Phase-1 of the Eurasia Project will be Completed by the End of this Year
Baltabek Kuandykov, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, President of the Kazakhstan Society of Petroleum Geologists, General Coordinator of the Eurasia project, in an exclusive interview with Petroleum, tells about the history, current state, and prospects of an ultra-deep well drilling project in the Caspian Basin.
Mr. Kuandykov, a few years ago, Kazakhstani scientists conducted a reassessment of Kazakhstan's oil and gas resource potential. It resulted in a new Atlas of oil and gas and promising sedimentary basins of the Republic of Kazakhstan, for which, by the way, you, together with your colleagues, received a State Prize. Meaning that the country's hydrocarbon potential is still quite large and has not been developed. Why drill into the thickness of the earth fifteen kilometers deep, as the Eurasia project suggests?
– In 2009-2010, Kazakhstan carried out work on a comprehensive study and assessment of the prospects of territories and resource bases for oil and gas of fifteen sedimentary basins of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Within the framework of this work, the data of prospecting and areal geological and geophysical works, prospecting and exploration drilling, and the integration of various types of research were summarized.
In particular, it is predicted that within the Caspian Basin, mainly at great depths of the pre-salt complex, which are poorly studied, about 80% of the total amount of hydrocarbon resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan may be concentrated. In addition, according to well-known analysts from around the world, the Caspian Basin may have significant resources (more than 40 bln tons of conventional fuel) of hydrocarbon raw materials, with the possibility of detecting about two dozen large and giant hydrocarbon deposits in poorly studied and deep-lying pre-salt deposits. At the same time, it is noted that the main resources can be concentrated at depths of 7-10 kilometers or deeper.
The Caspian Basin has been studied in detail to depths of 4-5 kilometers by previously performed geological exploration, so the probability of discovering large deposits of hydrocarbons at such depths is considered minimal. Large discovered Tiber and Deepwater Horizon deposits in the Gulf of Mexico (at depths of more than 10 kilometers), the discovery of oil deposits at the Luntan-1 well in the Tarim basin in China at a depth of more than 9 kilometers, and others can serve as evidence of the presence of sizeable light oil deposits at great depths (7 kilometers and deeper) of sedimentary basins.
For the final assessment of the prospects of the deep-lying pre-salt deposits of the Caspian Depression, within the framework of the Eurasia project, it is proposed to conduct special regional geological exploration using advanced, efficient, high-tech, and innovative exploration technologies that allow reliably studying the geological structure of the depression up to 20-25 kilometers, drilling one ultra-deep prospecting well to link all geological and geophysical materials and identify new large hydrocarbon deposits, and so on.
To solve the tasks of the Eurasia project, it is planned to carry out work in three phases:
Phase-1. Collection, analysis, re-processing, and reinterpretation of regional, previously conducted, mainly in Soviet times, geological and geophysical data (gravics, magnetics, electrical prospecting, radiometry, seismic CDPM, and CRM surveys and other methods of remote Earth sensing) and data from previously drilled deep and ultra-deep wells. The main goal of Phase 1 is to identify the most promising sites for deep-lying objects and develop programs for further exploration. Phase 1 works are carried out on land and include the southern sea part of the Caspian Basin. The term of work is 18 months.
Phase-2. Development of new large-scale regional seismic profiles in the volume of more than 8000 linear kilometers, non-seismic aero geophysical studies, and remote sensing of the Earth on an area of up to 100,000 square kilometers processing and interpretation of the data obtained using advanced modern innovative technologies for reliable, in-depth geological study of the promising regions up to a depth of 20-25 kilometers and search for deep-lying (7 kilometers or more) intra-basin perspective objects (sections of large arched uplifts, rubble zones, objects with block structures) on deep-lying pre-salt deposits. The term of work is 30-36 months.
Phase No.3 Drilling of an ultra-deep prospecting well with a depth of up to 15,000 meters on one of the selected profiles by ranking the prospects of structures identified at great depths of a promising pre-salt section and for accurate linking of all available and obtained geophysical data. The term of work is 36 months.