technology boundaries of the industry,” he said. “Also, the Republic is a landlocked nation that requires innovative solutions to bring process modules into the Caspian through the canal system.”
As part of the R&D and Technology Roadmap, Shell and the National Oil Company of Kazakhstan, KazMunaiGas (KMG), along with the newly established Scientific Research Institute for Drilling and Production Technology, are directly addressing one of the challenges related to reservoir geochemistry. In a memorandum of understanding signed in October 2013, Shell and KMG agreed to establish a center of excellence in geochemical studies at a laboratory complex in Atyrau that is due to be commissioned by the end of 2014.
The new laboratory complex will provide geochemical services and research for exploration, development, and production. The technology will focus on issues faced in Kazakhstan fields such as high water cut, decreasing production, and relatively low recovery rates.
Abdelghani Henni is the Middle East Editor for the Journal of Petroleum Technology.