Gazprom Neft, Skolkovo to establish digital lab for modeling multiphase flow solutions

By Tim Shea

Industry Trends

ARC has been covering the market for multiphase flow solutions, including virtual flow metering, for several years now and has periodically blogged on the importance of testing and validation of the accuracy of the metering solutions as well as standards development and how that would help improve adoption among operators and independents. 

Partnership designed to enhance multiphase flow solutions

The Science and Technology Center of Gazprom Neft and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology signed a collaboration agreement back in June under which the parties have agreed to collaborate further on joint research and innovation/entrepreneurship activities.   Part of the agreement includes forming a new digital lab to conduct research into modeling multiphase systems in oil & gas. This team will be led by Professor Andrei Osiptsov and based in the Skoltech Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery, which is managed by Professor Mikhail Spasennykh.

multiphase flow solutions from Gazprom Neft and Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
Caption: Mars Khasanov, managing director of Gazprom Neft Science & Technology Center and Director for Technology of Gazprom Neft, and Skoltech President Alexander Kuleshov (Photo: Skoltech)


The new lab will focus on researching the modeling of complex flows of multiphase media (oil, gas, water, solid particles) to develop the most effective technologies for field development at each stage, from conceptual planning to brownfield. This will be the first joint platform to run research into multiphase flow modeling for Gazprom Neft with minimal use of imported information technologies to develop prototypes of Russian modeling software packages.

Skoltech has been one of Gazprom Neft’s key scientific partners for a number of years, running a portfolio of joint industry projects in geology, designing new super-hard materials, machine learning and data science technologies, as well as digital modeling.

Holistic approach taken to model upstream value chain

The lab for modeling multiphase systems will be established as part of Skoltech’s Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery.  The research conducted by the new entity will focus on developing complex integrated models for fluid mechanics processes at each stage of field development, as well as for unconventional and hard-to-recover reserves. The full portfolio of upstream technologies will be covered, from drilling, cementing, and cleanup to multi-stage fracturing in near-horizontal wells, flowback, and transient production regimes.

To model the joint motion of fluids and gases, one needs to take into account numerous effects.  This requires applying new digital instruments and deep academic knowledge from the area of dynamics of multiphase media and numerical methods.  Currently, this modeling typically requires acquiring commercial software.  However, no particular product allows one to model, plan, and control the full cycle of technology application from conceptual modeling to the late stage of field development. The new lab aims to develop new integrated Russian products for modeling the full cycle of technological applications.

Digital twins help improve performance and reduce costs

The application of digital models helps to replace expensive physical experiments by using digital twins, which enable one to effectively manage the processes of field development, cut costs, and improve the accuracy and reliability of forecasts of the impact of various factors and technologies on the oil recovery process.

The agreement also stipulates the joint participation of Gapromneft STC and Skoltech in contests, grant calls, and tenders for science-rich innovative technologies, joint work on educational programs, and organizing joint science forums, workshops, and other events.

ARC has always been a strong proponent of standards, standardization, testing and the adoption of any technology or work process that will empower industrial organizations to improve operations, increase employee productivity, and/or improve profitability.  ARC encourages owner-operators and independents to continue developing an ecosystem of multiphase flow metering stakeholders.  Ideally, this ecosystem should include suppliers, standards and testing organizations, and others to ensure the development of best-of-breed multiphase flow solutions to help achieve operational excellence.

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