Russia is one of the world's major producers of energy resources. Fully satisfying its domestic needs, our country is among the chief exporters of hydrocarbon fuels. In 2000 we produced 323 million tons of oil, which was a gain of 18 million tons over the previous year. Large investments totaling $6 billion have made it possible to reactivate 9,600 idle wells, which have already yielded over 12 million tons of crude, and to commission 3,300 new oil wells which have produced another 11 million tons of precious fuel. But our country, too, has to cope with the problem of residual pools. Mining oil from such pools is a laborious process because a significant part of them is located in flooded deposits and in low-permeability beds. Therefore nonconventional methods of extraction become necessary-namely, physicochemical, thermal and gas techniques, whereby another 42 million tons of crude was recovered in 2000.
An innovative and efficient technique of recovery has been suggested by the Institute of Petroleum Chemistry (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences). It applies above all to low-permeability and heterogeneous deposits at the final stage of development, and to deposits in high-viscosity beds; in such cases hydrocarbons are treated with special jelly-like composites (trademarks UXH-1, UKHKA - in Cyrillic) increasing the recovery of oil wells.
It goes without saying that chemical reagents used for this purpose should be ecologically safe and cause no irreversible changes of the environmental situation in oil-mining areas; and last but not least, such reagents should be low- cost.
It is very important to prospect for raw material sources of these reagents. Good headway toward this end is reported from two academic research centers - the Siberian Institutes of Petroleum Chemistry and of Solid Body and Mechanical Chemistry (RAS Siberian Branch)-that joined hands in this endeavor. Soluble products can be obtained from plant raws (cellulose and rice shucks) and from waste products of chemical and petrochemical enterprises, the coal industry of the Kuzbass mining district, and other sources.
All this range of problems was studied at a practical research conference held in the Siberian city of Tomsk, dealing with oil and gas extraction, treatment and transportation. This conference was sponsored by the Institute of Petroleum Chemistry (RAS Siberian Branch), LUKoil Company, Joint-Stock companies Vostokgazprom (gas mining), Tomsk-gazprom (gas mining) and other institutions. Taking part were scientists and practical experts from oil-producing districts of Russia and Kazakhstan. The conference was also attended by colleagues from Viet Nam.
Reports made there were instructive in more ways than one. They kept all those present up-to-date on R&D techniques both in our country and abroad, taking in a broad spectrum of research - from innovative
materials and technologies of enhancing oil recovery to various techniques of bottom-hole stimulation. Participants in the conference also considered problems related to the treatment and transportation of composite gas-oil mixtures as well as ecological problems. Ecology, by the way, elicited great interest at a round-table workshop held within the framework of the conference.
As Dr. Lyubov Altunina, Director of the Petroleum Chemistry Institute, has told your reporter, it was a very representative conference, a virtual blend of science and industry. It brought together basic research and practical scientists, experienced producers and raw beginners. All these people had an excellent chance to exchange know-how and learn much of the latest technologies.
- This scientific forum, says R. Shirgazin of LUKoil, was of immense significance. Each and every delegate could get to know lots of interesting things. For instance, what to do about declining and flooded oil fields; or how to use new physicochemical methods of bed stimulation. These techniques have made it possible to boost oil output by 10 percent. That is why we, oilmen, always show much interest in innovative suggestions of the scientific community.
Experts from other countries, Kazakhstan in particular, have benefited just as much. As Ye. Aubekerov, representing that former Soviet republic, says, his colleagues had an opportunity to draw on the latest achievements in the oil- mining industry and forge business contacts with Russian counterparts, a good basis for future joint ventures.
Nauka v Sibiri (Science in Siberia), 2001
Prepared by Emma SOLOMATINA
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