Deep oil

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Regardless of the direction of development and changes in the energy sector, the World’s economies will rely primarily on natural resources for at least the next 20 years and very likely beyond. Actually, the resources of hydrocarbons «in place» in comparison with consumption are almost inexhaustible, so the question is only in the cost of production. For this reason, the exploration for new commercial fields that can «withstand» price volatility over a long period of time will play a critical role. At the same time, one of the most promising areas is the exploration of the new super-deep (more than 6000 m.) oil and gas accumulations.

The information presently accumulated by geologists allows a high probability of finding profitable reserves, including liquid hydrocarbons, in ultra-deep horizons that were previously considered non-perspective due to extremely adverse thermobaric conditions. Commercial oil and gas potential of various sedimentary formations in such conditions is established for more than 70 basins around the world. There are large and giant gas, gas condensate, oil and mixed «phase-heterogeneous» fields, of which more than 1,200 are already being developed. Over the past 10 years, the most significant success has been achieved in the Gulf of Mexico (USA, Mexico), the Tarim and Sichuan basins (China), the South Caspian basin (Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan), the Santos basin (Brazil), and the Arab basin (Middle East). More than 120 hydrocarbon fields were discovered and most of them have yet to prove their commerciality.

Pre Caspian basin is one of the most prospective regions, where deep horizons are poorly explored. For a better understanding of its potential, statistics on 106 clastic and 36 carbonate fields was collected, and 22 Paleozoic basins were considered as analogs. Data from 15084 documents with varying degrees of significance was taken into consideration; and elements of Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing were applied. Their simultaneous interactive analysis allowed to identify several possible analogues for Pre-Caspian basin and to justify the exceptionally high perspectives of its ultra-deep horizons.

Many analysts identify three strategic directions for E&P activities. The first type includes new perspective horizons in new basins, the second direction is associated with new reservoirs in already known oil and gas basins, and the last, third type includes prospects in already known productive sections of previously explored basins. Pre Caspian basin to some extent, corresponds to all three groups, but mainly – to the second and third. Main interest is associated with well-studied Devonian reservoirs on the periphery, rapidly dropping towards the center of the basin, or with almost unexplored to date lower Paleozoic horizons. This article opens a series of publications devoted to the topic of discovery and development of ultra-deep hydrocarbons.

About the authors

K. O. Iskaziyev

АО «Разведка и Добыча «КазМунайГаз»

Author for correspondence.

канд. геол.-мин. наук, профессор, генеральный директор Председатель Правления

Kazakhstan, Нур-Султан

P. E. Syngayevski

Noble Energy


канд. геол.-мин. наук, старший советник, петрофизик

United States, Houston, Texas

S. F. Khafizov

РГУ нефти и газа им. Губкина


докт. геол.-мин. наук, профессор, заведующий кафедрой поисков и разведки нефти и газа

Russian Federation, Москва


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Copyright (c) 2020 Iskaziyev K.O., Syngayevski P.E., Khafizov S.F.

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