Life in the ice age for OVL in western Siberia

Vol 14, PW 6 (09 Sep 10) People & Policy

Freezing winter temperatures of up to -21 degrees Celsius aren’t the only thing troubling ONGC Videsh in western Siberia.

For the dozen or so OVL staff working in Tomsk at former UK-listed Imperial Energy it could become bleaker as realisation dawns that a self-imposed 25,000 b/d production target from four fields by the end of this year won’t be met. “The fields are not that good,” we hear.

“The reservoir is very ‘tight’ and OVL will need to deploy new technology.” Imperial today produces just 16,000 b/d from four fields - around 80% of this comes from 50 wells in the Maiskoye field.

“By the end of this year total production will remain only marginally above 16,000 b/d, below expectations.” adds a source.

“No one can say yet when it will rise beyond that.” When OVL bought Imperial in 2008 for $2.1bn, it based its valuation on peak output of 80,000 b/d.

To boost production, work is underway to begin a 15-well ‘hydro-fracturing’ campaign in January next year, through Halliburton and Schlumberger, and OVL’s own ‘hydro-fracturing’ vehicles. “You can’t mobilise in the summer,” we hear.

“This is a very swampy area. Only in December when it freezes can you transport these heavy (‘hydro-fracturing’) vehicles on the ice.

” Halliburton will carry out ‘multiple-fracturing’ – a first for ONGC using this technology; Schlumberger and ONGC, with its own ‘hydro-fracturing’ vehicles, will carry out ‘normal fracturing’. Beginning at the Maiskoye field, the ‘hydro-fracturing’ programme will move 200-km to the Snezhnoye and Dvoinoye fields, just 25-km apart.

OVL estimates it will need up to four days to ‘frac’ each well, followed by a 15-day workover – hopefully resulting in more production. “Depending on the initial results,” we hear, “OVL might ‘frac’ more wells.