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RITEK: Intensive technologies of oil production

The Russian Innovation Fuel-and-Energy Joint-Stock Company  (RITEK JSC) is known in the Russian and world markets for its successful experience of combining the efficient oil production with multi-type services and production activity.

RITEK is among Russia's most dynamically developing and high-tech oil production companies. Along with production activity the company is successfully establishing its own scientific and technological structures, which are engaged in conducting research, developing technologies, producing and applying chemical reagents. These structures also manufacture oil field machinery and equipment of the new generation designed for using technologies to raise oil recovery and they introduce complex methods to effectively develop difficult-to-recover reserves.

Having started its market operations in 1992 RITEK set the goal of creating a competitive environment for foreign oil field services companies and restoring the reserve of idle wells at Russian oil fields. These tasks have been successfully accomplished thanks to the use of new technologies that increase the productivity of restored wells as well as the volume of oil recovery from ineffective reservoirs. After having maintained and strengthened its trademark of an innovation company RITEK made a strategic decision to get the status of a subsoil user and obtain its own licensed fields and sections. In 1994 the company established the needed production capacities and obtained, on a competitive basis, its first license to produce oil and gas in the district of Kogalym. At present, RITEK owns 25 licensed sections that contain 27 fields and 5 exploratory areas with the total reserves of hydrocarbon raw materials of about 1 billion tons. Their potential reserves are estimated at more than 920 million tons.

Developing oil fields and producing oil in Western Siberia and Tatarstan are being done by personnel of the company's oil-and-gas production administrations as well as by its scientific and production subsidiaries. In 2003 the oil production volume at the RITEK complex of enterprises amounted to 2.9 million tons. The existing mid-term plans provide for increasing this volume up to between 5 and 6 million tons. RITEK independently settles questions of preparatory works, stocking and transporting its own oil. The company has constructed a number of oil pipelines and terminals that have made it possible to optimize transporting recovered resources to the Transneft system of trunk oil pipelines.

The very characteristics of oil fields being developed by the company (low productivity, complex geological structure, difficult-to-recover reserves) made RITEK adopt active introduction of innovation methods of oil production as the basis of its strategy. Precisely because of it a considerable amount of profit from selling company's products goes to developing complex innovation methods of efficiently extracting difficult-to-recover oil reserves that account for one third of the production volume at its enterprises.

The main competitive advantage of RITEK is its innovation nature. The company has set up scientific and production centers in order to intensify the innovation activity that plays the key role in the company's growth. Innovations provide an effective alternative to standard field-developing methods that require significantly more investments. They also improve the reliability and ecological safety of oil production. New kinds of reagents and oil-field equipment being worked out by the company's subsidiaries allow to effectively develop the most complex oil fields.

Along with developing the raw material base, recovering oil at the fields in the northern part of Western Siberia and establishing there a multi-type production and transport infrastructure, the most important direction of RITEK activity is to promote its own innovation technologies of improving oil recovery for their use on a mass scale in Russia and abroad, including exporting technologies and equipment to countries of Asia and the Middle East as well as further widening the range of services for oil companies.

RITIN-10 polymer-helium system

After four years of laboratory research and field tests financed by RITEK a unique technology of raising oil recovery through the use of the RITIN-10 material has been developed and is now being successfully introduced. Patents for producing this material and the technology of its use belong to RITEK JSC. The important advantage of the reagent and the technology is that the polymer brought to well is already prepared for use: its lacing that requires special conditions is done at the plant. The essence of the technology is that the reagent is locked in water and pumped into an injection well. While it is moving, the polymer-helium system is formed. Getting into a stratum this system starts to tampon highly permeable washed zones. As a result, water after being pumped there later gets to the less permeable zones of the stratum forcing oil out of them. This way the water encroachment of the product is reduced while the coefficient of oil recovery increases.

The RITIN-10 material is produced at the company's own production base in the town of Electrogorsk near Moscow. By the end of 2003 this technology was applied at over 250 injection wells in Russia, Byelorussia and Oman. On average, its use resulted in over 2,000 tons of extra produced oil per one well operation and in some cases the volume reached 10,000 tons. As for recouping expenses on the application of the technology it takes on average from 1 to 3 months in Russia and just several weeks for those companies that sell oil at world prices.

The RITIN polymer-helium system is used equally at the late stage of developing oil fields and right after their development is started. In the first case, it results in the decrease of the water encroachment of the product and, in the second case, a longer period of well waterless operation is achieved.

This technology is successfully used in Oman as well. RITEK JSC is introducing its innovation technologies jointly with Oman's company Hamed International.

Нaving entered the Middle East market in 2001 and having become the first Russian services company that managed to realize its intellectual potential there RITEK JSC carried out works on indicator research, which allowed to determine stratum parameters and hydrodynamic link between wells. A project was developed on the basis of this information and works were done to pump the polymer-helium system into a stratum at one of the oil fields. The result justified all hopes: in 7 months the level of oil recovery increased 30% at the site where the technology was applied. During this period the extra production of oil amounted to 20,000 tons. These works caused a lot of interest in other countries of the Persian Gulf. Beside their high efficiency, the technologies of RITEK advantageously differ from those of its competitors by their relatively low cost and high efficiency.

In their joint work with the Oman partner RITEK specialists provide assistance in raising oil recovery with the use of the reagent, sort out experimental sites, examine structures of reserves and determine the necessity of pumping.

RITEK has already received proposals of business cooperation from Bahrain, Libya and Saudi Arabia.

As a number of the long-developed fields with a high degree of water encroachment grows in the region, the technologies will, objectively speaking, enjoy the ever increasing demand in such countries as Iraq, Iran and Kuwait, among others.

Today, however, RITEK is concentrating its innovation efforts not only on chemical technologies of raising oil recovery but also on developing a new highly efficient machinery for oil production.

New generation of oil field machinery

In the conditions of the gradually decreasing raw material base the growth of oil production becomes more and more dependent not on commissioning new wells but on more efficient use of those that already exist. At the same time, therole of mechanized methods to recover oil and, above all, by submersible centrifugal and screw pumps is becoming much more important.

In recent years replacing traditional asynchronous electric motors of the PEM type with valve and inductor motors has become one of the ways to upgrade electric drives of the submersible centrifugal and screw pump installations (ISCP and ISSP). This replacement is especially required, when, due to technological considerations, there is a need to change rotation frequency while in operation. As compared with asynchronous motors, ISCP and ISSP with valve drives have better resource and energy characteristics.

Valve motors were invented quite a long time ago but their wide use in oil-recovering equipment has become possible only thanks to the latest achievements in microelectronics, power electronics and software control instruments.

In order to develop oil-recovery equipment of a new generation on the basis of valve motors the Innovation Technological Center was set up at RITEK in 2000. Since 2003 it has been the independent enterprise RITEK-ITC LLC with a 100% participation of RITEK JSC in its authorized capital.

The valve electric drive developed by RITEK-ITC LLC consists of valve electric motor of the VM type with rotor having permanent magnets and the RITEKS-10 control station, which feeds the stator's winding by the special algorithm.

Valve electric motors can regulate the frequency of rotation within a wide range. RITEK-ITC LLC has developed and has been making drives with the regulated range of rotation frequency of up to 3,500 RPM. This allows to use them along with submersible units with conventional centrifugal and screw pumps as well as with water protection.

Valve electric motors allowed to considerably improve functional characteristics of drives of submersible pumps. They have a "soft" start-up; they let smoothly regulate motor rotations and, thus, control rates of oil withdrawal from well while keeping high economic indexes and avoiding changes in parameters of equipment to be installed inside the well. The introduction of ISCP with valve drive made it possible to increase the duration of the "till the breakdown" operation as compared with those having asynchronous drives.

At present, the development of the system, which can be operated in the automatic regime, is being completed. The feedback is provided by pressure sensors on pump installation.

The use of VM allowed also to improve resource indexes of submersible installations. Valve electric motors successfully operate in wells with low deliveries and unstable inflows, which do not ensure the speed of cooling liquid flow required for PEM. Besides, the use of valve motors permits to do practically unlimited number of operations for starting and stopping ISCP or ISSP.

Developed by RITEK-ITC LLC the complete drive of a centrifugal pump based on valve motor allows to reduce power inputs. The total saving on power consumption amounts up to between 20% and 25%. The increase of power-saving characteristics of the VM-based ISCP makes a significant contribution to solving the problem of reducing the prime cost of oil recovery.

Electric drives for submersible centrifugal and screw pumps based on valve motors were displayed quite a few times at international specialized exhibitions and forums with the participation of foreign oil-producing companies. They caused much interest among specialists not only from Russian oil firms but also from the foreign ones. Representatives of other industries were also interested. These products were awarded a number of medals, diplomas and certificates.

The main engineering solutions applied to structures and technologies of manufacturing valve drives contain know-how and they are equated with inventions. They are protected by certificates and patents of the Russian Federation, which are owned by RITEK JSC and LUKOIL JSC.

In March 2001 field acceptance tests of valve drives were successfully completed. Since December 2001 specialized enterprises have been manufacturing them on the commercial basis.

As of May 25, 2004, there were 88 wells in operation with the use of VM-based ISCP at oil-producing enterprises in Western Siberia and the Republic of Komi. The maximum current non-failure operating time of ISCP amounted to 790 days.

One of the ways to increase efficiency of recovering high-viscosity oil is to lower the frequency of rotation of submersible screw pumps with underdrives from 1500 RPM down to the regulated range of 250 RPM to 1,000 RPM.

RITEK-ITC LLC developed and manufactured a reductor-free, slow-speed regulated electric drive for submersible screw pump (ISSP). At present, two such drives are being in operation at wells in the Republic of Komi. As of May 25, 2004, the current non-failure operating time of ISSP with a slow-speed valve drive amounts to 170 days at wells, where the between-repairs period for mass-produced ISSP comes up to 32 days.

By today the question of establishing the joint Russian-German enterprise RN- Complex Pump Equipment LLC by RITEK-ITC and Germany's NETZSCH has been settled. The major task of this joint venture is to develop and arrange production of a fundamentally new installation for recovering high-viscosity oil. This installation will have NETZSCH-made submersible screw pumps and special drives for them that have been developed by RITEK-ITC LLC. As marketing studies prove, the new complete pump plant designed to recover high-viscosity oil will have a high demand in world market and, particularly, in the U.S., Canada, Venezuela, India, the Middle East and other regions.

Innovation research and developments, a wide range of services are the priority strategic tasks of RITEK JSC. The company possesses the necessary intellectual potential and practical experience. Its plans are extensive and there are all the chances to maintain the present dynamics of development in the future.

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