TNK-BP's Samotlor Declared World's Sixth Biggest Field

Three Russian oil fields are listed among the world twenty biggest fields by IHS CERA, an international research company. Experts from IHS CERA compared output from various fields and declared Ghawar, a Saudi Arabian field the world's biggest, Kuwait Burgan ranked second and Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (Azerbaijan) came in third. The list contains three Russian Western Siberian fields: Samotlor (TNK-BP), Priobskoye (Rosneft and Gazpromneft) and Fedorovsko-Surgutskoye (Surgutneftegaz). To be fair, the second and third Russian fields are split into parts.

Samotlor is leading in terms of production with 37.4 million tons per annum and cumulative production since the start-up in 1969 of about 2.6 billion tons. Its proven residual reserves are 545 million tons. The field is 80% depleted with water-cut exceeding 90%. According to a TNK-BP representative, the field production has stabilized over the past 4–5 years after a period of decline, and the company intends to support production through an aggressive exploration program and application of cutting-edge technologies. Valery Nesterov, an analyst with Troika Dialogue, also has faith in the future of Samotlor: "Well rates have come down from 12.7 tons per day in 2004 to the current 9 tons per day but the field may be producing till the end of this century and Samotlor would be featuring in international ratings for another decade."

Fedorovsko-Surgutskoye (20 million tons per annum) is the principal 'odd man out', according to Vitaly Gromadin, an analyst with Arbat Capital, given that its peak production was in 1980-ies. Priobskoye (32.4 million tons per annum) enjoys the highest upside potential, it was put on stream only in recent years and its reserves depletion does not exceed 15%. Nesterov is confident that “the field production is ramping up and is due to reach a peak of 45–48 million tons per annum. Priobskoye is due to see its rating upgraded.” According to Gromadin, the only Russian oil field that may get high ratings is Rosneft-owned Vankorskoye (its formal launch is scheduled for today). Rosneft plans to produce about 23 million tons per annum by the year of 2013.


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