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No. 4, 2012

Stanislav Slyusarev

PERM INNOVATIONS IN ACTION


The enterprises success is guaranteed by active practical application of various innovative developments

The annual increase in the volumes of oil and gas production and the constant increase in the recoverable reserves of hydrocarbons are the main indicators of JSC LUKOIL-PERM's successful activities.

In the technological forefront

Over the last ten years, more than forty oil fields with reserves of 26 million tons have been discovered in a region already well surveyed from the geological point of view. New techniques allowed the Perm oilmen to look at long since discovered formations from a different angle and find what previously remained "off the screen". Moreover, in Kama Region, they managed to achieve 100 per cent success in exploratory drilling - for several years now, all their exploratory wells have been productive. In the near future, it is planned to launch drilling small-diameter exploratory and production wells on part of the fields. This efficient technology will allow development where construction of ordinary wells does not justify the costs involved or where drilling needs to be carried out within the bounds of existing cluster sites. At its facilities, the enterprise is regularly applying new trends in hydrofracturing technologies and plans to start multi-zone rock hydrofracturing soon, in order to ensure maximum contact with reservoirs and increase well flow rates substantially.

For the purpose of further improving of the main production processes, a center has been set up at the company for collective situations analysis, consisting of an innovative high-tech software and hardware complex for performing a broad range of works and conferences of any level. With the help of the center, equipped for two-dimensional and three-dimensional visualization of geological and geo-physical data, joint expert assessments are conducted at the company geological and hydro-dynamic models as well as comprehensive expert reviews of data interpretation results and model-building of geological facilities, design of well trajectories, a search for unworked reserves and promising sectors, and analysis of financial and economic indicators of projects in the sphere of field exploration, development and production.

In 2011 the Perm oilmen were the first in the country to introduce an intelligent field project, this being a fundamentally new oil production complex for on-line monitoring and remote control of the production process, with minimum service personnel participation. By means of this bold technological innovation, JSC LUKOIL-PERM not only demonstrated a non-standard approach to fulfilling the tasks facing the industry, but also offered basically a revolutionary new approach to developing oil fields, the essence of which lies in increasing labor productivity.

Working Towards A Result

At a number of other LUKOIL-PERM fields, micro-turbine power plants are being introduced that are based on units made by the American firm Capstone, which work on associated gas. This equipment, first tried out by the enterprise in 2009, has already proved its efficiency at remote and low yield oil production sites. So far, five micro-turbine power plants have already been introduced at the LUKOIL-PERM Group fields and, by the end of the year, there will be another four such units in operation.

Pumps manufactured by the German firm Sulzer, which are new to Russia, have been introduced in four oil and gas production departments of JSC LUKOIL-PERM all at once and they have reduced substantially the producers' operating and energy costs. The new units are unique as their blade wheels are located back-to-back. Moreover, the service life of this equipment is at least twenty years, whereas an ordinary pump lasts for only a third of this. The warranty period is also impressive: the innovation will require an overhaul only in 12-13 years.

A Creative Approach

A distinguishing feature of the Perm enterprise is considered to be the fact that ideas often arise thanks to the creativity of its workers themselves. It is fortunate that all the necessary conditions have been created at the company for employees to be guided along a scientific and technical path. And this brings its fruits. For instance Sergey Semiekhin a young specialist in the Chief Power Engineer Department and a recent prize-winner of the annual competition held by the enterprise for the best energy-saving idea, put forward a concept for compensation of reactive power. Its implementation has reduced the electric power used by the production facility by up to 2%.

It is still to be established what benefit will come from a development by another competition winner, Vladimir Rusin, head of the EC&I service of Oil and Gas Production Department No. 2. Even so, the author's calculations indicated that the annual saving might, for just one production department, amount to 266,000 kWh. A regular trailblazer, who has already had several dozen innovation proposals implemented to his credit, Vladimir thought up a way of cutting production facility maintenance costs. He proposed heating control and measurement instruments premises with self-regulating heating cables, which are easy to install within electronic devices rather than to heat them with electric furnaces, which cost a lot to run. The most vulnerable to the weather conditions are controllers used in automated control systems. Practice shows that the micro-processors inside them do not always stand up to the minimum temperatures stated in the instrument's characteristics. Addition to these of a few centimeters of a special cable with a resistance sensitive to the air temperature is a cheap and effective way to get rid of many "freeze-time" problems. The innovation's author has not only successfully implemented his idea at the production sector for which he is responsible but has also had the manufacturer of the controllers agree to a modification of their design.

The rationalization movement is one of the important ways to make the oil production company more efficient. For the oilmen of the region, where many of the fields are in the later development stages, innovation is, of course, absolutely vital. Every year, several dozen people put forward their ideas and the majority of these projects are ultimately put into production.

Within LUKOIL-PERM, the ideas behind scientific and technical developments occur both on the oil fields and at the work places. Suffice it to say that the company has, today, intangible assets consisting of 25 patents to inventions and 11 patents for useful models. Last year, at one of the oil fields, they thought up a modernized stuffing box for MDS-10 dewaxing units. These device ensures the required hermetic sealing of the well mouth and thus precludes accidents connected with possible oil spills and gas leaks. As a result, this equipment is successfully operating at four wells and a relevant patent was recently issued for a "Lubricator Stuffing Box" useful model.

A creative approach to fulfilling production tasks is demonstrated not only by individual authors but also by whole teams. Recently, engineers of several technical departments of the enterprise's administration improved the drive of the team pumping unit for stripper wells. As an alternative to the current one, they developed a low capacity arc-stator motor (about 5 KW), with the requisite torque factor given 100-200 revolutions a minute. This resulted in a rise in the efficiency of the team pumping unit drive along with, a reduction in the capacity of the electromechanical transducer and the load on the bearing units.

The enterprise intends to roll out these and other promising devices on a serial production basis and receive substantial profits "on the side". Currently, LUKOIL-PERM already has ten agreements in place for sale of licenses for other organizations to use inventions or useful models. Moreover, the term of some of these agreements exceeds ten or more years.

It is not surprising that, in the first half of 2012, LUKOIL-PERM outstripped its previous indicators for production of both oil (by 6%), and gas (by 21%). In addition, 40% more rock has been drilled. By the end of the year, the company plans to produce over 13, 300,000 tons of oil and 1 billion 210 million m3 of gas. Considering the Perm oilmen's technical innovation endeavors, it is quite likely that these indicators are far from their limit.




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Oil of Russia, No. 4, 2012
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