TNK-BP"s most mature production asset, Orenburgneft, appears to have has played a surprisingly important role in the company"s expected 2.5% crude output increase in 2009.
TNK-BP"s most mature production asset, Orenburgneft, appears to have has played a surprisingly important role in the company"s expected 2.5% crude output increase in 2009. Together with the firm"s new fields ? Uvat, Verkhnechonsk and Kamennoye ? Orenburgneft output helped offset a production decline of 3?4% in 2008 at the company"s west Siberian fields.
Orenburgneft produced almost 18 mln tons (360,000 b/d) of crude from the 2.3 bn bbls Orenburg fields last year, an increase of 6% on 2008. This was the most impressive growth of any of TNK-BP"s mature fields and goes some way to justifying the firm"s $1.5 bln of capital expenditure (capex) over the past few years.
TNK-BP plans to increase output to 18.5 mln tons this year, rising to 19 mln tons in 2011. After that, Orenburg output is due to plateau at 20 mln tons for 3?5 years, company vice-president Sergei Brezitsky says. But this peak could be raised to 25 mln tons if exploration of adjacent blocks proves successful.
Such impressive growth for a group of small fields that has been producing since 1929 was unthinkable in 2000, when TNK-BP predecessor TNK purchased the asset. Orenburgneft was producing 8 mmtpa at that time and was not expected to deliver any further growth. But growth became possible once the company started to explore mature fields scattered across four districts of the Orenburg region and discovered oil at a number of blocks, Brezitsky explains.
As well as boosting exploration, Orenburgneft increased production drilling by 150% last year, even though drilling activity across the rest of TNK-BP grew only slightly, Bank of Moscow analyst Denis Borisov says. Unlike Lukoil and Rosneft, TNK-BP has no plans to scale back operations at mature fields as it says it finds them profitable, even under Russia"s current tax regime. It spends about $1 bln a year on keeping production at its giant Samotlor field in west Siberia at 33.5 mmtpa.