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Ongoing development of Yaregskoye oil field
Yaregskoye oil field located in the very centre of the Komi Republic is unique in its deposits of the so-called heavy, or highly-viscous oil. It was discovered almost 90 years ago; during its long history, the field has been deemed not so promising on a number of occasions, and the development was paused several times.
Yaregskoye oil field was discovered in 1932, almost accidentally. Exploration geologists were expecting to find natural gas in this area, but two wells brought up oil instead. And the oil was coming from great depth.
What "rescued" the field was the introduction of the oil reservoir heating method in the late 1960s–early 1970s. The method involves the injection of hot steam (up to 200°C) into the reservoir; heated oil becomes less viscous and heavy, and it's easier to "lift" it to the ground. Thanks to this method, the oil recovery factor became several times higher; at the same time, modern infrastructure objects were being constructed to accommodate the high levels of oil recovery.
Since 2003, field development is conducted by Yareganeft, part of LUKOIL-Komi.
The field currently produces around 1.6 million tons of heavy oil per year. According to the latest data, Yarega's remaining oil reserves are 215 million tons (previously estimated as 131.8 million tons), including 91 million tons of recoverable reserves.
This means the development of the field can continue until at least 2059.
Current oil production levels in Yarega are not the highest possible. LUKOIL-Komi expects them to grow at least 3.5 times higher in the next few years. But that requires using the latest technologies and methods.
The company is planning to invest over RUB 6.7 billion just into modernising the underground mining complex. Aboveground infrastructure will also be modernised and improved. For instance, in autumn 2019 Glavgosexpertiza approved the project for the second stage of infrastructure development in Yaregskoye oil field.
In the past, heavy Yarega oil could only be transported in railroad tanks. Later on, Yaregskoye constructed a modern heat-insulated pipeline going from Yarega to Ukhta, and created modern oil heating sites. It helps speed up the transportation of heavy Yarega oil from the field to processing centres.
LUKOIL is planning to invest over RUB 6.7 billion into modernising the underground mining complex. As a result, oil production levels will grow at least 3.5 times higher