Embamunaigaz: Still Up to the Mark
Malik Omirzak, President of Joint Stock Company Embamunaigaz
The joint-stock company Embamunaigaz, a subsidiary of Kazmunaigaz, is one of the oldest and largest domestic oil-producing companies. Today, the Emba oilmen are optimistic about their future, and keep their good traditions alive while pressing on towards new goals.
The company’s history is the history of the national oil industry. In 1911, well number 3 in the Dossor oilfield saw the first oil gusher. Following four years of oil production, a second oilfield, Makat, located 30 kilometres from Dossor, was found. That is why it really made sense when the country’s oilmen celebrated the 90th anniversary of commercial oil production in Kazakhstan on 30 June 2001 in Dossor.
The importance of Emba oil (the nickname honours the Emba River flowing there) can hardly be overestimated. During the World War II, this light oily crude whose output accounted for nearly one million tonnes by 1943, was poured directly into the gas tanks of military vehicles heading for the battle fronts. The majority of the old oilfields had been exploited for over 50 years, for new rich deposits were discovered only in the 70-s and 80-s of the previous century. Today, over two thirds of all oilfields of Embamunaigaz are in their late and final stages of development.
At present, the company is composed of six oil-and-gas production divisions (NGDUs): Zhaikneft, Dossorneft, Makatneft, Kainar, Kulsaryneft and Prorvaneft. The company is currently developing 34 fields with a total stock of 1,913 producing and 297 injection wells.
With old oilfields being its primary fixed assets, Embamunaigaz is steadily increasing oil production. Whereas the year 2002 saw 2,291,500 tonnes of oil produced, in 2001 the company reached 2,400,000 tonnes of crude production. The output amounted to 1,234,600 tonnes in the first half of 2002, against the target figure of 1,202,300 tonnes of crude oil. In 2002 the target output is 2,459,000 tonnes of crude.
The results achieved can be mainly attributed to the broad experience the company has acquired in increasing the effectiveness of the late stage oilfield development. One of the ways is making idle wells operational by side-tracking. Rehabilitation of an old well by side-tracking costs 25-115 million tenge less than drilling a new one. Being a pioneer in the use of this technology, Embamunaigaz plans to apply it in 2002 when launching four wells. By now, work has been completed at well No 2 in the Akingen oilfield and well No 250 in the Central East Prorva oilfield. The wells’ oil yield is high, and already by last August its costs had been compensated.
Embamunaigaz pays special attention to the timely workover and capital repair of equipment. Its two divisions are involved in enhancing oil recovery from reservoirs and wells after workover; their crews service the oilfields of all the six NGDUs allowing the overhaul period to be considerably expanded.
Additional seismic surveys are known to help determine the real reservoir models, and to further increment and ensure growing oil production. For this reason, the company has invested considerable funds in 3D seismic surveys of the Prorva, East Makat, Kisimbai and Kenbai oilfields. The costs of geophysical exploration in the Kenbai oilfield for the first half of the current year alone came to $700,000.
The Kenbai oilfield is the company’s largest deposit, with estimated oil reserves of 60m tonnes. The field has seen a growth in drilling operations. In 1999 the company had drilled 7 wells and 80 wells are planned for drilling this year. Eight rigs are used there: among them, there are rigs from the Kazmunaigaz-Bureniye drilling contractor, one of the founders of which is Embamunaigaz.
The development of Kenbai is complicated by the geophysical conditions of the deposits and high viscosity of oil there. However, Embamunaigaz has successfully overcome these problems. To stabilize oil output, both conventional methods and advanced technology of enhanced oil recovery have been applied. Among these is the cross-linked polymer injection for levelling the profiles of the intake capacities of wells; the treatment of bottom hole formation zones by selective gel-forming solution in order to limit the water production; acoustic and electrical effects for removing the colmatage from bottom hole zones; and thermo-implosive action for reducing oil viscosity. This year, plans are underway for using a highly promising technique for deeply penetrating formation fracturing. In the event of positive results, this work will continue in all of the company’s oilfields.
Embamunaigaz is constantly introducing Kazakhstani technological innovations into its oilfields. The company is not static, but flexible and open to innovations. Embamunaigaz facilitates the nation’s import substitution program by actively cooperating with local manufacturing companies. For example, 60% of the subsurface pumps used in the company’s fields are made by the Petropavlovsk Heavy Machine Building Plant (PZTM).
During the visit by Premier Tasmagambetov to the region, the possibility of manufacturing electrical screw pumps locally was under discussion in order to replace the current pumps made in Austria. At a joint technical meeting between specialists from Embamunaigaz and PZTM, a decision was taken to set up a joint venture for the manufacture of such pumps. Moreover, SBS of Austria and Screw Systems SME of Russia will join the project. PZTM is putting the project into action and purchasing equipment for the production of the electrical screw pumps. The two-year performance of such pumps has proved advantageous when compared with sucker rod pumps.
A healthy environment is a top priority for Embamunaigaz. The company is carrying out a broad range of activities aimed at cleaning the environment on its territory. While exploiting oilfields with an estimated reservoir life of many decades, Embamunaigaz has made considerable investment in environmental protection: 700.870m tenge in 2001 and the planned figure for 2002 is 722.363m tenge.
Upon coordination with environmental protection bodies, a number of conservancy measures are carried out every year. They include restoration of soil and oil storage pits contaminated with reduced crude; metal scrap picking; construction of conservations, etc. In this field, the company has achieved positive results: in the first half of 2002, 89,200 m2 of soil contaminated with reduced crude were restored, and 485 tonnes of metal scrap were picked. The number of oil storage pits has been reduced from 11 in 1999 to one in 2002. The work on oil disposal from the last oil storage pit is currently under way, after which an abandonment job will follow.
In recent years, all the company’s oilfields have ceased the discharge of produced water due to the smooth performance of all the departments and work teams maintaining the formation pressure. A new durable 5000 m3 mud collector became operational last year. It was constructed in compliance with the environmental legislation, that is, with a concrete coated bottom and walls, waterproofing, and manholes. Six more similar mud collectors of various capacities are currently under construction.In order to improve the environment, Embamunaigaz is working towards the application of environmentally friendly drilling mud systems based on bactericidal starch and Rhodopol 23, as well as applications of units for disposal of spent mud. A contract was signed for the delivery of a Streamline unit, which will be installed in the Kenbai oilfield.
For mud disposal, an Ustyurt mobile unit of domestic make has been acquired, which is scheduled to become operational in next September. To protect the sea from oil pollution, and oilfields from being flooded by the wind-driven waves of the Caspian Sea, the construction of dikes nearby oilfields is under way. Dikes totalling 77 km in length have already been built in the S.Balgimbayeva, South East Kamyshytovoye, South West Kamyshytovoye, Teren-Uzek and West Prorva oilfields.
The long-term environmental programs and an effective monitoring system have been developed with the help of specialists from the Kazakhstan Agency of Applied Ecology. The Emba region’s oilmen will spare neither effort nor resources in the conservation of the country’s environment for future generations.
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